Cog in the System

  • System:
    a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole
    an assemblage of substances that is in or tends to equilibrium
    a group of devices or artificial objects or an organization forming a network especially for distributing something or serving a common purpose
    form of social, economic, or political organization or practice
    an organized set of doctrines, ideas, or principles usually intended to explain the arrangement or working of a systematic whole
    an organized or established procedure
From early on, the mysteries of Christ’s message confounded those closest to Him.
Plenty of mystery. Plenty of questions. Through the life of the Christ it was revealed that humanity has access to the Creator outside a religious system or tradition. But we have always wanted easy answers, clear black and whites, clear steps, and understanding of the process to move forward – though that was nearly impossible for his Apostles to receive from Him. With all the unknowns, different perspectives, and traditions, it was inevitable that upon Christ’s exit His followers would defer to new systems in an attempt to bring order and understanding amongst themselves in regards to what His life and message meant.
This decent into conflicting Christian systems and tribes can be observed early in the church as it spread. Conflicting beliefs. Conflicting assumptions. Conflicting cultural practices. The Apostles were not immune to this nor were the future leaders and followers of the movement. This journey would see the rise and fall of many belief systems within Christendom. Through councils, through reformations, through popular movements today, humans want systems in place to make sense of it all. And many leaders (Christian or not) want systems in place for order.
Once tribes begin dividing, systems become innumerable. To say all decisions and motivations of the early church fathers and resulting followers were holy and the results were perfectly ordained is a far cry from reality. (i.e. political influence, pagan ideals, disagreements between sects, misinterpretations, etc…)
The Christian landscape today is littered with systems and tribes that have become so far removed from one another, they no longer remember their origins. Thus they tend to consider themselves each the “real true original” with a more full understanding of the message while viewing the others as “less than”—much like the six clones from “The City of Lost Children,” a French film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who each come to believe they may be the original though the original is no longer among them.
I fear the original movement of The Way, the earliest followers of Mashiak Yahusha (the one known as Jesus), is no longer clearly visible among these systematic clones we have grown. But its essence is there. Underground. Uncategorizable. Walking the earth in Christ’s wake with selfless love for others. It bows in humility before the Creator’s love and serves the less fortunate with no regard to self. And it continues in humanity’s original purpose of being a good steward of all creation.
Ah, but what about the system. How will there be order?
To be sure, systems can be beneficial unless the system becomes the means to the end as opposed to a framework of support, because then they each become small religions. Distortions.
If our systems keep us from freely approaching the Creator…
If our systems have requirements to enter into God’s acceptance…
If our systems leave immigrants, orphans, the poor, the hungry, the less fortunate, and the outcasts in its wake in exchange for becoming a “better you”…
the systems should be reset.
But still we continue to confine Freedom to a system.
Systems need to be effective.
Effectiveness requires relevancy.
Relevancy requires attraction.
Attraction requires a plea to “self.”
And self…. well, that is the opposite of what the Christ taught humanity to live for.
The Way will always challenge the systems in place because the lives of the unnamed holy and the love of the lowest among us reflects the selfless ideals of God and models the way of the Kingdom. That power – not of political, popular, nor elite position – is the power that will call society to change and the follower to renewal. Selfless Love is still the cog that disrupts systems.
And God is not at the end of a system.
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