New Blog Address

Ryan's blog can now be found HERE.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


I'm considering submitting to my church. Sounds great, right? I wonder how many other Christians have this struggle. It seems to me that this word may have been lost in the Christian movement to be more "seeker-friendly" or postmodern or whatever. I'm toying with the idea that perhaps I don't need to trust the leaders fully in order to submit. I am realizing that it's more about trusting God than trusting the leaders.

My church is fine enough and I don't think they'll run me off course, but quite honestly I'm pretty pleased with where my own resources have led me to this point. So if I don't think I am lacking all that much, why would submission be an option? First off, there are some things that I need from them - wisdom, teaching, community, etc. But more than those things, I am beginning to believe that it is all about control.

I suspect that there is something sacred about trusting mortal men to instruct me in God's ways. I have always been in control. I wonder sometimes if even God himself could wrestle the reigns from my grip. Right now in my life, there is no one who can really tell me anything. I am accountable to absolutely no one in any significant way.

So this control thing is nice. It's comfortable. But is this what God intended? I have this thought bouncing through my brain that says that giving control to my church is like giving control to God. This is different than saying that my church speaks for God. It's more like saying that God has instituted the church and called it his Bride. He places a high value on her and I should respond in kind. The act of giving control to this body may indeed be the most difficult, humbling act that I can perform. It takes me out of the drivers seat like nothing else I know.

It is easy for me to submit to God in all his nebulous manifestations in my life. But how different is that really from simply submitting to myself and my own wisdom? Not much, I suspect. Not to minimize God's voice, but often times I detect a hint of a Hoosier accent there that makes me wonder if either God is from Indiana or if I sometimes think I'm god.

So back to the church. I think it may be the case that God is leading me to submit to my church in new ways as a recognition of his sovereignty in my life. It doesn't matter if my church fucks me up. That's not the point. The point is letting go. Letting go of control and trusting God to protect me. I don't trust people. I don't trust my church. Not with my own life. Could it be that the best way I can show my submission to God is to let someone else (my church) define, in part, his will for my life?

Is the Bride of Christ important? What role does she play? Who decides your fate? To what or whom do you submit?

It is not about whether or not I agree with my church. It is about whether I can trust in the God who set up the system.

Please give me your feedback. I'm still working this out.


[rhymes with kerouac] said...

It doesn't matter if my church fucks me up. That's not the point.

I was going to say that it may not be the point, but it is a huge point nonetheless. Having considered it I now realize this is exactly the point. And yes, it does matter. It matters very, very much.

If what you're talking about is simply adopting a mindset in and of yourself then all is fine and well. If, however, someone within the church requires your 'submission' then I think you should run like hell was on your tail.

Because it is.

Ryan Kellermeyer said...

Kerouac, my friend. I'm guessing that you have been hurt by the church or by others much like I have. It may be hard for you to trust others just like it is hard for me. Perhaps you too have learned that you're safer behind a smirk than vulnerability. Trust me, I want to be with you here. But how do you rationalize what the Bible has to say about the church? Why does Paul bother setting up standards for leaders if they are essentially impotent?

How can you truly learn without submission? Remember learning to swim or ride a bike? Weren't those acts of submission? I don't know about you, but I've taught myself a lot, if that makes sense. But I'm starting to think I've reached my limit. There are things that I can't figure out on my own.

Why does the church exist? If it is just another social group, I think I'll just join the local Optimists Club or somesuch. Authority, and therefore submission, have to be somewhere in the mix or else it's a big waste.

I think it may be the case that submission to the church is a requirement of the faith. Trust me, I'm not there yet. You can ask my church if you need verification. They would be shocked to read this stuff from me, I'm sure.

This is an open discussion. I'd love to hear more.

MJ said...

The point is that everyone messes up, even the most Godly people. Just look in the Bible to see that.

But the more important point is that God never messes up. HE is working and guiding and moving in our little world and for our good. Nothing happens to us outside of his love. A lot of the times He uses people to help us to get to Him.

On our own we would become nearsighted and narcissistic. We isolate ourselves in order to live in a so-called safe environment. But the joy we receive by venturing out in trust to the God we love is far beyond anything we could create for ourselves.

Trust God and it won't matter so much what others do and say. Trusting God is like being home in your sturdy house when the storms are loud and a tornado warning is blasting on TV. You can hear the noise and your sense of danger is heightened, but you can't feel the wind.

wilsonian said...

I believe the whole Church/submission deal is to help us learn how to be in relationship with others and (more importantly) with God.

The question is... will giving your current church mental submission teach you how to submit to God? Do you love, respect and trust this body? Are you able to submit with your heart as well as your head? Are you able to serve them in their perceived needs (and not what you feel they should be doing)? If not, I doubt you'll learn what you need.

I'm not advocating church shopping, or leaving a church at the slightest offence. But if you are in a community who share your fundamental beliefs in how one lives out faith (many of the theological details are less important here), there is room to grow love, trust, respect, and yes, submit.

Mark D said...

That's a tough one. I am still working it out too. I guess to me it depends on what the end result will be. If the "control" helps someone mature in God and be a better, more effective Christian, then submission is good. If the control holds people back and the church produces no "fruit" (outreaches, people getting saved and growing in God, etc) then I would question who you really are submitting to. It may be time to find another church. There is no perfect church, but a church needs to be producing fruit. There are plenty of fruitless churches being run by the devil.

yennk said...

First of all you are never truly happy serving God until you totally submit. Second of all the Bible is all about submitting our will. It was an act of submission for Jesus to die for our sins. Third the Bible says that obedience is better than sacrifice. Fourth, there was a group ( I can not remember who at this time) who were commended because they searched the scriptures daily so that they could be sure what Paul was telling them was true. Keep these four points in mind and I think you will be ok

Wayne Bawell said...

"It doesn't matter if my church fucks me up. That's not the point."
yo man, do you need to use 4 lettered words?
Anyway- submission to the church is good- or to have someone who "keeps you in check."