A little cynicism here, skepticism there, and a disillusioned core takes shape. A spore of sanctimonious comment and more hypocrisy than can be easily ignored may quickly mushroom into full blown disappointment when ideals are not met or even kept alive as that which we long to experience.
Will we be left standing, or will our faith be eroded by the goading disinterest in this present generation?
A little syncretism here, subtle schisms there, and scores of unholy incidents feed on a decaying purity of unified identity aligned under the capstone of Christ. Vital community which once bore the living word, lush with life within the solid branch of a faithful church, begins to break down when we make room for spiritual apathy, or try to ditch essential doctrine, or remove ourselves from the path of compassionate service as a natural extension of our growth in him, or neglect the care of our own soul’s formation.
A thousand other substitutionary caps may pop up on the dead wood of dutiful devotion which has flowed from anything but the stream of Christ’s love and desire to glorify God in spirit and in truth.
Attempts to beautify that which is already in a deteriorated state by means of this world’s wisdom may have a certain appeal for a time, but will eventually consume and destroy. A plethora of secular strategies vie for the attention of leaders in the church with promises of restored wholeness to the body by some new frill. While they may temporarily cover over the sad state of deeper spiritual issues with seemingly quick results fanning out in several directions simultaneously, the host underneath eventually collapses from the rotting spiritual wood of superficiality and unfaithfulness, dying from a Christ-less centre.
Caps of consumerism, entertainment, and compromise. Caps of copping out instead of mopping up the messy mush of mediocre faith which makes room for so much outgrowth unrecognizable as part of his call, as part of our true selves in him. Caps of collective failure to remember who and whose we are.
It’s often more popular to be the fun guy, and so at times we hesitate to name a fungus of the faith for what it is. Many have been tempted to offer a mix of the edible nutritious delicacies of grace in the light of God’s holiness with less faithful teachings of fanciful flight for those wanting their ears tickled. The caps, stems, and gills of porous thought grown in the grounds of a search for bountiful crops to fill a room regardless of what is consumed along the way, springs up everywhere.
Will we sit on a stool of sincere love for Christ alone?
Will we walk a road of unwillingness to unload the goods of anything but an authentic witness to his good news which insists on honest soul searching and grateful acceptance to be known and loved for who we really are; to rise up from the night of dampened spirits and hold our heads high in joy, making room in our hearts for him to cut away anything which would otherwise destroy; to keep our certain hope alive that he has gone before to prepare a room for us because of his much celebrated work of redeeming love no matter how fallen things look presently?
Or will we add small portions of death to the menus we serve and die a bit more each day ourselves in ‘isms’ of many varieties which sport much room for compromised spiritual health?
Like flourishing fungi, speculative stories about the meaning of life and death through philosophical pursuit or pretensious parades of puffed up pride resistant to our need for merciful deliverance from our fallen state, slowly eat away our integrity to see things clearly until we no longer know who we are or how to become whole again. When we don’t leave much room for the Spirit to speak truth into our lives, we fail to thrive as individuals or congregations and are devoured from the inside out, sources of food for everything which would set itself up against God.
We are invited to move out from under our mushroomed umbrellas of blinded hope and trust impervious to the rains of grace he sends and let him replace the dry rot of perpetual motion without the genuine emotion of being his; action without the unpretending reactions of a sincere heart fully given to him.
It seems to me that in order to stand we must land on our face again, making room for a fundamental springing up of faith devoid of fungi making headway to our heart to see afresh the resurrection hope of Christ alive in us, the hope of glory.
“Lord, dig up spores of sporadic commitment, caps of capsizing biblical clarity, and stems of stimulating ideas which do not grow us up in the reverence and godly fear of the Lord. These tiny reproducible entities of sin and brokenness hidden in the humus of our human condition can survive for long periods of time in very unfavourable conditions, sometimes springing up overnight when the light of your glory fades from our eyes.
There’s a funky smell when fungi is disturbed and so we tend to avoid dealing with the odour of unfaithfulness. We might even cover it over with more falling debris. Blow fresh forest breezes of your love along the path of honest introspection for ourselves and churches where we serve, and fill the places where we sit on bended knee with the crisp clean air of your Spirit to reach the deepest rooms of our hearts, hushed by faith renewed.
Lord, wash us again in your love to help us stand strong in you. Amen.”
“The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous will stand.” (Proverbs 12:7)
I don’t think this mushroom is supposed to be here …