Share Pin Tweet I had never been attracted to religion although there was always a longing within me to connect to God. There were moments where I could have been defined as an agnostic or an atheist, but overall I have always been a mystic. But frankly, religion, though I was open to it in my youth, would have been the last place I would have thought you could find God. Churches and cathedrals seemed more like prisons where people were held hostage and God was held for ransom. Behind the piety of stained glass and pews were the bars and chains of guilt and shame.
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Share Pin Tweet I had never been attracted to religion although there was always a longing within me to connect to God. There were moments where I could have been defined as an agnostic or an atheist, but overall I have always been a mystic. But frankly, religion, though I was open to it in my youth, would have been the last place I would have thought you could find God.
Churches and cathedrals seemed more like prisons where people were held hostage and God was held for ransom. Behind the piety of stained glass and pews were the bars and chains of guilt and shame. He is the one genuinely innocent person in the vile prison known as Shawshank.
He teams up with a convict named Red who is the only prisoner who actually claims to be guilty. Nothing seems to stop Andy from both rising above the inhumanity of prison life and eventually finding a way to escape.
You know, a God-fearing man. The Shawshank Redemption is a harsh reminder that Christianity as a religion has often been a part of the problem and not the solution.
Way too many things have been done in the name of Christ that Jesus has had no part in. And while you and I may bear no personal responsibility for the Crusades, we are entirely responsible for the genuineness of our own faith and how that faith is lived out in community through the local church.
When what was intended to be a community of faith, hope and love becomes an institution known more for self-righteousness, judgmentalism and hypocrisy, we become our own version of a religious civilization. We become essentially civilized religionists and lose our primal spirituality. When we allow our faith to become domesticated, we become a part of the problem.
Dana Carvey just borrowed her from us. Ironically, what I am finding all over this planet are followers of Jesus Christ who no longer want to be identified with Christians—or at least Christians who are sick and tired of Christianity. They, too, want to break free from the prison that bears the name of Christ and uses the Bible to hold people captive. They are finding the courage to break free of the expectations that come with being civilized and rediscovering the purity and beauty of authentic faith.
This is an important thing to know about a genuine follower of Jesus Christ. You can civilize them for a while, but in the end, God will unleash the untamed faith within them. The reason is that lions hunt only for the purpose of eating. Hunting for them is motivated by hunger. Tigers are different. Tigers hunt for the sheer thrill of the chase. When your pleasure is the hunting and not just the eating, it is much more difficult to be domesticated. All you have to do is keep a lion fed and you will most likely be safe.
A tiger is always ready to involve you in a game of tag. At the most primal level, this is supposed to be the difference between Christianity and all other world religions. Other religions hunt for the purpose of survival. They are desperately trying to appease God.
All their efforts and energy are motivated by fear, guilt and the unsatisfied hunger of their soul. Genuine followers of Jesus Christ are more like tigers. We have tasted deeply of Him.
We have found freedom in Jesus Christ, and in Him we are fully alive. Our faith is not motivated by a desperate effort to satisfy God, but the unspeakable pleasure of knowing Him. God never intended to tame us, but to unleash an untamed faith. Like a savage coming from the wilderness, we engage this new civilization known as Christianity. We all face the temptation of choosing to become domesticated. A raw faith is always undomesticated, barbaric and primal. The best parallels I can think of to describe our potential domestication and need to rediscover our primal faith are found in mythology.
All of them were raised in the wild and found themselves barbarians in the midst of civilization. Even when they learned how to survive and even thrive among the civilized, it was never possible to fully domesticate them. There was always something raw and untamed about who they were. They were fully human, but their primal nature had been awakened, and it could never be put to sleep. Though they dressed like gentlemen, there was always the look of the wild in their eyes.
Even when they found their places among the civilized, there was always a sense that they belonged to the wild and to live anywhere else was to be out of place. There are some things once born in you that are impossible to reverse. Superficial changes can be easily discarded.
External changes, however powerful, can eventually be broken. These legends each allude to a primal change, an unleashing of something deep within the human soul waiting to be awakened. In some ways, these stories hold a hope that somewhere deep within us lies divine potential to become more than we are when we simply conform.
Is it possible that only God can awaken a humanity greater than what we have created together? It is a hope that if somehow we unlock our souls and unleash our faith, we could become what we were genuinely created to be.
Each story points to a longing that resides in all of us to find the barbarian way out of civilization, which is where I found myself shortly after choosing to follow Jesus. In other words, we must choose the barbarian way out of civilization. Originally published in Outreach magazine. Used by permission.
The Barbarian Way: Unleash the Untamed Faith Within
There were a few things that, obvious as they really are, had never actually occurred to me. The book deals with an issue that has bothered me for a long time. The current church is too safe. McManus encourages his readers to embrace a barbarian faith. I grew up in a church where we learned that the Great book. I grew up in a church where we learned that the easiest decision in life is to accept Jesus as our personal savior, and life will be grand ever after. McManus reminds us of this, but he also reminds us that living a life for God can also be the most liberating, invigorating, challenging, exciting and fulfilling path.
The Barbarian Way