The Protestant Fire Code, Not Home and Alone, Phone Books, The Screamers, Maslow, Soul Death, and Being Like The Father
The Protestant Reformation ushered in another version of everything salvation. Life being about getting into heaven is a lot like being in a movie theater and someone yelling, “Fire.” Yes, life is characterized by panic in running for the exits while the less agile get trampled to death. While Protestants love everybody, you can be sure they will get the hell out of that theater at all cost. Fear and panic is an interesting study. When I was in the building industry we were not allowed to install dummy door knobs on doors that simply push-open from the inside; in the event of a fire, a panicked individual will try to turn the knob to no avail until they are overcome by smoke when a simple push could have saved their life. There may not be a more apt picture of Protestant orthodoxy.
Protestants talk a lot about focusing on good living; theologically dubbed, “sanctification.” Of course, that’s a lie. Regardless of the nuance and doublespeak, Protestantism is about sitting near the exit doors. John Calvin and Martin Luther both proclaimed in no uncertain terms that sanctification is driven by fear of spending eternity in hell. This Sunday everywhere in America Protestant parishioners will sit calmly in their pews under the pretense that everyone would parish in the event of a fire while waiting for everyone else to get out first. Yet, like the Catholics, there is no greater chance of your child being molested in any other venue while legal ramifications are least likely in the same. In no other venue are children more estranged from their parents, and in no other venue is divorce more likely. This is the result of life being about escaping the fire. If Deacon Dan is arrested for molesting your child because you filed criminal charges, that will give the church a bad name, people will not come to church, and therefore, because of you, people will go to hell. And besides, god is sovereign and nothing happens that isn’t his will to begin with. Ahmen.
Salvation is not a journey; it’s an identity that lives a life indicative of God’s family. God is not glorified by a salvation marathon, he is glorified by His literal children who are like Him. The “race of faith” is not about salvation; it’s about love. It’s not a race for the exit doors. Because Protestantism has always been about salvation alone and not new birth, there is no cult that is more ignorant about wise living and all learning entails a hundred different ways to get out of the theater alive. Therefore, the focus needs to be on family life with salvation being a settled issue. Once you are born into God’s family love is the focus, not salvation. You can’t be unborn, and relegating yourself to the futility of weekly ritual will not keep you born. The way in which the institutional church robs families of time together is another discussion, but indicative of what people really value.
Hence, the necessary exodus must be from institutional salvation to literal family meetings where families gather together; in homes. The focus must be wise living that exemplifies our Father. This is a call to a new focus on real sanctification. Come now, be honest, all you hear in church is “the gospel” this and “the gospel that” while there are no concrete answers to life’s real and deep problems. In fact, the focus of evangelical counseling is “living by the gospel.”
If you go to church, you are under fear and not love, period. Sorry.
After nine years of studying the doctrine of salvation apart from Protestantism’s mad dash for the fire escape, my life focus is now sanctification which is predicated on love and not fear. My job as a nurse aide is a valuable asset to learning about life from God’s perspective and applying what I learn accordingly. Unfortunately, people see skilled nursing facilities as primary care and that’s not the truth. No institution can provide complete primary care; what makes it work right is family. Without family, nursing homes are where people go to die.
As a nurse aide, I hear one constant drum beat from those I serve; not home, and alone. I see this now as clearly as I see the day; those two things combined equal the death spiral. Those who are not home and alone I serve as they slowly die. They always stop eating first, that’s the last leg of their institutional loneliness. Initially, you lie and say that you need to stock the hall supplies, but really you hide someplace and cry, you know, your first ones, then it just becomes part of the job. The new arrivals always ask for the phone book being from that older generation. They need a phone book because they want to call their family who surely don’t know they are lost in a strange place that is not home. It’s a pattern; the phone book, constantly talking about home, eating less and less, acting out during the holidays, not eating at all, and then death, but it all starts with the phone book.
At this point, I don’t fully understand home as a primary pillar of wellbeing, but this much I am sure of; humanity is wired for family and home. Institutions of no sort can replace that. Protestantism claims that you should place higher priority on your “church family” than your actual family. Yes, you are a good Christian if you put yourself under the “authority of godly men.” Gag. These people come to the nursing home at times different from the scheduled institutional “worship service.” Residents gather in the main hall while some preacher screams “fire” with stuffed suits standing behind as the lesser of God’s authority to “preach the gospel.” The hope is that some will believe and at least get enough gospel verbiage to gain heaven at the end of their purposeless existence.
I can give these screamers some credit; they are confused Protestants which is much better than the few that know what a Protestant is. Protestant orthodoxy calls for water baptism into church membership as the only way to receive ongoing forgiveness for “present sin.” I would much like to assist them in being better Protestants by offering to lower these people into a tub of water with a Hoyer lift and afterward they could sign a membership card, but I keep myself in enough trouble at the facility as it is.
In all of this, Abraham Maslow is better.
“Abraham Harold Maslow was an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization.”
Self-actualization is purpose. Regardless of the mental or physical state of any resident you often see them seeking and practicing self-actualization. Whether requesting a towel and liquid to do some cleaning in the hallway, or expressing concern about the welling of other residents, they seek purpose. But be sure of this: I have seen the souls that are not home, alone, and without purpose slowly die as a result. No physical ailment is their demise; death of soul is their demise.
It is no surprise then that real ministry is about home and family, and not institutions or their authority. Institutions are for supporting the freedom of individual endeavors and the pursuit of happiness. Institutional authority never prevented any soul death. Claims by institutions that they can supply family wellbeing is an insult to collective commonsense and worthy of pitiless insult by school children.
The home fellowship movement will combine organization with the efficiency and wellbeing of real families. Home fellowship movements need to look no further than nursing homes for a vast ministry white unto harvest. They enter without the need to scream out the vomit of institutional authority, but rather offer purpose, fellowship, and a gospel that speaks softly of no condemnation.
Love has no limits because our Father represents a fatherhood that is only found where fathers are found…
…in the home, not temples built for the glory of men drunk with the desire to rule over others.