I recently listened to a YouTube video by Richard Jacobson and in it he mentioned veal crates. I had never heard of that before so I checked it out a little. It was interesting reading about veal crates and it got me to thinking about another type of box.
What I found was that veal crates are a close-confinement system of raising veal calves. Veal crates are designed to limit movement of the animal because meat turns redder and tougher if the animals are allowed to exercise. In some veal crate systems, the calves are kept in the dark without bedding and fed nothing but milk.
Veal crates seem to limit the calf from being able to move about and roam in much larger areas thus getting exercise which would cause the animal to strengthen. It also keeps them from contact with other calves and under the control of the person raising the calf.
Photo: courtesy Humane Society
Personally, this makes me think of the institutional church. Before we go any further, I want to point out that I am not an enemy of the church. I was part of the institution for over fifty years and very involved, so I can speak as an insider rather than someone who knows nothing of what I am saying. I do believe the institution confines us and keeps us in the dark about the freedom God intended us to have.
There has to be more!
I also realize that people cannot just up and leave because someone else says they should. It is a choice between the person and the Spirit. I believe there is specific timing as to when and if someone leaves the religious institution. I know for me it took fifteen years or so of being dissatisfied and thinking there had to be more. As Barbara Symons mentioned in her book ‘Escaping Christianity: Finding Christ’ -
“There is a need for all of us to experience restriction until Christ is formed within—like a pearl within an oyster, closed tightly until the time of harvesting. Before I understood this principle, I tried to convince others to leave the system as I did and in retrospect, it was before their time. I felt like a cage fighter; only my opponent was the cage itself. I was battered and beaten by trying to dismantle the religious system from the inside out as I tried to liberate those still within its grasp. I now understand that people will remain within restraint as long as they need to”.
People are brought into the box of religion and kept there to support and grow the institution. Once inside the box they are taught what that particular denomination believes or how that specific pastor thinks. Sometimes they are only fed the milk of the word rather than the meat that gives them strength, knowledge and the ability to hear the Spirit for themselves.
Lack of Exercise
Many times, people are restrained from being free to serve and use the gifts they have been given. Therefore, due to lack of exercise of using their talents they become weak and have no confidence to do anything other than what the institution says.
Most of the time they are only having fellowship with those within the box and usually encouraged to avoid fellowship with people who see things differently or do not go along with their way of thinking.
Rather than enjoying the freedom God has provided outside the box and a life of accepting others and loving others, they are confined and separated. By doing so they learn to exclude people, avoid certain people and are only fed the knowledge the institution and pastor wants them to know, all with the purpose to keep them from leaving.
Free to love
It seems to me that breaking out of the box and being free to follow God without the rules, regulations and expectations of religion would be a much better way of showing the love of God to others. Being free to fellowship with all people, accept and love others with the love of God no matter who they are or what they believe.
We are not meant to be confined within the walls of institutional religion. God has set us free to follow Jesus wherever he leads. We are free from the rules that religion puts upon us which we are told will make us better Christians. We are the Church that Jesus is building, a people who love and follow him not a building or organization.
Rather than live within the confines of the box religion puts us in, break free and live in the world God has created. Love people, accept others and show the unconditional love of God to everyone.
Jim was raised in the methodist church and spent nearly sixty years in the organized church. He and his wife became dissatisfied with the way things were going and became very disillusioned the weekly service format. After several years of looking for answers and trying different churches, they left the religious system and have been living for God outside the walls of religion and traditional church. Jim believes that God loves all people and that everyone should be loved and accepted as is. Jim started writing a blog called Done with Religion where he talks about various topics of christian living in non-religious ways. Jim and his wife live in the Columbus, Ohio area of the USA. They enjoy their family, traveling and meeting people from all walks of life.
See all previous articles by Jim Gordon