I took the “Red Pill” and didn’t even know it.

16 04 2012

I’ve never seen the movie “The Matrix”.  I’ve never had a desire to…but I want to now.

It was around 15 years ago when I first was introduced and submitted to “the gospel”  Up until about a year or two ago, I have tried to be a good Christian doing things that my Christian culture is telling me I need to do because, after all, they probably know God, the Bible, and life better than me.  This attitude was especially easy to have in the beginning of my Christian journey because others were smarter and have been Christians longer than me.  However, I have come to question a lot that is within Christian culture and the American church.

This has been due to “small” experiences and questions that would pop into my mind once in a while.  Usually, I would brush them off or make a small change.  However, a year or two ago, all these “small” things seemed to pile up all at once along with some other questions that came all at the same time.  I’d have to pray and think on things I never thought I’d have to.

Go back in time with me.  I had first heard “the gospel” and “accepted Jesus into my heart”.  (The “gospel” I first heard was not one that dealt with the full counsel of God but more of “you need to do this to go to heaven”.  I would learn the real gospel a short time later.)  I started going to a church that was recommended to me.  I stayed at that church for roughly 4 1/2 years.  It was a church that “got me off the ground” in my faith.  It was especially a good church for getting together, hanging out, talking about God and what He is doing in our lives, and encouraging each  other.  This is what Christians call fellowship and it was a awesome thing.

However, in my time there, even in my “baby” Christian years,  I also came across my first experiences in questioning what was being taught and being deceived my those that were to be “leaders”.  As I grew to learn what the Bible said and truths in it that had changed me, it seemed to contradict a few things that were coming from the pulpit.  Add to that the experiences of having a handful of my fellow church-members being deceptive in their disagreements with me.  One of the most memorable was when there was a day that a classic car cruise was being held on one of the main roads in our neighborhood.  It was a time when a lot of people would come to see the cars and local businesses along the road would do special things to draw people in.  Members of my church along with a friend of mine and I had gathered in front of a Christian video rental store to share the gospel with people.  My friend and I had brought gospel pamphlets to pass out to willing people walking by.  A “deacon” of my church came to me asking if he could have a some of my pamphlets to pass out too.  I gave him some and within a few minutes I see him walking out of the Christian store with the my pastor.  The pastor comes to me and tells me I should not pass the pamphlets out.  My point here is not in what the pamphlets said, but the fact that someone in “leadership” in the church would deceive and lie to me like that.  That is just one of many instances I encountered while I was there.  It wasn’t long after that I left that church.

I switched churches and am still going to the one I changed to.  I would love to say everything is rosy at this church, but it isn’t.  The preaching and theology is a lot better, but the fellowship, care, and connectedness leave much to be desired.  I miss the fellowship of the old church because it centered around God.  For most of my time at my current church, unless in a Bible study or service, it centers around the latest movie or game, sports, or going out and doing things together without any relevant spiritual discussion.  Well, I can do that with non-Christians.

Fast forward to 2009 when a major health issue invaded my home and desired to take my wife hostage.  For six months, I endured a type of life I never thought existed.  It was not at all fun and left me questioning things that was easy to believe, until then, that God had said in His Word, the Bible.  After that, I felt my whole life collapsing.

While things got better after six months with my wife’s health, she was definitely not 100% back to normal.  Add to that issues that were coming up between us that would seem to be resolved only to come up again a short time later.  Our marriage started to deteriorate quite rapidly and so seemed everything else.

Everything “little” that happened to me in the past, the questions that I had that only seemed to increase in number, and the craziness that was happening at that moment seemed to pile on me all at once.  Here I was wondering what in the world was going on.  What happened?  I was in a 1,000 member church but having no fellowship and not even one real friendship.  I was in a marriage that I stayed pure and trusted God for and it was crumbling and my “helper” seemed like my enemy.  God seemed to be nowhere.  The Christian life was not working the way it should be.

In the last couple of years, I have had to do a lot of soul searching and God searching.  Things have not really gotten any better, but I think I am in a place where I need to be right now.  I say that because I have learned a lot in the last couple of years.

Many bad attitudes and actions have come out the last couple of years.  It has shown me some of my own depravity.  I have found it easy to not care about anything when things get hard in life.  Yet, God has been using that to reinforce a care of the things that are important and to throw off caring about what others think of me.  My life is not hidden in others, not even in my wife, and what they think of me.  My life is hidden in Christ and I need to live for Him.

This time of trial has helped me to question and see some parts of American Christianity (or Churchianity, if you will) that desperately need work.  You can have the best theology, but if you are not living it, what good is it?  Yet, how can you know God and how He wants us to behave if your understanding of Him is so shallow?  The American Church, for the most part, seems to be a place where you have fun and hang out with people that believe just like you.  If you don’t believe just like us, there is another church for you down the road.  Even within an individual church, there seems to be cliques that form that have little room for others that are not just like them.  This time has also helped me see just how feminized the Church and the gospel has become.  I could go on and on about many areas of American Christianity here, but that is mainly what this whole blog is about.  So, let’s move on…

The struggle in my marriage has brought me to my knees as well.  It has made me question my role as a husband and what it means to “love my wife as Christ loves the church”.  It has also opened my eyes to the role of a woman and wife.  Unfortunately, the husbands role as a leader is most often and comprehensively preached from the pulpit.  The role of a wife is most often vaguely mentioned.  Even when it is mentioned, a lot of times it is not brought out of the text as it says in the Bible.  (Okay, I need to stop getting on my soapbox and stick to the issue in the post.)

This time of testing has also taught me a lot about being a man.  As a Christian, I am called to follow Jesus the Christ.  Jesus was no sissified wuss.  He was a man that said things that bothered people.  He called people names and was sarcastic for the glory of God.  While being loving, it didn’t keep Him from being truthful and showing “tough love”.  I am also called to “be an imitator of God as a dear child” (Ephesians 5:1) who “resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).  Most of the time, you hear of the feminine Jesus who wants to have a relationship with you, help you with your problems, and leads you to heaven because He just loves you so much.  You don’t hear much of the masculine Jesus who calls you to leave everything to follow Him, deny yourself, called a woman a “dog”, didn’t care about being offensive, tipped over tables, made a whip to drive out people in the temple (premeditated),  and who conquered sin and death.  He was a man.  Yes, even a “manly” man.  Actually, the manliest man there ever was since He was God in a body like our.  He spoke manly, got angry manly, and loved manly.  He was a leader, not a pushover.  I want to be like Him just as I am called to be.

I have just recently come to the place that I can actually thank God for the last three years of trial that I have gone through.  It has not been easy.  I have wanted to yell at God at times.  I am so glad that He knows my weaknesses and where I am at.  The trial may not be over.  I don’t know.  Things I mentioned before are not “fixed”.   But I do know that I can learn more if the trails aren’t over and I am willing to learn if it will bring me out more refined than before.

As for the “Red Pill”:  Like I said, I’ve never seen “The Matrix”.  I guess there is a scene where a man had the ability to take either a red or blue pill.  Taking the blue pill would leave him where he was.  Taking the red pill would open his eyes to things he didn’t know before.   (Pardon my ignorance.  You can view the scene here.)  The first time I heard of the red pill/blue pill thing is in seeing the term in some “Manosphere” blogs and articles (both Christian and secular) that I had come across not too long ago.  A little research led my to the Matrix clip linked above.

So, in my trials, I seemed to have swallow the “Red Pill” without knowing it.  The Lord has been opening my eyes to things and teaching me things I never had seen or knew before.  If these trials continue, though it might not be fun, I look forward to more things that will teach me and bring God more glory.

Whoever you are who is reading this: Don’t put your trust in yourself or other people, but trust and follow God.  He has given His Word for you to get to know Him and to live by.  Seek to learn it for yourself and not only to depend on others to teach it to you.  Trials are good, though not fun.  They are there to test and refine you.

Remember, Jesus said to follow Him.