"LOVE NEVER FAILS..." (1 Corinthians 13:8)
I recently just finished all seven seasons of Son's of Anarchy...time out...before you tell me that it's an awful tv show you should probably know that my Grandfather use to own a bar called The Piano Lounge...I grew up as a kid in the local bars like Rivals (Biker Bar), Bizie Bee, and many more...when I was old enough for my feet to touch the ground My Dad and Uncle Dave had me on motorcycles...let's just say it's in the DNA. The first thing my Uncle Dave gave me was a leather cut and coon hat. My parents tell a story of how as a kid I was asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I would reply, "a biker but not just any biker...I want to be the leader like my Uncle Dave"...time in... On the show they have these guys called "prospects" these are your average joes, the newbies, the guys that want to earn that leather cut. Also on the show they have these guys called "Men of Mayhem" these are your guys who have earned the cut and done what most prospects would never think of doing, they have stood the test to become what the gang/club deems worthy. Multiple episodes are about how the Men of Mayhem tell the prospects something that basically no one else wants to do and then one of the Men of Mayhem will have second thoughts about doing something they were asked to do. If they don't do what they are asked 110% all the time, every time...They become blacklisted, ostracized from the club, and worse killed. Why are you telling me this? Here is why...
I'm only 21 years old, I know that I have a lot to learn, but one thing I know is that I'm done with church gangs. As a kid I was a prospect no one made me... I chose to be. I know this blows the mindset we as the church have created...(Join our gang, that church isn't as cool or I think this church is better) I longed to be deemed worthy enough for the "Church Cut." I did whatever it took...I sacrificed family time, countless hours, friends and it was all for the "Church Cut." Why? Because what we as the church have done is created sub cultures within our churches and if you don't fit our cookie cutter form we blacklist you. Doesn't matter whether it's our friends/family we ostracize them because either they are different, going through a tough time, or the big word "offended." Let me make one thing clear...I AM THE GUILTIEST OF THIS! I was a prospect and earned the cut I became a Man of Mayhem...I knew it had happened when I looked back as to what I use to think about as a prospect and realized I was no longer the same person...I had sacrificed who I truly was just to wear the cut. I stopped loving people and feared losing the position/cut I went FROM PROSPECT TO MAN OF MAYHEM.
I don't know God's plan for you and who am I to tell you that it is not Him that is speaking to you...I don't know His entire plan for the church but I wonder if that is what He truly wants from His church? I have to stop and ask myself like what does He think about it all? I had to ask myself as leader am I willing to let my team leave/move on if they feel called to? Will I be able to support them if God is calling them somewhere else (Which we have created in our church culture as a crime close to treason) I'm not saying you should go from church to church to church...WE NEED COMMUNITY! WE NEED A PLACE TO CALL HOME! BUT WE NEED TO MAKE SURE WE AREN'T PLAYING GOD AND WE ARE LETTING HIM SPEAK TO PEOPLE! I'm simply saying what if our mindsets became not our church is the best but "The Church" is the best? How many more doors to locked hearts would open if instead of blacklisting or ostracizing from our community we loved instead? What if we showed them love like Jesus showed love even when they upset the gang? What if we said enough "Church Cuts"...Let's put on the cut that Jesus gave us called Grace and realize we all have stuff we are dealing with but Jesus is Jesus and no matter how many times you fail to represent the cut or I fail to represent the cut Jesus still loves you and me. So I say to you this is Dustin Wise signing off and quitting church gangs...I wear a different cut now called 1 Corinthians 13:8