WHEN NOT TO HOARD AN IDENTITY
You can hang on to the old wineskin if you must, rubbing oil into what God left behind at the cross. Should we be obsessed with hanging on to what we have, it’s unlikely that we will be people of vision and progress, let alone people of spirit and life. The apostolic person follows Jesus the apostle drawing people into the life of God and in doing so liberating them from the forms of death that pretend to be life – like pseudo identities and ‘other gospels.’
The ‘hoarder’ finds security in his ‘stuff’ no matter that most of it has passed its use by date and has no utility whatsoever – other than to assuage his fear. Religion often makes sacred our fears and that which has no usefulness because it represents continuity. Never mind that this is continuity that stifles its adherents. Jesus came to set such captives free. With Jesus as our life we can enjoy life to the full, life that is useful, whole and holy because it originates in the trinity and flows from Jesus into those who are born again. It is the born again who see the Kingdom of God and are the agents of the new creation Kingdom of God.
The drug addict suffers when she dries out and gets clean because she has become dependent on the temporary hit of the drug. Drugs of all kinds are resorted to in order to help people get by. But eventually the drug rises up and takes over their life. Religion is similar. Particularly when the mode of religion provides a false identity that we rely on for meaning and a sense of self. Withdrawing from it causes pain and suffering. But is worth it when we come out the other side because we get our humanity back, we can ‘see’ and we’re heading into life to the full. Richard Rohr writes,
“Whenever we're led out of normalcy into sacred space, it's going to feel like suffering. It's letting go of what we're used to. That causes suffering. But part of us always has to die. If that readiness isn't there, we won't enter into sacred space. The prophet leads us into sacred space by showing us the insufficiency of the old order.” The old order was the old covenant. The current order is Christ our life.