Fourteen years ago, my wife and I attended a church in a country town. The Pastor and his wife were 'genuine' Pastors who knew what it meant to tend to the flock that was in their care. They would visit every single member of their church at least twice a week, for a coffee or a meal. They knew what everyone was going through and what they needed, or could provide.
For the past year or so we have been attending a church north of Brisbane. When I was going through a very testing time and was actually homeless, with nowhere to go, I went to the church. After a little while, the Pastor's personal assistant came out to tell me that the Pastor was all booked out in meetings for the next month and had no time to see me.
Prior to that church, we attended a church for four years and the Pastor literally lived around the corner from us, yet not once did he visit, even for a coffee, but he did tell the church that he had a vision of a church community, with all the businesses being owned by church members.
I'm sorry, but to me, there is something fundamentally wrong with that.
While the original definition of the word religion, is 'to be in right relationship with God', over the centuries it has come to be a business of attempting to conform God's Kingdom to the world.
Anyone with any common sense, knows that a relationship with God is an internal experience. As He once said to me "I am the watcher that watches the watcher within" and "what you are, comes from how you are and how you are comes from who are, but where does who you are come from?" Where indeed!
We are told that "The kingdom of Heaven is within" Luke 17:21 and the reality is, that it is not in what you see in front of you, but where you are coming from within you.
What makes a man like a king, is the wisdom that comes from knowing God's true, holy virtue. He bears himself with dignity and integrity, patience and humility and is gracious toward everybody.
It has nothing to do with a crown upon your head, or fancy clothes and castles. It is not in having a congregation of subjects to Lord over and collect taxes (tithes), to keep your kingdom prospering.
God's kingdom, is a realm in which all inhabitants dwell together equally, in a state of absolute virtue and true brotherly love. Knowing that we are created equal by the Great Omniscient Deity of eternal love, that will always remain a mystery to us. We can never fathom the depths of God/Love and trying to is a futile exercise that is likened to jumping into a bottomless pit. It will get you nowhere!
True religion, is to be obsessed with God, King and Country. To love God with all your heart, mind, body and soul and to love your neighbour as yourself. Anything other than this is a construct from our own imagination and has no place within God's Image-Nation.
Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns."Matthew 16:23
When you can 'see' the way, then you can come to 'know' the way and when you 'know' the way, you can live the life. Choose to live in Christ, the spirit that IS the true way of life in Heaven, not in dead religion, the construct of a mind/imagination that does not KNOW the true way of life, beyond the shadow of any doubt.
Have you church leaders, who are so proud of your position and influence, ever stopped to think that the whole concept of hierarchy and hierarchical power might just be another delusion to be overcome? Because it just doesn't exist in a state of ABSOLUTE humility.