If we can name and embrace what, for us, are the “givens” of being authentic church, and we know we want something more, and we even are willing to let go of old traditions and structures, what keeps us from embodying the new? We see who Jesus is, and genuinely believe that his way is the way for us, but are unable to live that way fully and passionately. We long for Jesus’ nature, but we seem to be trapped by our own nature and unable to break free. What causes this disconnect in what we want to do and what we actually do?
The answer is quite simple. We have not yet faced one basic and inescapable fact:
WE ARE CULTURAL ADDICTS AND WE CANNOT BREAK THIS ADDICTION ALONE.
Finally seeing this truth really “getting it” that we are addicted to the very culture and the very way in which we live is the beginning of true freedom. [To begin to learn more about cultural addiction, see Appendix 3, Resources “Facing Our Cultural Addictions,’ p. 47.]
When we finally see that we are addicted to a culture of comfort, security, competition, praise, staying busy, controlling people, being in shallow relationships, having too much or too little money, worrying, seeing ourselves as superior or inferior to others that a vast assortment of sensations, behaviors, substances and activities keep us disconnected from our real feelings and needs and disconnected from God we can then unmask the false nature of this cultural system and see that it can never give us what we long for. We will be able to see at last how much we have depended on this false system, and how utterly helpless we are to break our dependence and to heal ourselves.
Then, together with every alcoholic or drug addict who has hit bottom and cried out for help, we too will cry out for a Saviour and for a faithful community to save us from our cultural addiction. At this point, humbled and ready to receive mercy and healing love, we see the truth and commit ourselves to becoming recovering cultural addicts and to being used by God in whatever ways God chooses.
From the deepest parts of us we now understand that we can no longer pretend that everything is fine and we can manage our lives alone. We must join ourselves with others for our mutual healing and transformation. We need others who are equally serious about taking hold of the liberating Christ. We need …
- a group, in Christ, that is breaking with the culture, the world’s systems, and providing support for total recovery from that culture
- a reconciling group of extreme diversity, especially highly privileged and severely oppressed�
- a group closing the gap between the deepening of personal faith and the expression of that faith in public political ways�
- a group seeking biblical justice in all forms, including the redistribution of wealth�
- a praying group, growing in our capacity to love, understanding that authentic love is always nonviolent.
I Knowing that we are cultural addicts and need an authentic community for our recovery …