Sunday, March 30, 2008

No longer tame

Last night, Charlie and I watched an inspiring video called "Duma." Set in Africa, it's a story about a family who finds a baby cheetah and raises it as a pet. The son, Xan, grows very attached to the cheetah who he has named Duma and, when the cheetah grows and it becomes obvious that it's time to release him back into the wild, Xan rebels against that decision.

However, when the family circumstances change, Xan takes Duma and begins the lonely and dangerous trek across Africa in order to release him back into the wild. It's an action packed family oriented film of sacrificial love.

For some time now, I've been intrigued with knowing this wild God who is calling us to join him out in the wild. This has become a recurring theme which Father brings me back to at different times. He has used movies like "Madagascar" to encourage me on this journey back to the wild. He's also worked through fellow bloggers such as Darin Hufford and Gary Kirkham. Every time I read or see something related to this topic, the desire to go deeper into the wild with him increases.

Xan protested his Father's plan to release Duma back into the wild and declared that Duma didn't want to go back. His father told him that wildness was in Duma's blood and in his bones and it would come out of him when he was released. That later proved to be true. As I watched the video, I asked Father to show me what it means for me to go back into the wild. How will it affect my every day life?

The church has been domesticated for hundreds of years. Like pets, we've been told when to sit and when to stand and when we could speak and when we had to be silent (which was most of the time). We've been kept in a cage called religion under our masters (pastors) to make sure we behave ourselves and we're fed tame food. Like Xan, Jesus has freed us and is now taking us on the long journey back into the wild. Maybe at this point, we don't know what it means to be wild but Father is saying that it's in us because he put it there and it will come out.

This is an exciting journey filled with many dangers but the wildness in my heart continually tells me that the journey is worth it and that, as I continue, I will grow freer and freer in who I really am. I now realize that I'm no longer tame. I've tasted enough of the wild that I can't go back into the cage.

I believe Jesus described it best in John 3:8 when he said, "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."


Joel Brueseke said...

Aida... I like how you are calling it a long journey back into the wild. A few years back, the book Wild At Heart aided tremendously in opening my eyes to this, as well as some other circumstances that were going on in my life at the time.

I don't know if you've seen my blog post from February 1, 2007, called "Kings of the Wild Frontier." A group by the name of Adam and the Ants had a song with that title, and the lyrics suddenly hit me one day.

"I feel beneath the white there is a redskin suffering from centuries of taming." I had missed the whole point of the song for years! But suddenly one day my eyes were opened and I saw a man suffering through having been tamed by a modern church culture, and that man was me.

A few days after that post I also posted a couple of more posts along the same line as that one, with more lyrics from the song:

A New Royal Family, a Wild Nobility
Down Below Those Dandy Clothes

I think those posts will be right up your alley.

We've been tamed, and we've been trained to be "good little Christian boys and girls," and in doing so we've lost our true identity as wild children of a wild God.

After my eyes were opened I had a lot of excitement about it, but then some of it died down because I found that I wasn't experiencing my wildness in the way that I thought I would, now that I was "free." I have realized, and your post here has helped me to further realize, that this is a long journey back into the wild... and I'm loving every minute of it!

Joel Brueseke said...

I just remembered, too, that this very morning I was thinking about our status as royalty, and some of the same thoughts came to my mind! Amazing what God is doing! I recorded some of my thoughts into my audio recorder, and as I have time I'll most likely blog about it.

Aida said...

Joel, I didn't even realize I had used the word "long" until you pointed it out but it is a long journey. There just aren't a lot of travellers who are ahead of us and can help us navigate the rough terrain so it's taking us longer than it would if most of the church were travelling together.

I had previously read your blog posts. I'd forgotten about them so I'm glad you reminded me. I enjoyed re-reading them and it's encouraging to me to know that others are hearing what I'm hearing and are travelling a similar path to freedom.

"I feel beneath the white there is a redskin suffering from centuries of taming."

That's a great analogy. Religion has forced us to try to be who we're not and has tamed us but underneath there's a wild child of a wild God trying to get out. That cry for freedom is often interpreted as rebellion that has to be put down and that's what makes this journey so difficult.

Religion will try to suck us back in but we don't fit in the box any more. This journey is long and difficult because we're experiencing battles within and without.

Sounds to me like your excitement has returned. I'm glad. On a long journey like this, it's easy to lose heart so we have to encourage one another.

Someone I know wrote a great allegory about two branches abiding. I recently posted a link to it on my blog. It's very encouraging and clearly pictures that it is a long and difficult process. If you haven't read it, I think you'll enjoy it. (Giggle, giggle)

I look forward to reading your upcoming blog on our status as royalty. I know it'll be good. I'm always encouraged by what you write.


In Christ Alone said...

Thank you for this post Aida,

It really speaks to my heart about the freedom that is found in Christ and yet sometimes it feels that we are out there in that wildness alone. We know we are never alone and yet the whole experience of living outside the cage can sometimes be a gargantuan jungle with a few huts of spiritual like-minded friends that are sometimes quite a distance to connect with. The predictable, so comfortable, so non-committal would be such an easier row to hoe. I was in a church last Sunday night to watch my daughter in a performance and I am glad to be there to support her ever increasing faith but I tell you, during the "sermon" and I use that term loosely I felt like a caged animal....I wanted to escape and I felt like yelling ..truly...out loud like a wild animal. What has done that to me? The discontent of not being free to express and be who it is I am....I can no longer sit comfortably in straight rows of pews with hands folded and not share and not live freely and openly in the Life that is Christ in me. I may be rambling a bit and I see that you are reading "Pagan Christianity". I think this is adding to my understanding as to why I feel a great discontent...some have coined it a divine discontent when attempting to do something that it bizarre and controlled and so up-tight that in my opinion no more resembles the Life that Christ would have us live than that of the world.

Where am I going with this? Just thanking you for sharing about this movie and affirming the whole idea that there is no going back to the cage once freedom has been tasted. At times it seems foreign and people look at you outside of the cage in fear as they would a wild animal...I love those perplexed stares...they are in a state that maybe they could unlatch that cage door as well and come and explore the wildness and wonderfulness of living in our true Identity...not without fellowship and don't think I mean that... but meeting in the open areas of the wild with other like- minded believers whether in this manner or physically and just encouraging and sharing and knowing that this wildness is directed by the One...the One in whom we stand together in the unity of the Spirit.

Long post but you got me thinking ....thanks for that. :)

In Him,

Bino Manjasseril said...

It is interesting you brought this up now. I am about half way through the 'Wild at heart' by John Eldredge. An amazing book. To be honest, this is the first book which is clearing me some practical issues of living out our life in Christ (in my personal life). Though the book is a journey into man's soul, I think it helps women as well.
Like you, I too don't want to go into that cage. I have tasted some freedom and wildness. I don't want to sit there for religion to domesticate me anymore. I am enjoying this journey into the wild and want to continue exploring some great adventures.

Joel Brueseke said...

I'm really enjoying all of this! Hearing what others are going through and knowing that even though we're miles apart we're able to struggle and to encourage one another in our struggles! When I first began reading Wild At Heart and when I got my first glimpse of freedom from the taming and the caging that had held me in bondage in the church, I had no one - absolutely no one - to relate to in all of this. But through discussions such as this, through this community of people who are open about what is going on inside them, and outside as well, we're able to see that we're not in this alone!

ICA... Like you, I've been in situations in which I wanted to stand up and shout in the middle of a church service or 30. :) I have felt so very unsettled and irritated (probably not the exact best words, but it's what I can think of at the moment), and I felt like someone was wanting to put me back in a cage again!

I so much want to love people, and accept that they're on a particular part in their journey, but I also want to somehow get it through to them that they're keeping people in bondage!

Anyway, I could go on venting. :) I'm just glad to know my internet friends are going through similar things.

Tina said...

Aida, just popping in to say that I enjoy your blog. This post really resonated with me.

Yes, this is Tina that you met in Simpsonville.

Anonymous said...

Hi Aida,
I found you through Tina's blog (hi Tina:)

Just wanted to say I'm a fan of foreign film and recently watched Faraw! which is an African film.

This one sounds wonderful, and your thoughts are wonderful too.

Anonymous said...

But! Faraw is not a family movie, more mature audience. :)

Aida said...

ICA, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Once we've tasted freedom, it's hard to go back to captivity. The wildness will still want to come out. There's a scene in the movie that I think clearly pictures this. In the wild, Duma starts eating wild food and Xan tries to stop him. Duma responds by snarling at him. He had experienced the wild and no one, not even someone he loves, was going to tame him again. It was quite a poignant scene which I go back to often in my thoughts.

Pagan Christianity is a real eye opener. As I read it, I have two emotional responses. One is sadness thinking about what the church could have been like today if we hadn't gotten off track. The second emotion is anger at how we've been deceived all of these years and kept in bondage.

I still go to the big Sunday morning show primarily because of my daughter although I'm not really involved in the other things they do. Sunday mornings can be quite a challenge at times and I'm wondering if I'll still be able to go when I finish Pagan Christianity. We'll see.

Feelings of aloneness is probably the hardest battle most of us have to face out here in the wild. I'm just so very thankful that you're all out here with me even though we are in just a few scattered huts out here. Hopefully, there will more face to face relationships but until then I'm glad for all of the encouragement I receive from all of you.

I need to go for now. All of the comments have been great and I don't want to rush through them trying to respond quickly but I'll be back later tonight and finish up.


Aida said...

Bino, I've thought off and on about reading Wild at Heart but haven't because its focus seems to be for men. I think I'll try to see if someone I know has a copy.

I agree with you. This is an exciting journey. Going back into captivity is not an option for me any more. All I want is to go deeper and deeper into the wild along with Jesus.

Joel, you're right. This really is a great discussion. It encourages me to know that even though we're in different locations, we're all travelling a similar road and experiencing many of the same adventures and struggles.

I can understand your frustration. People need to know there's freedom but I'm not sure everyone wants to be free. Some think the cost is too great. If you saw the movie The Matrix, remember there was one man who had experienced freedom but preferred the illusion.

I'm wondering if living freely before others isn't the best way to stimulate a hunger in them for freedom and then sharing as we have opportunity. I'm not really sure. I guess we really have to hear the Holy Spirit since he knows what's best in each case.


Aida said...

Tina, it's great hearing from you! When I saw your name I was wondering if that was you. I can't believe it's been almost a month since were together. I still think about that week-end often. It was great meeting all of you.

I didn't know until you posted here that you had a blog so I ran over there yesterday and gave it a quick look. It looks good. I want to look it over a little more when I get a chance. I'm sorry you're going to stop blogging for a while but maybe that will give me a chance to catch up with what you've posted.

I saw your post on the week-end with Wayne and I saw my name mentioned so I definitely had to read that one. I really appreciated your openness and honesty. The week-end didn't turn out the way I had expected either but I'm okay with it.

I'm looking forward to interacting with you on your blog and on mine.

Hi, Jennifer. Nice to meet you.

Duma is a British made film so they all have those cute English accents. The scenes of Africa are beautiful although there are some rough scenes as they travel through the desert.

Hubby wasn't as impressed by the movie as I was, which isn't unusual. I still can't get the idea of going back into the wild out of my head so, for me, it was a powerful movie.