“I am the true Vine…”
I got into a conversation with a friend the other day about GMOs. That conversation prompted me to do a little research on the topic, and I came away with what I guess is a rudimentary understanding of the issue:
1) “Genetic modification is the process of forcing genes from one species into another entirely unrelated species.”
2) The process is producing “food” that’s not even really “food” anymore.
3) While the manufacturers claim that they produce GMOs to help feed an ever growing population, closer scrutiny suggests that the true motivation may be “profit.”
As I pondered these things I came to a very disturbing realization that much of what passes for church in America, what is called the “body of Christ,” is actually a “genetically modified organism”- The Genetically Modified Church of America (GMCOA).
The true Church is made up of individuals who, through their abiding union with Christ, have become one body. It is through this abiding union that they are nurtured, strengthened and maintained. Each part “does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” Its “DNA” is holy and pure in that it is derived from Jesus. This Church, this Organism is strong, vibrant and able to prevail against “herbicides, pesticides, insects and draught.” Its Life flows from the true Vine, and needs no “enhancement” of any kind. But as the American “church” has perceived itself as being increasingly threatened in today’s world, to defend itself, it has begun to “force genes” from an entirely “unrelated species” (i.e. the world) into the Body. This “fusion” has resulted in the production of the GMCOA which may look like the Church in some respects, but lacks the reality that only comes from Jesus. Unfortunately, because many “corporate manufacturers” (pastors of the GMCOA) fear that the “church” is losing its’ place in society, much of what passes for worship in today’s churches is merely an emotional, surface level experience. The Spirit of God is stifled or quenched altogether as the GMCOA endeavors to resist the “pesticides of culture,” and attempts to make the “church” more appealing to the world. (A more blatant manifestation of the GMCOA can be seen in the recent actions taken by Presbyterian USA and the United Church of “Christ.”)
Just as GMO manufacturing results in the production of food which is not even really food, the infusion of “foreign genes” into the body of Christ is manufacturing Christians who aren’t really Christians. American church goers are habitually being fed an adulterated, modified gospel that in most cases merely serves to stroke the wounded self-image of the hearer. Congregations are told that Jesus just wants to make them into the best “thems” that they can be. True union with Christ, life in the Spirit, repentance and faith has been lost amid the promises of fulfilled destiny. Jesus, who is Life itself, has become nothing more than an ingredient to add to your life to make it better. The meat of the Word has been reduced to hash-tags and fluffy tweets devoid of true substance by the purveyors of the GMOCOA. Like Samson who scraped honey out of the carcass of a lion, ate it himself, and then gave it to his unsuspecting parents; the GMOCOA’s “gospel” is pleasing to the taste. But instead of experiencing life and wholeness in Jesus, those who eat it are left wanting.
Most opponents of GMOs in America insist that while the corporate manufactures claim that they produce these organisms to help feed the world’s population, the true motivation is profit. I think a similar motivation may be found within the GMCOA. As many within the American “church” sense the impending doom of the traditional Christian corporation, the desire to keep their “corporations” in tact is concealed within the words of “the great commission.” So many pastors today are doing everything they can to keep the “business” up and running. The building or complex has become the church, and the people (those in Christ who actually are the church) are merely the means by which to maintain it. Sadly, much of what is done “in the name of Jesus” today is actually an attempt to keep the “business” and the “business men” in the black.
To combat GMOs, the experts say it is best to “go organic.” Perhaps the same advice should be heeded by us Christians. Let’s turn away from the artificial and contrived additives we’ve introduced into the body of Christ. And being motivated by Love alone, let us pursue true, living intimacy with Jesus and each other.