Time to Take the Red Pill

‘You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes’

The Matrix that gives its name to the movie is a computer-generated artificial reality. People live in a false world where they believe that what they see all around them and experience in their daily lives is reality, when in fact it is a delusion-a bit like a high-tech ‘Truman Show’.

Two of the main characters are Morpheus and Neo. Morpheus is a human who has escaped from the Matrix and spends his time looking for the One who will save humanity from its techno-bondage. Neo is the One.
When Neo has been ‘found’, Morpheus speaks to him.

‘The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. . . . You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it’

“the culturally compliant strain of Christianity promoted in Australia does not. oblige (people) to embrace lifestyle choices that might involve discomfort.”

I often think that this story has much to say about the ongoing missional failure of the contemporary western church, which seems to be locked into its own spiritual Matrix, a delusion in regard to reality. The delusion is to believe that the longstanding form of traditional church, and associated mindset in regard to mission, is ‘normal’, is what God wants and can be effective in the mission of the Gospel of Jesus in today’s feverishly changing and changed society. That is a society totally different to the 16th century Christian culture the contemporary church model was originally designed in and for. This despite the decades of mounting and overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

A major factor further compounding the general missional failure is the fact that most church members, and many leaders-

“are not ready to be unplugged. . . (For) many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it’

Centuries of the Christendom model church and thinking have trapped most church members in a spiritual ‘Matrix’ of unreality, that shields their eyes from the need for radical change, for the sake of the those stumbling on the ‘Broad road’ to an eternity without God. Most are not willing to be ‘unplugged’ from ‘church as we have known it’, for that requires them to change and accept discomfort. As the former Bishop of the Australian Defence Force Tom Frame has written-

“the culturally compliant strain of Christianity promoted in Australia does not. oblige (people) to embrace lifestyle choices that might involve discomfort.”

Instead, they are deluded, in many cases quite willingly, not by a techno-Matrix but by a ‘tradition-generated’ illusion of false reality that allows the religiously comfortable to stay comfortable.

In contrast God is calling, has always called, us to obey the Great Commandment to love our neighbour. This inevitably involves vigorously, and often at cost, pursuing the Great Commission (“Love your neighbour as yourself”), for we don’t love our neighbour if we are not prepared to be, in the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:22-

“all things, to all people, so that by all possible means
we might save some”

The task of every person who claims to bear the name of Jesus is to be an agent of salvation. Yet most are lukewarm regarding this task, as evidenced by recent survey data from a large mainline church denomination that showed only 19% of its members were willing to talk intentionally about their faith. This is like an army where only 19% of the soldiers were willing to fight! No wonder the war is being lost.

Meanwhile back at the Matrix. Morpheus gives Neo the option of taking one of two pills

“You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

Neo can take the Blue pill and he will return into the Matrix and live out his life in the computer-generated, no doubt comfortable, false ‘reality’. Or, he can take the Red Pill and stay outside the Matrix, stay is what is a Wonderland to those still caught in the delusion, and pursue his destiny in the setting free of people from their Matrix generated bondage.

The essential need is for the Church to escape its comfortable, tradition-generated spiritual Matrix and to journey through the ‘wormhole’ into the strange worlds, the ‘wonderlands’ where people are very different to those of us who live in the church/Christian universe. These are worlds where they don’t speak or understand bible-speak or church-speak, are not comfortable with community singing, ‘wonderlands’ floating on a sea of relativism, where words mean as Humpty Dumpty said, ‘what you want them to mean’, and where ‘Truth’ is what I want it to be. These are worlds where the church rarely ventures, but desperately needs to.

It’s time to love our neighbour. It is time to take the Red Pill. It’s time to get ‘unplugged’!.

One thought on “Time to Take the Red Pill

  1. The older one gets, the less likely they will “wake up” because (quite frankly) the mind doesn’t want to let go.
    I could google the exact quote, but I’m exercising my brain at the moment. ha!

    Like

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