Ian and Isabelle Ingram, 1234 Imaginative Avenue, Whereverville, are institutionalized evangelicals, institutionalized in heart and mind.
Today, sunday, Ian is intent on beating his record time of 22m20s. They arrive at their beloved institutional church, Immanuel Learning Institute, at exactly 22m04s, having executed six lefts and three rights, hitting four green lights and only one red. Not bad, but 16s shy of his record.
An hour previous, after putting on their sunday-go-to-meetin’ best, the honorable twosome, as is custom, sat at the kitchen table and carefully calculated their week’s combined income (before deductions, of course), not neglecting Isabelle’s winnings at bingo, pressed 10% on the calculator, and since it amounted to 0.97 away from $140, generously decided to make it an even seven 20’s, considering the 0.97 an “offering”.
Isabelle is proud of her Ian, having recently been promoted to head usher, his years of faithful service and fixed smile having paid off. Both pleasure in the approval and acceptance from those of higher rank and also their equals.
Ian and Isabelle Ingram self-institutionalized themselves fifteen years previous when they opted for membership, adopting the Institute’s vision as their own, making a verbal pact to finance that vision through “tithes and offerings” and submit to leadership. Now their institutionalized heart and mind find comfort in sameness…. same pastor in the same suit preaching from the same pulpit in the same church to the same people. Can’t get enough.
They survive vacations by attending local institutional church services.
The advantages of membership are many: a vote on serious church matters…. choice of programs through which to serve…. weekday Bible/prayer…. a pastor when requiring direction or solace…. satisfying social life…. sense of belonging.
But that proverbial coin does have another side….
Ian and Isabelle Ingram of Whereverville are less than entire, a christian divided in two (or is that three or four?). Fullness of the Spirit is only for those “led of the Spirit”. Subservience to man disqualifies them from nearness to Lord Jesus.