It’s almost spring! Perhaps some of you, like me, have allergies that start to show up at the changes of the seasons.
For those of you keeping track, I have been writing a series of posts on Organic Church Systems. A lot of folks believe that systems are not welcome in Organic Church settings. Folks in Organic Church environments work very hard at putting down any kind of system that appears in a planning meeting or a shared life meeting.
I believe the human body is a shadow of the Body of Christ. I believe that the systems that have been created and develop in the human body parallel to those in the Body of Christ. This post is about the Immune System.
Here is a quote from our friends at Wikipedia:
The immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease. To function properly, an immune system must detect a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and distinguish them from the organism’s own healthy tissue.
Pathogens can rapidly evolve and adapt, and thereby avoid detection and neutralization by the immune system, however, multiple defense mechanisms have also evolved to recognize and neutralize pathogens.
Skin is the first line of defense. The lungs, intestines and genitourinary tract are some other defenses that act as the second, third and fourth lines of defense. These show up when someone coughs, sneezes, produce tears or urine. Then there is mucus that wraps up the bad stuff. There are also some chemical barriers at work. And in the intestines there is research that shows that probiotics help with keeping a balance of healthy bacteria.
These different biological structures are constantly being attacked by microorganisms or agents that evolve and try to duck and dodge the immune system.
Imagine that. Agents.
You know, those guys in black suits, black ties, black shoes, and black sunglasses.
Perhaps The Matrix. You know, the guy who says, “Mr. Anderson.”
The bottom line is, they are typically folks that aren’t welcome.
And when these agents are at work, they go after healthy tissue. When the Immune System is functioning properly. These agents are surrounded and taken care of through ejection.
If an infection happens…inflammation happens. When inflammation happens, the Immune System kicks in and starts to fight back by swallowing up the infection with Killer T Cells and Helper T Cells and T-shirt Sales and some other cells… Ok, that last one was a joke. Just seeing if you’re paying attention.
What is interesting here is that your immune system remembers that agent and takes note. So that if it shows up again, a quick beat down ensues.
Immunodeficiency and Autoimmunity and Hypersensitivity
Immunodeficiencies happen when one or more component of the Immune System doesn’t function. This is typical in a young or elderly person. Also, this happens with obesity and alcoholism as well as in malnutrition, meaning, folks who don’t get enough protein…or meat. Certain mutations, surgical removal of the thymus as well as inherited diseases bring along immunodeficiencies.
Autoimmunities happen when the immune systems is overactive. Very interesting note here is when the immune system fails to properly distinguish between self and non-self. The Immune System begins to attack part of the body. When a body is young, it is important to have lymphocytes to eliminate the self antigens. This prevents autoimmunity.
Hypersensitivity is another Immune System response that looks to damage the body’s own tissues. There are four different types that depend on the time available to develop and on the different processes involved. Type 1 – immediate (think allergies); Type 2 – attach to own cells to destroy (anemia, rheumatic fever); Type 3 – a bit more developed and timely destruction attached to organs (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis); and Type 4 – two to three days to develop and is not developed from antibodies, but rather it is a cell mediated response (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, multiple sclerosis).
Done With Technical Talk
So, what does this mean to the Body of Christ? It is interesting to think about those brothers and sisters that function as the Immune System. Some function appropriately. Other function from a disorder, of sorts. Here are some spotlights on the Immune System
1. It’s ok to sneeze. It’s ok to cry. Sometimes those agents have to be wept away. Some times they need to be forcefully blown out!
2. Everyone can function as we lookout for agents trying to be sneaky and bring in a foreign thought, doctrine, or value to the Body of Christ. Get your inner Matrix on with your brothers and sisters.
3. A note on the healthy tissue, if the Body functions to grow and live Life in a way that is FOR the Body of Christ, that is probably NOT an foreign agent. If the Body begins to function in a way that restricts or limits the Body, allow the health tissue of the Body to fight off that foreign agent attack.
4. When the Body is young, there is potential for “immunodeficiencies” to occur. That is ok. The solution is more protein! or more meat! More Christ! Focus on Him and His Life. This will be the proper nutrition the young Body you are a portion of will need to fight off foreign agents.
5. Lymphocytes in the Body of Christ can show up in the form of brothers and sisters who may refocus the Body to seek Christ and not some other entity or doctrine or theology or fear. Especially when the Body is young, it is important to allow the “lymphocytes” to function and point to Christ and His Life. This will help remove the pull of the self. If we are left to self, we die.
6. And for goodness sake, PLEASE limit our desire to be hypersensitive!! If you have allergies, you can appreciate your body’s hypersensitivity. Your body has to work hard to defeat those antigens. If hypersensitivity is present in the Body of Christ, we attack things that aren’t necessary to attack. We attack our own. And if we reach “Type 2” or even “Type 4” we can get to dire straights in need of a HUGE lifestyle change.
I am thankful for the Immune System that has been provided throughout the Body of Christ. Perhaps a tissue is needed for a tear or a sneeze. Let’s allow our brothers and sisters to function and throw away the tissue after it’s used. No need to focus on what was removed from the Body. Let’s get back to focusing on Christ!