Simply For the Record

It is not in me to be satisfied with the status quo. It never has. You know, the whole sit down, be quiet, listen, be a good boy, etc. I will admit that some of my choices in the past have been quite rebellious and pretentious, but my current shifts in thinking are not derived in rebellion. Instead, they come from a deep, unsettled sense that following Jesus must look different than what we are used to.

I have come to understand the difficulty in figuring this out because all of us are prone to only see reality after filtering it through what we already know. It is hard to link our reality to the reality and culture Jesus faced 2000 years ago. Things are different. Technology, travel, money, clothing, the things we know and see, and the way we spend our time, all make our lives and thought processes different from those of people in the days of Jesus.

So what to make of this dichotomy? How can we effectively link today with then? What does following the Way of Jesus really look and feel like? Are we even close? These questions and others plague my mind. I can’t just accept that coming to church, giving a tithe, throwing up some prayers, and reading my Bible periodically is all there is to following this radical Rabbi from Nazareth. Just read the Gospels!

Is it enough to just believe the right set of facts? Is it enough to accept at face value all that “Evangelical Christianity” has to offer? Are we missing something? I don’t mean to imply that there is more than one way to heaven, or anything of the sort. What I am asking is, is there more to following Jesus than what we typically see in Christianity today? If so, what is it? Why are we not more concerned for the homeless? Why are we not more concerned for the prostitute, drug-addict, debt-laden, lonely, and forgotten? How can we sit in the comfort of our “Christianity” and not be blown out of our self-absorbed “services” while being thrust into some kind of real, making-a-difference action in the world at large?

I would love nothing more than to be able to ignore these gnawing questions in my mind, but I can’t. I would like to be able to gather with a group of people and sing happy songs while we pat each other on the back for making such an effort to “come out and worship”. This would be much easier for me to process. After all, it is what I am used to in the past. However, I can’t read the Bible and continue to stay the same. So with that, I am on a mission to find ways to connect in my community and make a difference. Instead of focusing on a “come and join us” mentality, I will try to reorient my thinking to a “go and join them” mentality. Oh, I’m sure that will get some raised eyebrows with that thought!

I need help with this. I need real and authentic answers. How can we really begin to get out there, without an agenda, and live out the life that Christ sacrificed for us? How can we really incarnate the life and message of Jesus in a way that makes a tangible difference in peoples lives today? After all, isn’t Jesus more than just a hope for a future destination? Isn’t He interested in our lives and world today?

I will let that dangle to see where a conversation may go…help me out there!!

Thanx!

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7 Responses

  1. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Tim Ramsey

  2. I don’t have any answers, I’m shy enough that I don’t readily get involved in a lot of people’s lives at one time. I’m not opposed to hanging out with new people whether they’re at the bars or club or office or whatever. It’s just that I don’t usually run into people and have an opportunity to have a natural, unforced conversation with them. It’s a lot easier when I get introduced to people.

    If you would like a glimpse of what simply living life is like, I recommend reading both of Jim Palmer’s books. His idea of church is just living life. I don’t even think they have weekly meetings and such. It’s pretty crazy.
    1. Divine Nobodies by Jim Palmer
    2. Wide Open Spaces by Jim Palmer
    Look those up on Amazon.

    The limited exposure I do have to non-friends and non-Christians, I just act like a normal human being with them. I talk about sports, cars, computers, the movies, etc. I don’t go all religious and stuff on them. It’ll come out one of two ways: from me naturally or from them asking me about. it. I think stuff that personal like religion is not just something you spring on most people so early in on a relationship. With most computer people that I go to school with, they’re apathetic, non-religious, or some form of atheist. So, it’s going to be a sensitive thing and trust will have to be built.

    I too like you get tired of the holy huddles. It doesn’t accomplish nothing. It doesn’t seem real, or authentic. It doesn’t mirror my everyday life, and hence, it’s irrelevant to me (and many other people). I like what ?Augustine? (i think) said – “preach the Gospel… when necessary use words.” We could do so much more to share the Gospel with others by doing things for them than we can by preaching hell, fire, and brimstone at them. That’s why I believe social action is so important (some would call it the Social Gospel). But if we read the Gospels, Jesus was pretty heavy into the “Social Gospel” bit. In fact, its the medium through which many believed.

    Christians have just fallen out of touch with the world because of their almost exclusive fixation on the life hereafter. It’s time we start looking at the life here now. I believe this will be crucial for the church to be effective again. We have to make Jesus’ message relevant again, and perhaps the best way to help do this is by serving others.

    Of course, we’ll be branded heretics pushing the “Social Gospel” but we’re in good company. Jesus was branded and crucified for being the “heretic” of His day.

  3. Great thoughts, bro. I’ll check out those books. I will be sharing some thoughts in a few days on a fascinating book called “Jim and Casper Go to Church”. It hits at the heart of what I have been “soap-box rambling” about for three days now!! 🙂

    Thanx!

  4. This is really good stuff but,…….I actually like the term Holy Huddles! Kinda’ catchy. I know yall’ are using it in a negative light but… This thing could catch on! Instead of LTG’s we could have HH’s. Then people could say “I hate those Holy Huddles” and it would sound so stupid like when people say “I am against praise and worship music”…….(double take) …..What?
    just a thought from the mind of the NateDogg. 🙂

  5. Yeah, I see what you’re saying. It could be used in a pretty cool way. 🙂 I just want to be real clear, that I am not trying to be too critical of churches or imply that I think my way is better or more holy. For the readers who don’t know, NateDogg is an awesome youth pastor in NE Arkansas who is “getting it done”. Their church and pastor are fantastic. They are making disciples of Jesus and preaching the Truth. They have battled a lot of legalism and crap that should never have happened. I personally know the current pastor and the former pastor. These are men I love and respect.

    I find that many people associated with the house church, simple church, organic church, etc. genre are acting like they have figured out the key to really knowing God, and that everyone in institutional churches are pathetic loosers who don’t really know God. I know that is not necessarily what they say, but it certainly sounds like what they seem to be implying at times.

    I really hope i don’t sound that way, because that is not at all what I think or believe. Like I have tried to say, I think there are pros and cons to both sides. After weighing the differences, I feel the best way for me to pursue God and grow in my relationship with Him is by being connected to a more simple expression of church that is not littered a bunch of the baggaged that is normally associated with churches.

    I don’t know that stills sounds really negative toward traditional churches, but it is not intended that way.

    Crap, maybe I should just stop trying to defend my thoughts and words, and go make some disciples of Jesus!! 🙂

    Thanx!

  6. You know I am just havin’ a little fun with ya bud!

  7. I know. I just had to blow a little smoke up your butt there with all those flattering comments. Be sure to tell Ron that I gave you guys a good e-promotion!

    Thanx!

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