Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Expert to Experiment
The earth is moving under the foundation of old concepts of leadership as the modern model of expertise is replaced by a new definition of authenticity. The postmodern world, the way things are and are becoming - whatever you want to call it - does not put confidence in credentials and those claiming to have the answers, but in those with whom we can join in the process of asking questions.

The call for those who would suppose to lead is to be willing to be vulnerable enough to work out their own salvation in the presence of others. Of course, the temptation of pride is to try and work it out in private, away from prying eyes, and only display that which is presentable. And so the myth of neat and tidy spiritual processes is perpetuated by those who show only end products rather than the hesitancy, confusion, doubt, and tentativeness that is truly the nature of experiencing any transformation spiritually. The myth discourages those honest enough to admit their own struggles, but who are intimidated by the apparent certainty expert leaders.

A Christian community is a group that is willing to be open enough about the journey to honestly discuss the reality of the messiness of faith as it is worked out in the presence of God. May we be bold enough to work it out in the presence of others that everyone may be blessed.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Freedom from Self
While writing a recent piece I made the statement that we have "the freedom to not be limited by what we enjoy" - which surprised me when I wrote it. It may sound weird, but I saw more meaning and truth in the statement than I had intended. It was as if the Spirit was speaking to me through words I had written, but which maybe shouldn't be called my own.

Being a slave to pleasure is a stifling existence spiritually. If we are confined to what is enjoyable, our souls will wither. Though most people would desire freedom from hardship and toward pleasure, as disciples of Jesus we value freedom from the curse of knowing only pleasure so that we may grow into the image of Christ. When I am loosed from my addiction to personal pleasure, I will be free indeed.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Responding to Persecution
Continuing my thoughts from the last blog . . . I remember my Church History professor talking about the two ways the pre-Constantinian church responded to persecution: Apologetics and Martyrdom. That seems to be the apostolic approach as well. Certainly Paul engages in apologetics as he explains himself to Roman officials. And the martyrdom . . . well, that's something that scares us.

Compare the apostolic response to the response of many Christians today. There is little true apologetic given, certainly no martyrdom, but lots of campaigning, legislative wrangling, calling for our rights, and claiming that America is a Christian nation so Christianity should be the officially sanctioned religion.

Unless Christians learn how to be aliens in America, travelers who are looking for a city whose Builder and Maker is God, their cultural faith and civil religion will continue to become more and more impotent in the marketplace of ideas.