Jul 23, 2008

hindsight lessons on transformation

Sometimes the best lessons come out of the mouths of those who have just used hindsight. I like the introduction to the book Metamorpha by Kyle Strobel (son of noted apologetical thinker/teacher/writer Lee Strobel). He titles the section, “Where I Write From.”

I am a child of the seeker church. Mine is probably the first generation of children whose parents became Christians in the seeker movement. The first time I sang a hymn was in college. I have been saved from facing issues that come with growing up around a lot of tradition; for example, I have no qualms with redoing everything if that is what is needed.

On the other hand, my lack of tradition has left me feeling my way in the dark even though millions of others have walked the way before me. What I have always tried to take away from this odd tension, though, is that people take precedence over programs and models. Just as the Sabbath was made for man and not the other way around, so are church models and traditions. But as I've experienced personally and witness continually, the church often allows structure and tradition to segregate, disenfranchise, and alienate, even when those structures and traditions are only a couple of years old.

I want to see something different in my lifetime.

I am a child of evangelicalism and went through the motions this movement said were necessary to be a leader. Yet I am a child of the emerging church as well, whose complaints and frustrations have been with me since childhood. Like so many in my generation, I have an abundance of frustrations and hurt from the church at large, but I cannot for the life of me give up on her.

I grew up thinking I was in, which was all that really important to me. For people who have lived painful and scandalous lives, finally being in means a lot. For me, it meant little. I grew up in the church and was a reasonably good kid. What was I saved from? It seemed to be that I was saved from God by God. I failed to see I was saved by God for God and that his saving grace means eternal living here and now.

My understanding of the Christian life had everything to do with what eventually will happen and had little to do with what currently is happening. I had walked through the door of Christianity, and I thought my job was just to be a good person until Jesus came back. By God's grace I have learned there is so much more. It's par for the course that, when we become Christians, we do so under many false pretenses and
affirm things we don't remotely understand - as we will see, that's okay. But we must never fail to actually journey with Jesus. We have been saved that we may live the kingdom life now.

I want to show that we do not so much need an overview of what it means to be good as we do an invitation to journey with God. In North America, we have more than often been a group of people who talk about all that Jesus came to do without any idea what it means for our lives now. It is my hope that we can journey in search of greater meaning. Fortunately, we have a God who is gracious enough to equip us for the journey we have before us.

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