Month: March 2004

Fear of living in community with others …

Don Miller continues to offer some great insights in, Blue Like Jazz. A sure recluse, Don moved into “Graceland” – the name of the house he shared with some guys while living in Portland. As he reflected on what it meant to learn to live with people, he wrote,

Living in community made me realize one of my faults: I was addicted to myself. all I thought about was myself. The only thing I really cared about was myself. I had very little concept of love, altruism, or sacrifice. I discovered that my mind is like a radio that picks up only one station, the one that plays me: K-DON, all don, all the time. (p.181)

He goes on,

“The most difficult life I have ever contended with is this: Life is a story about me.” (p.182)

And on,

“I hear addicts talk about the shakes and panic attacks and the highs and lows of rsisiting their habit, and to some degree I understand them because I have had habits of my own, but no drug is so powerful as the drug of self. No rut in the mind is so deep as the one that says I am the world, the world belongs to me, all people are characters in my play. There is no addiction so powerful as self-addiction.” (p.182)

We certainly love isolation. We often long to be “alone” from people. Yet, people constitute much of the transforming work of the Spirit of God in our lives. Would we want to miss that?

Apprenticeship … a better picture of discipleship, being a Christian

Jason continues to offer tidbits from Dallas Willard and NT Wright. Undoubtedly, Willard is one of the most insightful writers I have read – period. Last year he spoke at the Emergent Convention in San Diego and is speaking again this year. My friend, Chris Monroe – a.k.a. Desert Pastor – is offering regular weblog updates at his site. He provided the following after listening to Dallas Willard in the first session titled, “The Great Omission from the Great Commission.”

::EC-San Diego:: Time with Dallas Willard

Well, I’m off to part 2 of my course with Dallas Willard: The Great Omission from the Great Commission. And as far how part 1 went yesterday, all I can say is “wow!”

My butt ached from sitting through the 5-hour session, and my brain ached from the depth of the material Dallas served up, but I was SO GLAD that I picked this CCC! I wouldn’t recommend it though, for people who like to sit back and be entertained. :O I gotta confess — I feel pretty inept in trying to summarize ALL that we heard and discussed. I just need more time to “process” it all.

One thing I found interesting, though, was how Dallas pointed out that many denominations commonly confuse (or better, “reduce”) true “Great Commission” work, with church-planting (whether locally or globally). Here’s what he said:

?This is NOT a call to start churches.
It?s the call to establish kingdom ‘beach-heads’ in the lives of others.?

This requires a breed of discipleship that is largely lacking in the Church today. Sad to say, it is now considered acceptable to distinguish between “Christians” and “disciples.” Further, under the influence of modernism, the church has commonly equated faith with “right belief” (e.g. fundamentalism), or “social action” (e.g. liberalism). It’s not that these, in-and-of-themselves, are wrong — but they demonstrate how the Church has tended to view faith as a matter of “thinking right” or “acting right” instead of being a matter of apprenticeship that flows from a relationship with Christ.

Well…I’ve gotta run. But I’m certainly looking forward to sharing more material and ideas from Dallas Willard. And before I close out this post, let me say that I am very impressed with Dallas, personally. It floored me how at each break (20 min.), he stayed up front and met with everyone who wanted to ask additional questions, meet him, or just talk. That meant he didn’t even get a minute’s break during the entire session. He has an amazing servant-heart.

Listening … speaking …

A freind of mine posted these thoughts from the prayer guide his church is using for Lent.

“Many of our neighbors think they’ve heard the message, but they haven’t. Some have been hit with religious messengers who have tainted the gospel with their hostility and confusion. The message has bounced off, leaving behind a bitter disinterest. What they have rejected is a distortion of the truth, presenting only a caricature of who You really are” (p. 29).

May how we live and how we “listen” (to others) start to make a difference.

Great thoughts …

Laughing …

I found these thoughts on laughing …

I want to have a really good laugh;
not a polite
or an effortless
not a tight-cheeked
surface smile
that makes my face
but bypasses
the best
of my body.

I want a deep, fat, uncontrollable laugh
that shakes my belly and sows tears
on my cheeks;

that erupts and cascades
all over the conversation;

that I surf as it surges but end up submerged;
that rumbles deliciously
like thunder in summer; that tricks me
into thinking it?s tamed, but that fractures afresh
when my eye catches yours; that?s raucous and rude
and defiantly unrepentant; that leaves me gasping
for breath but still wanting more; that goes underground
for hours at a time, then surfaces in dreams
in the dark of the night; that leaves me weak,
exhausted and satisfied.

What a picture!

Interesting reflection compelling us to action …

I found this when we were looking for some material on “spiritual formation/spiritual disciplines/spiritual habits.” I would love to know who to whom to attribute.

Christ Has No Body

Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,

Yours are the eyes through which is to look out Christ’s compassion to the world;

Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good;

Yours are the hands with which he is to bless me now.