This morning's post is pretty-much a message to the guys in my Wednesday evening small-group Bible-study. I've had a lot of thoughts running through my head this week about what it means to be a Christian man in this culture.
The process started with a conversation with a pastor who is responsible for small-group and discipleship ministry at a large church. Bottom line, and I'd be hard-pressed to disagree with him on this, he suggested that the majority of people who attend church and identify themselves as "Christian" do not live as full-time disciples who are immersed in an ongoing relationship with the Living God.
We don't, for the most part, live moment by moment in the context of faith.
This morning, as if to underline the idea, I spent a mile and a half of my walk talking with a young man who has become cynical about life exactly because he does not see any relationship between what people say in church and the way that they live their lives as real people in the real world, twenty-four seven.
HUGE DISTINCTION... This conversation is not about rule-keeping, or guilt, or "am I doing the right things to look like a Christian"... No, this conversation is about who we are more than what we do.
Granted, who we are is going to lead to direct, observable evidence in terms of behavior. But behavior is not the definitive measure. It is critically important that we understand that.
I had a great conversation the other day with a friend who worked for two decades as a news cameraman. Years ago, shooting a state-department reception in Washington D.C., he noticed a change in the entire room.
- It wasn't so much quiet as it was expectant.
- It wasn't that everyone shut up so much as that they switched to openness and reception.
- It wasn't trivial in the room anymore; it was suddenly loaded with meaning.
What had happened is that Mother Teresa had walked in. And it wasn't so much what she was doing at the moment as it was who she was - down to her very foundations...
When we live Christ-filled saturated lives it effects systemic change, change that is actualized down to a cellular level. It's like other people get to be, in that moment, in the presence of a little bit of Jesus.
It's funny, and it should be a whole other blog post, but I've noticed a certain clarity in my world of late. The reason it's funny is that I now need to wear progressive lens glasses 100% of the time, and there's good reason to believe I have some measurable hearing loss in at least one of my ears....
Yet I am seeing this world with such clarity! I'm looking at the sky with more wonder. Framing up pictures in my mind as I walk or drive. Thinking, "Wow... what an amazingly beautiful world this is!" Listening to music and feeling, understanding, more layers and nuances of emotion than ever before.
It's as if I have moved into 3-D, High-definition, 4-G. It's like the world is suddenly more beautiful and more meaningful than ever before.
I've got to believe it's Jesus.
Grace and Peace - DEREK