Monday, July 19, 2004

God's Model T?

I'm still enjoying my summer sabbath. I'm excited about moving back to Georgetown, though, from one guest room to another. It's like I'm the Kato Kaelin of the Episcopal Church. Hmm, that was an obscure reference.

I don't have many adventures to talk about; I've just been having good conversations with good people. The neighborhood community is bringing its own challenges. Having expectations of other people (or not) is a sure way to make or break friendships, I think.

I've been thinking about the Pauline phrase, "until Christ is formed in you." The New Testament talks all over the place about how we are positioned with God in Christ, in a right relationship so we can be transformed to be like Jesus. What should we focus on, then, in making disciples?

People need to be taught how to live in right relationships with God and other people. Not how to earn God's favor, or be continually more certain of one's eternal destiny, but how to love God, and receive love from God. Read your Bible. Pray. Sure, why not? But prayer isn't instinctual. Why else would people buy so many books about it and still not do it? I don't think it ever quits being hard. We need to pray with and for one another so we can learn that even though it's always hard, we can do it. It'll get less hard that way, but only if we do pray. What our prayer lives need not a book called Prayer Made Easy that will live up to its promises, but rather for us to stick with it.

People need to figure out how to use the Bible. It's not a rulebook, a collection of true/false propositions to which deeply analytical types need adapt our formulas for living. You can't treat it like the user's guide for your iPod. Yes, our habits and worldviews need complete conversion, but I really think the apostolic witness conveyed in the Scriptures seeks to mediate a relationship that we can really live in, not hand down regulations for proper church governance.

The Church is the prototype for redeemed humanity. We call people to get with the Kingdom program before the King returns to kick ass. We can start by calling the Christians to it. So we learn to love each other. Not perfectly, but well. Our love is stunted, and clumsy, and messy, and subject to all sorts of mixed motivations. But we can learn to love well as God changes us. He will change us.

I'm trying to focus just on praying right now. I'm not worried about constructing my systematic theology, or figuring out just what the Fathers meant by some odd phrase or another (though I am having fun with it) or even having good spiritual conversations with people. I want to love Jesus by praying the Psalms to him. I want to love him by quieting myself and letting him speak in the place normally full of neurotic activity. I want to do that with my friends, and learn to love them well, and let them learn to love me. It's not really about me, anyway. It's about us, and it's about Him. It's about learning to live that way.

Just what I'm thinking about tonight.

5 comments:

+ Alan said...

You're thinkin' about some seriously good stuff St. Kyle. Very nice. You've said a few things well and succinctly there man - I'll refer those who may appreciate it. (I said "succinctly" - you like that?) :^)

Bryan said...

"I want to love Jesus by praying the Psalms to him. I want to love him by quieting myself and letting him speak in the place normally full of neurotic activity. I want to do that with my friends, and learn to love them well, and let them learn to love me. It's not really about me, anyway. It's about us, and it's about Him. It's about learning to live that way. "

Good stuff Kyle. All things I can relate to personally. It feels a bit strange to think about how long I've been a believer and how I'm just now starting to understand some basic things about how to really live. I'm glad to be walking this path alongside friends like you.

Jesse said...

Kato Kaelin! I get it!

Kyle said...

Thanks, guys, for reading. It's helpful to be reminded that I'm not crazy. I'm just afraid I'll walk outside and big boxes of "purpose-driven life" will fall down on my head...

Anonymous said...

"I'm just afraid I'll walk outside and big boxes of "purpose-driven life" will fall down on my head..."

Quote of the week.

rock on, kato.
saint