Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Before you head off into this first weekend of March Madness (A&M has already lost and out of the tournament by the way…), I wanted to drop by and leave you with three things that I have read and been challenged by this week. I hope they are as helpful to you as they are for me. Have a great weekend!
He who thinks that he has finished is finished. Those who think they have arrived have lost their way.Henri Nouwen
Childlike faith and a beginner’s posture are key for discipleship. Confidence in our faith does not come from depth of knowledge but depth of relationship. What I mean is that a whole host of gifts, talents, competencies, and experiences may be great to build confidence in our career but what builds confidence in our faith is knowing Jesus. It ‘s not about what we know but who we know. And to know Christ is to maintain a posture of always receiving, always stewarding, always looking toward the only one who can bring real assurance.
If you think you have more to learn and take part in…you do! If you think you are lost…you may be closer than you think!
So precision requires not only close and patient observation, but also daring imagination and what Keats called “negative capability” – the capacity to dwell in paradox or ambiguity without straining after resolution. To inhabit, as it were, two dimensions or points of view at once, and calmly.Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre
One of my all-time favorite books! If anyone would like to read it and do a book club dinner or coffee I would be most happy to participate.
The definition of maturity that I have been using recently is “being willing to live in tension without needing to resolve it quickly by force.” Marilyn McEntyre and John Keats say it much more eloquently though! Just like lifting weights, there is strength built as we allow tension to do its work. Of course, too much tension breaks us down completely. But tension, in the best sense, breaks us down and then builds us up; it reduces our dependence on ourself and increases trust in the Lord in the best way.
What are you trying to get away from because it is uncomfortable? Let me suggest that instead of trying to quickly resolve the difficult situation by force (eg. leaving, manipulating, ignoring) maybe listening intently and sitting in discomfort to see how God may want to strengthen your faith?
In an age that encourages maximum autonomy and the transgressing of limitations, perhaps we need to see the institution of church as a spiritual discipline.
Disappearing Church by Mark Sayers
I’m gonna let this quote sit with you for a minute or more! Giving ourselves to a local body of believers as spiritual discipline. Giving up some autonomy in order to gain something greater. Namely, a Christ-like existence. Perhaps we “get” nothing greater by being part of a church than that which we get by giving up something like our time, talents, resources, and energy for the common good of other believers. Disciplines are those things we do even when we don’t feel like it. And not just when we find ourselves getting something out of it. But rather disciplines are commitments that we trust will develop new and better ways of thinking and living in our lives. As a result, we are willing to take give up somethings in the short-term in order to gain in the long term.
Is church a discipline for you? It all starts by deciding on this Friday how your Sunday will be spent.