i had another painful and refreshing meeting this morning with “my guys.” accountability is a relatively new discovery for me, and this meeting is a cherished segment of my week. a frequent topic of conversation, as it was this morning, is this: “why are we doing what we’re doing?” and we wrestle with that question in every possible context.
personally, i am distressed by the fact that i hadn’t really considered that question when i planted the church i currently lead. i basically did what i had seen all my life, and my error was compounded by the fact that it worked. several years later, when i finally began to ask honest questions and examine our methods, the lord led me into new and untested trajectories.
and we became much less “successful.”
that being said, i am delighted with the strange things god has been doing in my life. i feel like i am beginning to grasp fundamental concepts like grace, community, and kingdom. and, quite naturally, my ministry has taken a different direction. i am striving to lay every facet of my life on the altar, and i am trying to lead my people in the counter-cultural discipline of living according to the gospel. it is exciting and terrifying simultaneously.
the profound and erudite brett harrison recently referenced a quote from soren kierkegaard that i threatened to use on my blog. i hereby make good on that threat…
“The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.”
my sincere prayer is that i (and the people that i love) might ingest the gospel and “act accordingly”–that we might become more and more comfortable with being “alone with the new testament.”