A couple weeks ago I posted a thought process that had started on my way to work (Feb 8 "A thing I think I think"). It got me started thinking about how we approach bringing folks along in their life in faith. Are we trying to make it easy when we shouldn't? Then in my previous post (Feb 11, "A bit at a time")I thought I'd take on the "basics" one by one.
Upon further contemplation I've decided against that. You want to see what I believe are the basic "beliefs" of Christianity check the link in the title of the Feb 8 post. I like what Mike chose for that list and how he explains them. I'm not going to try and out write him on the subject.
So where does that leave me? How do I answer that initial question? It came to me while I was driving again. What we're failing to do, the way that we're making this too easy is that we're not clearly explaining that all that stuff doesn't mean a thing if you don't change. That's the foundational piece that I think we're missing. The idea is that you will be changed.
And not just by going to church on Sunday. The change that comes through faith is more than another schedule item on your PDA. We're not making clear that a life in faith changes everything. How we view people, how we view money, how we drive, how we talk, how we think, how we treat people, how we spend our money, how we use our time. It means changing how we view ourselves. It means turning away from the inward focus for our lives and accepting an outward one.
That's a scary thought and no doubt some folks will turn away from us because of it. Guess what they turned away from Jesus too at that same point. That change doesn't mean that we all become little faith 'droids carefully programmed to respond exactly the same as all the other little 'droids. Rather it gives us a standard by which to measure our lives and what we do with them. That measure is love. Love for God, the big I AM, and realizing that such a relationship is not all one way. We want God to love us and help us and value those things we love. God wants the same thing. The shift away from an inward focus ("What about MY needs?") to an outward focus means we begin to place God's concerns up front, even if they inconvenience us.
In the end during my drive I came to realize how overwhelming that change is. Quite literally there is NO part of my life that should not feel the impact of that change. My marriage, my parenting, how I deal with cashiers at the store. My relationship with the environment, the government, the economy, the culture. None of survives as it was.
It's not the learning or the believing that's the hard part so it's too bad we spend so much time and effort there. It's the living that's hard. It's the change that's so daunting and scary and hard.
So we should probably get started right now.