Thursday, June 26, 2003
I feel like there's not much to say these days... or maybe there's too much to say, and we're all stuck in some retro 80's movie with Ben Stein asking the class, "Bueller? Beuller?"because there's no one to speak or no one to listen. I've got a few "outlets" for the stuff I write, and anything I come up with for the 1J13 email list tends to be either a re-hash of what I've blogged about here, or it's a re-hash of dead horses we've kicked around on the list already over the years. So it's not really "writer's block" in the truest sense - more of a "writer's roadblock."
The only thing I can point to that's "new" for me right now is something that's building inside through the Word, through sermons, through stuff I'm reading and listening to, and that is the call to OBEDIENCE. That's a hard pill to swallow for the church. We know we need to "obey," but that rarely turns into real motivation and real action to really follow through with the commands of God. And it's tough to tell a grace-driven people that there's still a "law" that needs to be followed and lifted up as a standard for living instead of some unreachable absolute ideal or unnecessary legalistic thing.
But isn't that what grace is about: the desire and power to do what God is compelling you and me to do? That's the rub - if you're already going to heaven (since this is what the average church-goer considers "salvation"), and you're forgiven for your shortcomings and sins if you'll just confess 'em, then why do you have to put real effort into obeying The Law, right? But that's what grace is for, to actually DO what you cannot on your own DO in the right heart and spirit and motivation.
But we... don't... do... that. Our basic Sunday morning sermon is an infomercial for the Christian Life (an ideal that everyone can try with the right "keys" and $19.95 - or your money back), not for kingdom-living (the grunt work of living with people day-to-day, with no money back guarantees). We jot down the thesis and the four bullet-points of application in our Bible margins, nod our head in agreement or shout "Amen" at the appropriate times to keep the pastor fired up, and then we walk out of the building thinking we've grown in maturity because we've heard and "understood," NOT because we've actually changed - we haven't.
But how do I write about that? How do I put down in words that I want to be someone who follows God's call no matter where it comes from, no matter what it costs, no matter where it will lead? How do I type about obedience and grace when those two things seem so paradoxical to our culture these days? How can I proclaim that grace is good because it empowers us to choose to obey, not because because it is used as a mask for our unwillingness to do so? How can I write...
Oh wait a minute... I just did. Maybe. Boy, I feel more mature already. Sarcasm.