Thoughts

There have been several times in the past week that I’ve sat down to blog about a particular topic, but I just don’t feel like my thoughts are fully together.  I have several things that are swirling around in my head, but either they’re not fully formed or I just don’t have the energy to write about it right now.  But I guess the good part of that is that I feel like I am processing through several things right now, mostly things that I’m learning from reading Jesus for President.  (which is quickly becoming one of the best books I’ve ever read, I might add)

Here are a few of the things I’ve been thinking of and questions I’m asking myself:

*What are the ways that we are so shaped by our culture that we ignore the teachings of Jesus and see them as irrelevant and impractical to certain situations?

*What is the Church’s proper reaction to evil in the world?  If we let ourselves be guided by the teachings of Jesus, how might our involvement look radically different than it does now?

*Given that a Christian soldier is asked every day to choose between his allegiance to his country and Jesus’ commands to love his enemy and not live by the sword, what is the proper stance of the Christian toward military involvement?  (Taking into consideration that the early Church refused any military service whatsoever on the grounds that it necessitated a compromise in allegiance to Christ and required violence.)

*What are the areas in my life that I have not followed the words of Christ to the extent that He meant them because I don’t take them seriously enough and/or I’d rather go by my culture’s teachings?

*What are the ways that we unknowingly instill in our children a gospel of moralism based-on performance and right actions rather than a gospel of grace?  As most of the people I know are undoing in their adulthood the paradigm that was given to them in their childhood, how can I avoid altogether teaching Evelyne to rate her spiritual success according to how obedient or good she is?

*Should Christians watch violent movies?  (more thoughts on that later)

*What are the ways that we are perpetuating injustice, poverty, and violence through our purchasing power at our local stores?  What would it look like to withdraw from participation in an economy of injustice?  (wow, I seriously have no idea at that one!)

I’m trying to come at these questions from a place of looking at what it means to follow Christ within our culture and without assimilating its compromising views and teachings.  I’m trying to break away from what I’ve always been told that a typical American Christian believes on these things…because I’m coming to a place where I find those same answers to not be as Christian as they are American.  So I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, but no offense, I’m not so interested in hearing the expected formatted answers that I’ve always heard.  I’m not interested in just war theory or Old Testament examples on war and child-rearing.  I’m interested in what it means to see the words of Jesus as basis for our life in a new kingdom as a new humanity with our identity as the Church first and foremost.  I’m sure I’ll write about these things in more detail later, but for now, any ideas?

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7 responses to “Thoughts

  1. wow honey, you’re thinking through all that! I’m kinda nervous… but I love you so much for your wonderful, constantly moving mind that always challenges me and propels me forward in the living out of my faith.

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  2. Great thoughts Emily. I hope you will take these to the discussion tonight and challenge people to brainstorm what trying to live out answers (however imperfectly) might entail.

    PS – I cried a tear when I realized that I have not made your blogroll yet. Gives me something to aspire to I guess!

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  3. Sorry about the blogroll diss, JR, I haven’t updated since I started—-I’m on it!

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  4. Great questions! I’m finding myself equally challenged by reading Jesus for President.

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  5. I love these questions. Wish I had answers or even thoughts that would be characterized as a worthwhile response…

    On 2 points;

    1. I think radically following Christ probably means radically separating from that part of us that is entrenched in a church/state love affair. I think of all of the “patriotic” services I’ve attended at evangelical churches in my life. These were celebrations of America…in the church…and they left my childish mind thinking that America was God’s special, favored country and our wars, his wars – a belief that is not scriptural or akin to God’s nature as an impartial God who sent his son to die for the whole world.

    What would it mean for Christians to show radical love in the way that Christ did – turning the other cheek to our enemies, forgiving them infinitely, never compromising the call to love our neighbors as ourselves? Surely that command is not nullified in the case of wars/military service? If our allegiance is to Christ and his kingdom, it seems clear that this promotes a compromising situation.

    2. On the subject of our children and a performance/right behavior based gospel versus the gospel of grace…I am being so challenged by that right now. I just read Grace-Based Parenting, which was good, and Families Where Grace is in Place, which was even better, and I was literally reeling as they called me out on my own performance-driven way of evaluating myself and others. How do we do this? Interestingly, it comes down to radical love and servanthood, I think. It definitely calls us to a style of parenting that bucks the model most Christians have embraced for a very long time. What does that mean practically? I guess we’ll learn as we go! Interesting stuff though…

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  6. Courtney, you’re practically quoting Jesus for President….you’d love it. I want to read Families Where Grace Is In Place, I heard it’s great. Good thoughts, thanks for sharing. I completely agree with all of them.

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  7. Sarah Christoph

    Hi Emily… great to meet you the other night – and it is so exciting to read your questions above. Instead of listing out my response… I just wanted to say “ditto” to Courtney’s response- great perspective! And as parents we feel the responsibility even more so to establish and pass down a life example that represents Christ to the fullest extent possible- and this too is only by grace. I love the focus on radical love- exploring what it means to be a servant of Christ. It makes me ask, What can I do right now? Today, where ever that is and whatever that looks like for me in the next 24 hours. How can I show grace, true love towards others, and serve someone today? It inspires me to be creative and sponstaneous- to look for opportunities to make someone else’s priority my own. Thank you Emily for asking the important questions!

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