Have you ever gone on a walk, just to walk, to wander, what my granddaddy would have called ‘meandering’? When you set out, you don’t have a destination in mind but while you are walking and paying close attention to all that is around you, you realize you’ve been paying extra attention to the texture of the path, or the cloud formations, or the butterflies? You didn’t intend to focus in on this thing, but you are so glad that you have done so and now you want to design more walks just to continue to explore what had gained your primary attention. Do you know what I mean?
One of the (many) things I’ve come to learn more deeply in the journey of this past year is how everything we experience in life, whether good or bad, simple or complicated, helps prepare us for something else. We all know that life isn’t just a series of isolated incidents but a continuous journey on which we are always experiencing, learning, and observing new (even if we try to fool ourselves that we can live life in various silos). I think this is why Jesus used the invitation “Follow me” instead of something like “be with me” or “join me.”
What I’ve been noticing most is how much of our collective life is a mixed up casserole of societal ideologies and theology. We’ve selected what we like from Jesus’ teachings and from our culture and society and made our own ideological framework. We fit in the stuff from Jesus that suits us rather than letting the life of Jesus transform us into a new people. Dietrich Bonhoeffer calls it ‘cheep grace.’ Lisa Sharon Harper calls it ‘thin theology.’
Sometimes clouds bring a storm, rocks trip you up, and butterflies get caught in spider’s webs. Beauty is not without danger, growth requires discomfort and pain. Jesus says we must die to ourselves in order to live the life we are created for. Teasing out from our hearts and minds what is from Jesus and what is from our culture is difficult and painful, and, yes, very, very necessary work. It is rewarding and freeing and joyful work on the journey of discovering who and Whose we are as God’s beloved children.
I’m going to do my best to begin to articulate this journey of teasing apart Jesus’ teachings from the societal and cultural ideological yokes that I have taken on. My most recent Tuesday posts about Oversharing on social Media and Finding our Identity are part of this writing. I hope and pray that my words are good and useful and kind and that they enable us to journey together.
Together, with God’s help, we will be re-membered as the children of God we are created to be. And, I hope you are willing to share your thoughts and your journey with me.
God’s peace, my friends.