Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical

[Wednesday] Beginnings 10: How Can I Make a Life and Not Just a Living?

the reading:

The reading opens with Luke 18:18-23.  This same story is told in Matthew 19:16-22, and both times Jesus' "Why are you calling me 'good'?  Only God is good" throws me.


The chapter is basically what one would expect.  We have come to equate a "good life" with one filled with material goods and other such, but this leaves us feeling unfulfilled.  Living a life with meaning means "living a life permeated by Christian virtues and practices" (p. 159); try to be as Jesus would.  Talk about early Christianity in the Greco-Roman world... examples of compassion to those in need... impressively good figures throughout Christian history.

"Through the ages Christians have trued to be good by . . .  .  Most of these ways of living good lives are not options for us" (p. 161).
    This bothered me because while certain specific examples no longer exist (kinda hard to be a martyr in a Roman coliseum nowadays) for the most part we just don't want to make the choice to go be like Mother Teresa or whatever.  And no, not everyone is called to do that (though one could argue that all Christians are in fact called to give up everything to the poor, etc.) but whatever happened to the idea that Christianity is supposed to challenge you?  To move you out of your comfort zone?

"To follow Jesus Christ means that we fundamentally change how we orient our lives. ...  Jesus tells us to put God and other people at the center of the universe and to let every aspect of our lives revolve around our Creator and our neighbor" (p. 164).
    My initial response is to love this articulation, though my immediately following response is to see how it could be twisted into something very unhealthy.

Problems with WWJD: Jesus did not directly address many of the modern issues we face.  We cannot be Jesus; "We each have our own journey and our own way of following Jesus Christ" (p. 164).

Love is not a feeling but "a way of living, a way of doing, a way of acting" (p. 164).  This reminded me of Toby talking about "in love" and "in run."

"In the Christian life, we cannot separate our faith from our daily life and relationships" (p. 165).  This reminded me of something I was recently lamenting with...Ari?...about how I expect so much from people who claim to live Christ-centered lives and how they so disappoint me.

Talking about the Sabbath: "On this day of rest, we read our Bibles to hear God speaking to us, pray so that we may speak with God, talk with family members and friends, gather with other Christians, refrain from everyday work, and generally refocus ourselves to pay attention to God" (p. 165).
    Ha!  How many people do you know who treat Sundays like that?  (Sidenote: I was reminded of Lauren Winner's Mudhouse Sabbath.)
    However, I have long thought that truly observing the Sabbath would be a very valuable practice.  And reading this reminded me of how for Lent I add theological engagement stuff to my life and how doing a daily poem means I end up cramming in lots of reading each day and not reading them like one should and how this is counter to the way Lent is supposed to be -- spiritual meditation and thoughtfulness and all that.

Put God first, even at the expense of your own life... importance of serving... self-love is important... non-violence and justice... be attentive to God's presence; relationship with Jesus Christ.

the video:

In the video, Rob opened with the fact that the #1 feeling reported among well-educated people is dissatisfaction.  I immediately began thinking about social justice, though in this context the point was that we have been taught to constantly want more.

He talked about these weeklong mission trips he would do with teenagers, where they would go to Louisiana and get up early to go work in the fields and many of the teenagers would get up even earlier to take a shower etc. because they were so concerned about their appearance, about how they presented themselves to people, but a half an hour working in the sun and you're melted and any makeup makes you look like Alice Cooper so after just one or two days everyone was wearing simple clothes and pulling their hair back with do-rags &etc. and how they formed deep friendships.

Butch, the woodworker from the previous video, the first day he came to their church, they were organizing people to go out to help in some place north of the city, so it was like, "Okay, here are your marching orders, now go," and later he said to Rob, "Usually churches are trying to get me to stay, to join.  I've never had a church tell me to leave.  I think I wanna stay and be a part of this."

"I dreamed that life was joy.  I awoke and found that life was service.  I served and found that service was joy."

the discussion:

Per usual, we split into two groups for better discussion.  This time, instead of doing discussion possibly riffing off of pre-created discussion questions, we actually did stuff based on entire accompanying worksheets.

Divide your small group into two teams.  The first team will advocate "the good life" as defined by people in your grandparents' generation.  The second team will advocate "the good life" as defined by your own generation.  At the end of the debate, discuss which generation is more or less satisfied by their answers.

Basically we just talked about what defined "the good life" for each generation in our subgroups and then we reconvened and basically said "this generation is materialistic and sucky, and o the simple good old days."  It wasn't quite horrendous -- which almost made it worse 'cause there wasn't anything really egregious where I could pipe up and counter.  So basically I thought it was lame 'cause nothing new was said, people weren't challenged in any way.

The other group chose to skip ahead to the "Who or what is in control of your life now?"  Which personally I think makes for better discussion.

The given list was:
_ to-do list
_ your PDA
_ your e-mail inbox
_ your children
_ your 401K or pension plan
_ an ex-friend
_ your career
_ your money and possessions
_ God

The worksheet also mentions Rob's statement from the video: "We are seeking to full our lives with other things rather than the one thing that was made to fulfill us."

We didn't even get to a later bit: "Who has modeled an authentic, joyful life for you?  What makes this person special?"
Tags: church: fccn: beginnings

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