Saturday, February 23, 2008

Augustine


Well, it is week two for me so far. I really enjoy the meetings we have every Saturday. It is always good to spend time with believers, but there is always great encouragement, at least for me, that comes from those meetings. We talked about respect a little bit and treating others with kindness even when they do not do the same. This made me come to look into the inner-workings of true discipleship towards Christ and why it is important.

It often bothers me when people look down upon Christianity and saying that it is simply wasted time spent on dead rituals and foolish guilt over irrelevant codes and laws. The reality of the situation, though is that Christianity is incredibly logical. When juxtaposed next to living in the "real world", the way that most live seems both irrational and amazingly hindering towards progress. The very thought of turning the other cheek or returning and insult not with another insult or even annoyance but instead with love seems weak, foolish, and even blasphemous in our day and age of "I should get what I deserve" American, no, Worldly attitude (for it transcends the shores of the shining seas, though it is very strong here). We are bred to get what we want. It is the essence of our nature; the core of our values. Our indoctrination is evident in nearly every facet of society, even, sadly in our churches. The anthem that has rang throughout the ages, regardless of culture, environment, or race: "It is about ME." This is is not a concept limited to this world, however. It existed before time and space did. It is the eternal struggle of choosing the creator's or the creation's will. This is where the tension comes from; by choosing the way that we think things should go versus how God designed things to go.

And so Christianity is not the one that is "off" in the mindset. From Eden the world was going the wrong way, and Jesus came here to fix it. To show the correct way that God intended us to live. His teachings seem so radical to us not because they are outlandish or unattainable, but because we have been engineered to think a certain way, and those teachings go against that grain. It is a constant struggle of choosing him over ourselves; giving up trying to find ourselves and starting to get to know him. Dietrich Bonhoeffer poignantly displayed this concept in one of his Letters and Papers from Prison:

"I often wonder who I really am... What does one's attitude mean, anyway? In short, I know less than ever about myself, and I am no longer attaching any importance to it. I have had more than enough psychology, and I am less and less inclined to analyze the state of my soul... There is something more at stake than self-knowledge."
pg 89-90

I truly believe that this is the nature of this whole experiment. I encourage all who read this to look into their lives and see where their dependence lies.

"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection..." -Phillipians 3:10

4 comments:

heavy duty said...

I am thrilled with the "Totally Dependent" concept....a true teaching of Jesus Christ. Outside of Christ we truly can do nothing.
May God empower each of you to follow thru with your commitment to HIM.
In the name above all names,

Beastlyone said...

Nice Bonhoeffer quote! I am always amazed at how such "old" statements can be filled with such current wisdom. Not matter how we change the terms, we are ultimately obsessed with "finding ourselves". I love the Messages translation of Matthew 16:24-26 - Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?

Terry Rush said...

Augustine,

Bonhoeffer was okay, but Charlie Brown had some doozies, too. I cheer you on....keep letting the new life unfold. It never stops!

Charge!

Jenni said...

Great points! Did you realize that Christianity is the only religion that teaches HOW to live instead of how NOT to live?

Think of the 10 commandments: "Thou shalt not..."
Or the Bhuddist philosophy: "Do not increase suffering."
Instead Jesus told his followers to: Love, Pray, and DO unto others.
(all positives, no negatives)

Christianity is a unique religion, it is truely the ONE WAY.