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For the wild ones!

My mate Darryl just flicked me an email with a bit of a rant after we spent some time yarning about the infamous “I am not a Christian” article recently. Ive already mentioned the article in passing in this post, and there are some responses there. And so this is especially for those linking from the wild ones blog where darryl posted that rant. Darryl is a great mate who gives me a good kick up the backside every couple of weeks when we hang out, and has being a key voice that has shaped my understanding about what it means to follow Jesus. The crazy thing was that I was not writing this article to provoke, I was trying to point to Jesus as the centre of our conversations, not these labels. It has being good to yarn with the bald headed one and process my surprise about some of the reactions, certainly from a newbee who is only getting used to people being pissed off with him (whereas Darryl is suprised if people are not!). Just a wee excerpt from his email:

"The system and its language aren’t worth the time and energy they take up. I think its time that, Jesus followers, Christians, people of the way, (your choice) start focusing on the real issues. The recent UNOH Surrender conference did this. It focused us on Jesus and therefore indigenous peoples rights, fair trade, mission, micro enterprises among the poor, poverty and our responses to it…. ….and not once did I hear a discussion on terminology! Excellent stuff!"

And as much as I would love to go; “yeah, take that people that thought my article was dumb…” I also felt flippin challenged by what Darryl wrote. I really dont spend enough time thinking about the real issues of what it means to follow Jesus, I don’t care enough, I get really carried away with issues that don’t matter, a lot of my energy, finance and time is spent on myself.

I would love to give a big Justice rant now to justify myself, talk about my history, whats happening with Soul Survivor and some of our initiatives, but I wouldn’t be doing it for the right reasons, I would be doing it to impress (yeah right!) unoh and urban vision workers… so im going to shut up now… But to all those in UNOH and UV, thankyou for making me feel uncomfortable and deeply challenged about the way I live my life. And cheers Darryl for gently rebuking me yet again :)

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“For the wild ones!”

  1. Blogger Gareth Bezett Says:

    "It focused us on Jesus and therefore indigenous peoples rights..."

    There's a debate on terminology in the making.

  2. Blogger em Says:

    Just something this post brought to mind... I think it's important to focus on "who we are" before getting too concerned about "what we do".

    For believers, God is making us into new creatures that live differently than our former selves could live.

    As He changes us into new creatures, our actions and how we address issues will change. Why do our actions change? Let's use a cheesy metaphor -- just like a caterpillar can't fly, a butterfly can't squirm... the butterfly is a totally new creature once it is transformed, and its nature is to fly now. If a caterpillar tried to fly, it would live a pretty futile existence.

    Sometimes we do the same thing by trying to figure out all the good Christian things to "do" instead of dedicating ourselves to God's process of making us "become" something new with an altogether new function.

  3. Blogger Gareth Bezett Says:

    Yes, without some basic understanding of Christianity and a degree of faith to inform our good works are we really doing God's will?

  4. Blogger the ROCK says Says:

    "Sometimes we do the same thing by trying to figure out all the good Christian things to "do" instead of dedicating ourselves to God's process of making us "become" something new with an altogether new function". This sounds quite good but I'm wondering... what is the actual process?? Surely a big part of the process is the 'doing' of the good christian things. Following the command of Christ to love others, care the poor and needy, visit those in prison etc etc.

    Anyways, just my two cents...

  5. Blogger em Says:

    Hey Rock :-)

    The actual process I'm referring to is the Spirit's work in our lives. Obviously, this is coupled with things like study, prayer, and yeah, by our faith having feet by "doing stuff".

    I guess my point is that all-too-often, we try to "fit into the Christian culture by doing the right things without the right motives" Our actions might look good, but they aren't faithful. Does that make sense?

    I used to just do a lot of junk with the church groups, but I only did it to fit in with the group and go along. Once I started seeing that my motivation was simply just to go along with the crowd, I realised that I actually wasn't transformed... I just wanted to get involved. If I was out of the context of that church group, my actions would have been totally different.

    God wants to change us through-and-through that when we're walking down the street and see someone in need, His Spirit motivates us to action. We don't care about whether or not someone sees us or if we're able to share this story with our Christian mates later on to puff us up. We do it because literally, He's made us new... transformed minds, transformed lives. (Rom 12)

  6. Blogger Sam Says:

    This potentially could be a very good discussion about what it is that "makes us new creations". And about the balance between the inward stuff, and the outward activity.
    It has being my experience that I have being more transformed in the process of "doing" and "going" than in some "spritual" (to be very dualistic) or emotional way. I would argue that this IS the Spirits work changing us as we serve, and we are confronted with the call to be faithful, or the tension about where we are at with God, or we are overwhelmed with the needs, and in some mysterious way drawn closer to God through that tension and the questions.
    My thoughts are that the "who we are" is very much shaped by the "what we do". And I would argue that the church (certainly here in NZ, I cannot speak for the states em) is way too inward focussed for the most part...

  7. Anonymous Fi Simpson Says:

    Good on you Sam, for being willing to be challenged and made uncomfortable...sounds like the makings of a wild one to me :-).

    (I went to the Surrender conference, and came to your blog via the Wild Ones site).

    Best prayers and hopes as you continue to grapple with some big issues.