Walk, but what then??

Category: , By Christian
Willow Creek Community Church has a sermon series available to churches called Just Walk Across the Room. It is a campaign to encourage Christians to step outside of their comfort zones and share their faith with their friends. Our church is currently going through the series, which is my first experience with the material.

After yesterday's sermon however, I left wondering if the series is asking the wrong question. At it's basic level, it's asking if we are ready to go across the room and share our stories of faith with others. That's fine and dandy, but what if a lot of Christians have really sucky and uncompelling stories? What if God has invited us to participate in larger and more profound stories but we have been content to live in small stories that aren't all that moving.

What makes a good story? Tension. Plot shifts. Words and actions that are unexpected.

Look at the way Jesus and his disciples interacted. The ministry of Jesus was counter cultural and risky. It risked social status, it risked Jesus' personal safety and it risked upending what just about everybody wanted from a savior. It invited people into a whole new way of life. The reason so many Jesus movies are boring is that they don't address much of this stuff. They reduce Jesus to this soft-spoken man who gently preached sermons and flashed infomercial smiles. Whatever. Jesus lived life. He expected his disciples to live life. He expects us to live life.

At the beginning of Luke 10, Jesus sends out 70 disciples. He doesn't tell them to go to their friends and share their faith. He tells them to take nothing with them, go from town to town and spread a message of peace. He tells them that the work will be hard and that they might not be met with reciprocal feelings of peace. Honestly, I think the process was as much for the disciples as it was for the towns they were visiting. I'm sure they had days when they didn't know if they would be able to eat or have a place to stay, but then experienced God's provision. Not because they had an American Express Black Card, but because they had nothing and so anything they were given was obviously a gift from God. It was an exercise in trust. That's pretty hardcore.

The difference between what Jesus is calling us to do in walking and what we do now is that currently Christians are really interested in being safe. A lot of Christians live and worship in places that are not risky. They move out of dangerous parts of town into stable and homogeneous populations that have the appearance of stability. They seek convenience and comfort. Honestly, how do you expect to do justice and love the poor when everyone in your community is stable and self-sufficient. It's possible, because I work with people who do it but it's hard and a lot of us don't do what is necessary to make this concept a reality in our lives.

And so our lives are so antiseptic that our goal is to simply move out of our comfort zones and walk across the room to talk to people. Fine. But I think a better encouragement would be to walk across the room and live life. Instead of having a conversation that takes me out of my comfort zone, maybe I should be living a life that takes me out of my comfort zone. Because when I do that, I'm relying on God. The story of my faith becomes a story that is compelling and has a lot more to do with God sustaining me and giving me space to live than it does with the trite things we usually talk about when it comes to our spirituality and our relationship with God.

Fair Dinkum

2 comments so far.

  1. adam paul 1:45 PM
    i was there sunday morning.
    middle school then 3rd service.
    i didnt see you. bummer.

    i was curious as to where the motivation for walking across the room was coming from myself. you mentioned it in the last paragraph somewhat in regards to living a life that takes you out of your comfort zone. i felt like a large part of it was focused on our actions as opposed to our heart - we should be living a life that makes us LONG to 'just walk across the room' - we shouldn't have to tell ourselves that we need to - it ought to be second nature i think.

    ps. megan has a boyfriend....sigh.
  2. adam paul 2:07 AM
    ps. how'd you do the 'currently reading' deal? thats tight.

Something to say?