Monday, July 19, 2010


Visions and Choices

Dan Edelen wrote a post a while back somewhat lamenting where he was in life. When people commented, he wrote more:
Whenever I write a post that asks whether we Christians in America have succumbed to some sort of lowest common denominator discipleship, I receive responses from people saying that claiming to believe in Jesus while being a good parent, spouse, neighbor, employee, and so on is enough to ensure fulfillment of the requirements of being a true disciple of Christ.

But I struggle with that answer.
Here is the heart of his struggle:
This is why I wonder if being a nice, caring, saved suburbanite who lives, works, and acts exactly like my nice, caring, unsaved, suburbanite neighbors fulfills the greater calling of Jesus.
I think, when phrased that way, I can see Dan's concern, but let us bear in mind that "acts exactly like..." can be a somewhat subtle thing.

A saved suburbanite should take to his/her job with a vigor, humility, and cheerfulness than the unsaved would find hard to muster. There should be (though there is anot really) a large difference in the infidelity statistics between saved suburbanite households and those of the unsaved.

The question is, since there is not such a difference - is it my job to make one? Of course, I can and must in my own household - but the question of responsibility for the greater Christian community is not a duty for every Christian - it's a calling. And the question of calling is highly individualized and thorny.

I cannot speak for Dan or any other person feeling a call, I can only speak for myself. But I can say that the sense of call that I once felt to ministry, I couched in terms and scripture much as Dan did. I had grand visions of advancing God's Word and Kingdom. I pushed and shoved my way into the ministerial fold.

Along the way, one person said to me "John how in the hell can someone getting straight effin' A's in chemistry think he is called to ministry?" That person turned out to be a prophet for hard experience and much pain taught me that my dreams, visions and sense of call were born of my need to be accepted. They were born of my desire to be perceived as a leader, when I was not actually gifted as one.

In my opinion, we should fight whatever sense of call we feel with every fiber of our being. If God is indeed calling it will happen in site of ourselves, and we will along the way have learned the requisite humility. But if we boldly stride into it declaring our calling, chances are good we will be the only ones truly sensing it.

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