Be Still And Know
It starts with Brad's curiosity as to how Wayne sorts out what he's doing any given day, and that combined with an email about being driven by purpose, leads to a larger discussion about finding our freedom in God's leading and not trying to feed our insecurities. Most of our bad doctrines result from finding a security blanket that soothes our angst with an illusion of godliness, but circumvents the real way God wants to work in our hearts. Driven people end up busy people often masking their own fears with their myriad of activities. Learning to live inside God's nudgings requires us to think differently than we've been encouraged to live in this world, but embracing the stillness that allows us to hear God is at the heart of conquering our insecurities and living as freely as he wants us to live.
The Ongoing Challenges in Kenyaикони на светци
The name of the book you mentioned in the podcast—-something about the history of the popes????
Hi Fran. The books I read about about the Roman Empire and the Popes are listed on the Rome podcast page: http: //thegodjourney.com/2011/07/22/the-dream-of-gods-community/
One of those had the critique of Wesley? Growing up as a Christian in the Nazarene church had a profound effect on my outlook on life. It is interesting to hear of someone who doesn’t hang on every word Wesley said.
Opps! I thought you meant the book on the popes. Sorry. The one about Wesley’s theology was:
Alister McGrath’s book Iustitia Dei.
This was a great, great discussion Wayne and Brad.
In college I got involved with a very evangelical, non-denominational group (“movement”… yechh) that really pushed the notion of perfecting self through self effort. It wasn’t phrased that way and mouthed all the words about grace through faith, not by works etc… but this idea of being a revolutionary for Christ, on the cutting edge of reaching the world, “every nation in our generation” was the motto (and we actually had a theme song to match… very catchy actually…). Ahem. Wesley was very revered figure during that time. And even after college, I subscribed to the evangelical “Pursuit of Holiness” and “the Practice of Godliness” that put me under alot of condemnation and pressure and guilt over whether I was being a good christian or not, but i never questioned it because, as you guys pointed out, it seemed so… godly. Talk about gratefully disillusioned. It’s been 5 years but I would never go back.
I am coming to see that one of the main corruptions of this world is our compulsion to try to control others. This seems to be the driving force behind religious performance and all sorts of evils in the world. Why isn’t it enough for us to walk with Jesus and help others as he directs? Why do we feel like we have to change people around us, by force (i.e. shame, rejection, intimidation, doctrines, rules, laws, even violence) if they resist? I guess that’s rhetorical.
Like Glen, I majored in one of those groups while in college and eventually joined their staff full time for about 5 years. There was a mixture of motives going on. On the one hand, I had a legitimate desire to see others find Christ and learn to walk with Him. On the other hand, plugging in and becoming a leader in a revolution provided a great way to wrap myself in my own set of fig leaves. I later realized I was attempting to cover my shame through recognition as a spiritual giant, which was accomplished by all the activities in my life. What I see too often today is men and women trying to create a “following”, again partly with good motives and partly with bad. The larger the following, the more recognition we get. I find myself seeking this too from time to time.
Unlike Wayne, my journey away from religion has taken more than 2 years. I’m in my 3rd or 4th year, and it is still difficult to simply walk with Him day by day and not pursue creating some ministry I can wrap around myself. But I know this is the right track. I know I am loved and that my place in His kingdom in something He has written from before the foundation of the world, so I press on by faith.
Glen, thank you so much for your 2nd paragraph….i share this observation and especially how it affects children….not so rhetorical but a sad reality…..there is no fear in love.
Glen…. you are getting sleeper and sleeper… very sleepy… now reach into your pocket, into your wallet and give me your tithe, oops I mean seed offering….
Wesley has been one of my heroes – and I don’t want to underestimate what God did achieve through this movement at this time. Certainly a key part was going to people that no one else was going to, sharing the good new of Jesus with them and telling them they were included too.
Listening to your podcast gives a new slant for me to the fact that they were called “Methodists” because they were very “methodical” in following up their converts. I guess I had just celebrated their actions in requiring people to be part of their “holiness classes” and sending around their lay “circuit riders” to encourage people in following Jesus.
One thing I had picked up is that because they were so methodical their converts and the movement lasted much longer than other revivals before or since.
Your comments today [and I would be interested in some details of the particular 5 points the writer was raising about the Methodist/Pietist movement] gel with me – they click.
I don’t want to throw out the baby with the bathwater – there was much good fruit from that work – and it still has many good impacts even today. BUT I can also see the flaws.
I have actually come out of a congregation with a Methodist history and definitely has its good points and its bad points. It has become very structure based “once the structure is right then everything will work right” – relationship that had been built up with people around that area were totally discounted and sacrificed to go build a proper – very top down, man led structure. Very sad.
Of course God has not stopped working! He is a loving Father. We are still following Him – with much greater freedom than before. But now the journey has a much simpler and far less “methodical” shape.
Jim: I hear and obeyyyyyyyyyyyyy masssssssssssster….
Nancy, I think you have hit on it: at the root of our compulsion to control others is fear. We fear for our children (and for our own reputations) so we control them in all sorts of unhealthy ways. We fear for our security so we manipulate people and situations to get that promotion or recognition. We fear that the congregation will get bored with our meetings or find some other place that is doing something more exciting and we will be left without our “ministry” so we try to control people by telling them how much they need us, how they need to sacrifice to put on that mega service with all the bells and whistles every week.
As Papa starts to win us over to trust him, those fears just lose their power and that need to control and strive loses its appeal. Yay God.
Thanks Glen and Nancy for your observations. Sometimes I want to yell “Hey! I want my fear to disappear faster!!! ” : ) Then I see how Father wins us (not coerces us) into His love. The character of Jesus is becoming clearer and more real and how exciting to see that fear and angst begin to lay down. It changes the way we relate to others as well. Richard…I get where you’re coming from too b/c of my very “performance oriented” religous background. There were some things that were good….it’s freeing to see that I don’t need to condemn the “whole lot” while at the same time my need to be validated in that “performance” way is shrinking. I find the privilege of demonstrating the love of Christ to them…there’s freedom slowly growing in that b/c love is always more attractive than manipulative hostility.
Every once in awhile, that old fear creeps in, that I’m not ”doing” anything for God. That I some how must work God into every conversation I have with people or God will be disappointed with me. I’m handling it better in the past year or so, when I’m not operating in that mindset, it is so freeing. Somethings are harder to let go than others. This website and everyone here are such a blessing, to find others on the same journey I am
Our Job is Not to Row Our Boat; Our Job is to Unfurl Our Sails!
I have been thinking (and praying!) for many years into the question “What’s my part and what’s God’s part?”. This podcast catalyzed some thoughts that I captured in this piece last week:
How many of us view the Christian life as a voyage that we must undertake through our own power? There is a destination we have to reach, so we jump in our boat and start rowing. We have an idea of what we have to do, so we embark with determination and vigor. We have a vision of the positive attitudes we have to hold in order to reach our goal, so we bolster our confidence with self-affirmation that “we can do it”. I want to consider for a moment that this mindset could be labeled “Be-having”. Our efforts and our focus are upon our identity as people who have acceptable actions and behavior.
There is another way to embark on the voyage of the Christian life! It is the way of leaving behind our own efforts at movement, but looking to a source outside ourselves for the power to get underway and on our journey. It is the way of leaving our efforts at self-propulsion. It is the way of leaving our self-determination. It is the way of leaving our exercises of self-affirmation. I want to consider for a moment that this mindset could be labeled “Be-leaving”.
But here is where a crucial distinction appears: Be-leaving is not the simple inaction of passivity, sitting idly, and waiting for someone to pull our boat along. Believing is when we set aside our own efforts and unfurl our sails in expectation and confident hope that the wind of the Spirit will fill them with His unseen power! Imagine the quiet, unseen wind before the sails of a ship are unfurled. It may appear that there is no wind! Yet, once the sails are unfurled, there is a snap and a pop as they fill with the power of the wind and then there is the creak of the mast and the sound of water beginning to rush past the hull of the boat.
One challenge presented by this metaphor about the boat’s mode of propulsion is whether the wind of the Spirit will be there to move us along our journey. Will that unseen Spirit, “who moves and blows as He wills”, be there to propel me and fill me and direct me and support me if I put my hope in His action towards me? When I declare to myself and the world “I will not go without you!”, what if He doesn’t show up? What if, after casting myself upon Him for His comfort, He doesn’t move on my behalf and produce the work that only He can do in my life? What if the substance that I am hoping for through His activity in my life isn’t produced because He leaves me alone? Thinking along these lines shines a new light on faith! Can we see that Faith can be our expression of trust and reliance upon God to be our source, to fill us with the joy of fellowship in His Spirit, to thrill us with the experience of participation in the love being shared among the Father, Son, and Spirit? Can we believe in this way, this way of leaving to Him the job of filling our sails? Our expression of faith can be our act of looking expectantly to Him, this way of leaving behind all our other loves and making Him our sole hope for wholeness.
Think about how these ideas can move us into considerations for actions that are not focused upon producing behavioral changes but instead upon action that is focused upon producing a posture in our hearts to be responsive and available, like the sails of the ship, to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. What does He say to us? What questions does He ask and how does His comfort reach our hearts so it truly impacts us and buoys our spirits?
The Apostle John, in his first letter, gives voice to an anointing in which all can participate, an anointing through which the Spirit speaks to each individually. I think we should be fellowshipping together our experience of how the Spirit speaks to us in His directive, supportive role, so we can all grow in our capacity to participate with Him.
The title of this podcast is “Be Still and Know”. I really want to put to rest the clamorings of my own efforts. I want to calmly trust in God’s good initiative towards me. And I want to know, to deeply and broadly know, that peace which passes all understanding because I am known deeply by my Father and because He has invited me into brotherly companionship with His Son, and my lord, Jesus.
The other challenge presented by the metaphor of the boat and the unfurling of its sails is how we practically engage in what we are describing in the metaphor. That’s for another post!
So yes, I am about a year late to this comment thread but I just wanted to say that these comments have blessed my heart so much this Sunday as I read them. I am finally OUT of my religious performance system. But it’s only been about a month and the doubts / fears are loud, epecially the doing for God, as Sue Ann mentioned. David, what a blessing to hear your revelation, thank you! Just lovely! Father has been talking to me about BE- coming. As in, He is most interested in my “being” in Him, not my doing for Him and all I have “to do” is come along with the Spirit as He blows each day. (The wind analogy of John 3 makes so much sense for the first time in my life!) Anyway, this be-coming will result in my becoming what my heart longs for most, to be like Jesus, fully myself as He intended me to be, not the way I should, could, would be by the ways of the systems of men or of myself. He is the Way, there is no right way to do “being a Christian”, as I had previously thought I could find. I have found that I already was found! Many thanks for sharing a long time ago – it was prefect timing for me. Love the God journey – what a life line in this lonely season.