Please note that the title of this post is “Challenging excerpts”, not “Challenging experts”. I read it wrong myself at first. I realize that this post will be longer than usual for my midday posts, but I wanted to include all of these quotes from other blogs. Thursday evening – when I wrote this – I read these quotes again, and continue to be challenged by them.
The first excerpt is from Ray Ortlund from “Christ is Deeper Still” from a post called “Truly Reformed“. You may have seen this already, because it is winding its way around the internet. Perhaps you are not reformed. Fine. Replace the word “reformed” below with whatever label you use to identify yourself:
My Reformed friend, can you move among other Christian groups and really enjoy them? Do you admire them? Even if you disagree with them in some ways, do you learn from them? What is the emotional tilt of your heart â€“ toward them or away from them? If your Reformed theology has morphed functionally into Galatian sociology, the remedy is not to abandon your Reformed theology. The remedy is to take your Reformed theology to a deeper level. Let it reduce you to Jesus only. Let it humble you. Let this gracious doctrine make you a fun person to be around. The proof that we are Reformed will be all the wonderful Christians we discover around us who are not Reformed. Amazing people. Heroic people. Blood-bought people. People with whom we are eternally one â€“ in Christ alone.
The next excerpt is from Dave Black. He wrote this as he was contemplating the book that he was writing on the topic of discipleship. You’ll find it posted on Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 8:24 pm:
Who am I? That’s a silly question to be asking! But I’m writing the preface to my book on discipleship so the topic has come up, at least in my own mind. Am I a conservative or a liberal, right-wing or left? Though my theology is conservative, I’ve learned much from my brothers and sisters on both ends of the evangelical spectrum. Some of my friends think only about Israel, others only about Palestine. Some complain about the 3,000 unborn who are killed every day in America, while others focus almost exclusively on the 30,000 children who die of starvation every day in the world. I see no need reason to establish boundaries of love. If we mourn the loss of 4,000 U.S. service personnel in Iraq (as we should), we must also mourn with the same outrage and passion the life of every innocent Iraqi civilian who was lost. Some evangelicals believe that right-wing politics hangs the moon; others support the liberal left. I pledge my allegiance to neither. Folks, I just want to be a Christian — a simple, radical, marginal, downwardly-mobile follower of Jesus. There’s nothing unique or spectacular about being a Jesus-follower. You just remember that God’s love is borderless. You just declare the Good News to the poor, as He taught us to do. And it all happens through relationships, not programs or organizations. And here’s something strange: I am learning to fall in love with people and not just ideas. And I love ideas! Crazy people like Jim Elliott are finally beginning to make sense to me. I’m learning how to reprioritize my values and resources. Just think — the average American consumes as much as 520 Ethiopians do. Can we do anything about it? You bet! Because of our website Becky and I receive gifts for reading glasses and protein bars and pre-natal vitamins Bibles and meeting houses and evangelists’ salaries and equipment to show the Jesus Film with and food to feed hungry prisoners and on and on the list goes. No fancy organization, no 501 c(3), no overhead, no bureaucracy, no HQ. Just Jesus-people connecting with Jesus-people.
Man, am I becoming a Jesus Freak again like I was in the 60s?!!
The final excerpt is from Cindy at “run with it” from a post called “various disjointed observations from my week“. Since Cindy is a fellow Alabamian, I knew I would like what she wrote. In this excerpt, she begins by talking about taking her daughter to tennis camp:
I was struck today by a remarkable experience in polarities. The tennis camp is held at an exclusive private school. It’s the kind of place that makes me wonder if my t-shirt is on backwards or if my socks match. Where the moms wear designer shorts and high heeled sandals (making me curious as to why they require such fashion to cart kids around on a 95 degree day in the middle of July). I have worried a lot this week that my daughter would feel out of place or be ostracized by elitist little kids in coordinated tennis outfits. (she has done great, btw- she has an inherent ability to find the genuine kids in a crowd of strangers. I should and will give her more credit!)
Today, immediately after leaving her at the school (and taking a deep breath of relief), i took some items to goodwill. The man who opened the door to receive my donation was the epitome of quiet humility. He spoke softly, was so appreciative of our cast off things that I felt ashamed, and sent me off with a blessing. As I drove away I couldn’t help but consider how much more at ease I felt at Goodwill- a place of need- than at the school- a place of wealth. Peace was to be found in the place of need rather than the place of wealth. Given a choice of which place I’d rather spend a day- there would be no question.
I hope these excerpts (experts?) challenged and encouraged you as much as they did me. Now, the question remains, will it make a difference in how we live our lives?