the weblog of Alan Knox

Are we present in the lives of the people around us?

Posted by on Jun 30, 2011 in blog links | 5 comments

Are we present in the lives of the people around us?

Rick at “Dry Creek Chronicles” is an eclectic blogger, meaning he writes about many different things, including his personal life and family. I like that… I’m not that kind of blogger – much – but I like it.

I was recently challenged by his post “Notes on faithful presence” on many levels.

First, many of us consider our lifestyle or life choices as special, unique, perhaps even better than everyone else’s choices. Obviously, we have good reasons for making the choices that we make, but did you know those choices may not be best for others?

Consider what Rick writes in this paragraph:

To me, faithful presence is an anti-movement, or perhaps a way of thinking that helps me avoid attachments to movements. I don’t care much for the terms “biblical agrarianism” or “Christian agrarianism” because I think they unnecessarily spiritualize a certain way of life. I think agrarian society is very good, of a sort that is closely in tune with God’s creation, but it is not in any sense Christian. Agrarianism benefits all people, Christian or otherwise. A Christian is able to drink more deeply of the goodness of agrarian life—but a Christian is able to drink more deeply of the goodness in any way of life, being more in tune with the Source of the goodness.

Then, when Rick gets to the part about “faithful presence,” it gets even gooder:

A good way to describe our current approach to life is faithful presence. We try to live a faithful life in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, and to deal with everyone we meet in that way. We find simplicity a great aid in being able to live that way. But simplicity is not godliness, and godliness is not simplicity.

To me, when we accepted the call to faithful presence (long ago, and unknowingly), we chose to stop talking and studying about what a godly life is, and begin actually living one. Brothers and sisters are the Kingdom of God on earth, and we usher in the Kingdom to the extent that we live according to its precepts. We have learned in the living which precepts are vital and which are peripheral. And we have tried to do it peacefully and quietly, to avoid giving unnecessary offense.

Challenging words, Rick! “Stop talking and studying about what a godly life is, and begin actually living one.”

Yes, and amen.


5 Comments

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  1. 6-30-2011

    Wow, that was a pop in the mouth!

    Wake up call… good post!

  2. 6-30-2011

    Alan,

    I like it! It’s easier to tell others what to do, or how to live, much harder to demonstrate.

    I liked this:”An example of a life well lived is much more powerful than some theoretical discourse on how good life would be if only we would live a certain way.”

    On the other hand, I would like to read how he shares the Gospel message, as Paul said, “ow shall they hear unless someone tells them?”

  3. 6-30-2011

    Alan,

    Thanks for linking to my post. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    Aussiejohn,

    One of my heroes in this is Jim Petersen, Navigators missionary, who wrote three important books on what I would call faithful presence: Living Proof, Church Without Walls, and Lifestyle Discipleship. He recommends simply offering to read through the book of John with skeptics. He writes:

    “This approach to the gospel is so basic and simple. Who is Jesus? Take a look for yourself. If you don’t believe, we understand that. But let’s go to the Bible with this single question in order to research the answer. You don’t accept the Bible? We understand that, too. We begin on this basis—and count on Christ’s superiority to accomplish the rest.”

    I agree with Petersen that it is sufficient to introduce people to Jesus—he will do the rest. The challenge, of course, is to persuade people that you are trustworthy to make the introduction. In most approaches to evangelism I think this doesn’t happen, and at best those who are evangelized find themselves in an environment where Jesus eventually introduces himself to (some of) them.

  4. 6-30-2011

    Alan,

    I want to thank Rick for his response. I’m certainly not disappointed. I also am comfortable with Petersen’s thoughts.

    I’ve learned that there is no formula, or, “one size fits all” approach to sharing the Gospel, and that I’ve often been led in a way that surprises me. Importantly, we cannot supplant the Holy Spirit in the process of convicting and convincing.

  5. 6-30-2011

    Thanks for the discussion here. Unfortunately, I’ve been driving most of the day and don’t have time now to respond to each comment.

    -Alan