Survival Lesson #9: GET OUT OF THE CAR, GET ONTO THE BIKE.
“Joy, sadness, confidence, anxiety, love, hatred, fear-all of these feelings and thousands more that make up the human “heart” are as useless to the living dead as the organ of the same name. Who knows if this is humanity’s greatest weakness or strength? The debate continues, and probably will forever.”
– Brooks (p.15)
When living at the end of the world, context is everything. With most decisions seeming like life and death, having the correct perspective is always key. Remember that danger is real, but fear is a choice. Knowing this distinction makes all the difference and will keep you focused in the moment. As with church, a shift towards centered living needs to happen. After rethinking diversity and hierarchy, we must lastly, rethink our approach to spirituality. “In our busy, noisy world silence is essential to providing a space so that we might notice and pause long enough to hear God speak” (Schwanda The Transforming Power of Silence in Personal Prayer and Public Worship). Church in the west has become either about ritual or production; one focuses on tradition, the other entertainment. They both incorporate Christ, but neither does so as a focal point. We need a return to the monastic way of being. By monastic, I mean a communal existence exemplified by prayful, contemplation and intentional living that is centered on the teaching of Christ.
The church must return to the heart of the gospel. In this monastic approach, the spiritual disciplines of Christianity have to be revisited: prayer, meditation, fasting, and living communally with one another. Embracing these practices moves the church from being an institution into being a social movement. It also clears space in our lives for God to speak and move. Living in the post-Christian nation, we are called to live intentionally and act different. “This new way embodies “the never-ending interplay of repentance and remembrance, condemnation and celebration, proclamation and practice” (Ramachandra Faiths in Conflict? p. 171).
As we look at the beginnings of our church plant, all of our actions will be grounded in these disciplines. It is in this place where we submit ourselves to the Lord and commit our lives to one another in community. It is in this place where we will live out the incarnational reality of Christ. I believe that this is a starting place for transformation. “We need to become people who work as if it all depends of God – because it does, and because that is the best possible news” (Crouch Culture Making p.99).