Thanks to Jason and the rest of the Infocus team for giving me the opportunity to write over the next twelve weeks. I’m excited about sharing what I have been reading and reflecting on with particular attention to the purpose of the blog – “Our purpose is to develop the Australian blogosphere, to cultivate serious and useful discussion, and to develop a generation of readers, thinkers, and theologians.”
PS – Forgive me… I use dashes a lot in this form of writing because I write it like a normal conversation.
John Adams, second President of the United States, once said: “I must study politics and war, that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy, natural history and naval architecture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, tapestry, and porcelain.”
There can be no doubt that we are living in a generation when our children have the “right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, tapestry, and porcelain.” Contextually, our children have the freedom to study the Internet, entertainment, sports, and retail therapy (otherwise known as shopping). In this time of unprecedented freedom and opportunity – why are we creating so little at the grassroots level of our Christian communities? Here’s a few ideas which could be causing the inertia:
The accessibility of quality Christian resources and trustworthy authors. Last year, I wrote a few posts on the exhaustive availability of Christian resources and powerful voices within the Christian community (for example – you can access the majority of John Piper’s work for free on the web). Just so that there is no confusion – I think that access to resources and authors is a wonderful thing for the Christian community. However, I also think that there is a tendency to exchange the inductive study of the Biblical text for an excellent resource on the Christian life. Church history is no stranger to this concept – that’s why we define contentious issues using personalities (Luther vs. Zwingli) instead of actual Bible texts.
Fixation with the “little things” in life. Apparently, you can go to places in South-East Asia and have little fish eat away the dead skin on your feet. A lot of our day is spent with the little fish – not the big ideas of the spiritual life. We need to be able to trace our daily spiritual disciplines to a broader picture of God. When we start to make the connections between the unchangeable Word and our daily context and relationships then we are ready to articulate how God is working for the benefit of others.
The lack of interest or motivation. Perhaps this is the most common threat to our ability to create – we just don’t want to. Have you ever talked to someone who is obsessed about something? Think about a car enthusiast who actually uses the pricey V-Power fuel or a girl preparing to get married. If you’re interested in something – it just bubbles out of you! In our spiritual life, we can start with the people who are closest to us. Let’s share what God is doing with our families and with our co-workers.
In summary, let’s spend more time exploring the Bible in a strategic, whole-hearted fashion leading to a panoramic vision of God and His work. And let’s get excited about what we are learning – by the same definition that Phillip Brooks used for preaching, “truth – through personality.”