"HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?" Francis Schaeffer

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

This post by Jared on thinklings.org really touched me. It's long but I couldn't bare to chop any of it. The "brokenness" pool has no bottom to it. Trust me. JB

What is Left to Say
Posted by Jared @ 7:00 am - permalink

My head is spinning with new thoughts and new ideas and new revelations, because I've been set free for more than a week to actually sit down and talk substantively with brothers in Christ. I don't get that where I live. It is an exhilarating feeling and yet an exhausting feeling to be immersed in real community for a brief period of time -- like getting dunked in freezing water, which can be both thrill and knock the wind out of your lungs.

Here are some thoughts and convictions I have. Most of them have been inspired by conversations I've had with several different men over the last month or so.

1. The churches are broken.
There are lots of reasons for this, and they're not all broken in the same way, but the things the churches are currently doing aren't helping and most of the things the churches are doing to fix themselves don't work.

2. Churchgoers are broken.
And not in the same way all people have been "broken" since the Fall. We're broken in a different way today, and we can't program our way out of this brokenness.
Most of us don't even realize we're broken. We may merely feel restless or empty or unfulfilled, but some of us realize we are (and our church is) broken.

3. I have no idea whether the broken people are making the broken churches or if the broken churches are making broken people.
I tend to think it is a both/and situation. One of those vicious cycles.

4. There is currently no significant place for artistry in the marketplace of Christian literature.
Editors and publishers are talking a good game, but it's just been talk.
I don't know how to fix it, and I'm not sure it can be fixed. Publishers won't publish quality Christian literature because Christian consumers won't buy it, and Christian consumers can't buy it until Christian publishers start publishing it. Another cycle.
Because it's a cycle, I don't see an end in sight.
This does not comfort me as a Christian writer who really doesn't care about being rich and famous, but would like to at least be able to support his family with the few talents God has given him without violating his conscience by purposefully writing drivel because that's all publishers and consumers want.

5. There is a weight to things unsaid.
I'm not just talking about confessing sin. That can be freeing, too, for both confessor and the person being confessed to.
But there are certain things that need to be said and because of what they are and because they've gone so long without being said, they develop a huge weight upon everyone. And when someone finally says it, the burden lifts.
I could give you examples, but I think most of you know what I'm getting at.
There are things that need to be said, and maybe it will take you to say them to whoever they need to be said to. You can't imagine how free this may make you and them. There may be "cleanup" involved, but sometimes just saying the thing can be a HUGE release and relief.

6. Christian husbands and fathers need to get some nads and be the spiritual leaders in their homes.

7. Christian wives and mothers need to stop trying to fill that role.
It will be difficult.
But part of the reason why he's not filling it is because you have usurped it.

8. Back to us men: Part of the reason why she's usurped it is because you dropped the ball.

9. There are a lot of hurting people out there.
I mean, a lot.

10. People even in the most crowded of cities are feeling helpless and lonely. There not alone, but they are desperately lonely. Crisis-mode lonely.
We are thirsting for community.

11. Men need other men to touch them.
More than just a handshake.
A good hug-it-up greeting or just a friendly hand to the shoulder or back can work a divine miracle of comfort for some men.
Trust me on this.

12. It will help if those of you on the receiving end of such touching, even if you didn't really need it, will not jokingly accuse the toucher of being gay or something.
That doesn't help the situation, dude.

13. There are few things better than "doing discipleship" with friends.

14. The body you have right now, even if it is wounded or old or ill or frail or fat or hairy, is still a miracle.
Just as the resurrection of Jesus is the firstfruit of the bodily resurrection those of who have died and will die in Christ await, the bodies we have right now are the firstfruits of our resurrection bodies.
"Spiritual body" in the Bible doesn't mean an intangible body. Our bodies are imperfect and they are winding down, but there's nothing wrong with them.

15. Here's a question one of Blo's friends asked me that I couldn't answer last week.
Q: Would God put a desire in your heart that He has no intention of fulfilling?
A: (then) I don't know. I think one can have a desire that is godly that is nonetheless not put there by God, and so it is not as though God has promised something and then lied about it.
A: (now) No. God will not put a desire in your heart he won't fulfill, but the fulfillment may not be what you expect. The question is flawed because it presupposes we know how God will fulfill the desire.

16. A lot of the desires -- longings, dreams, feelings, loves, values, etc. -- we have now will be really fulfilled in the new earth after the Lord's return.
I'm of the mind now that there actually very few things that actually constitute "fleshly" desires. We just tend to think of them as such because they are "earthy" things and our default position is that earthy, because it is not heavenly, is bad.

17. You are not alone.
How I know this:
I did a post on this site a few weeks back that was basically just a Scripture passage and a quote from somebody. I titled it "For You." At least three people contacted me to thank me for posting that "just for them."
So that's how I know.
You may be literally alone where you are. And obviously your particular problem, situation, or crisis is specific to you and affects you directly.
But, seriously -- you're not alone.
How I know this, Part 2:
I've been talking with about five or six guys in the last month, all in different "problem situations," but each of them has in some way communicated they feel alone. I have communicated the same thing to them about myself, about my own situation.
We are all saying we are alone, but "we" is plural so obviously we are not.

18. We've got to find some way to get all of these Alone People together. ;-)
Seriously, though.

19. We still trust our works to earn favor with God.
We believe intellectually that we are saved entirely by God's grace and not as a result of our works. But we live like we don't really believe that.
When the trust in your works breaks down:
1. Don't panic. It's a natural feeling, and it's actually a good sign that you are growing. Honestly.
2. Remind yourself then to trust in what Jesus did for you. That was the one and only work that really works.

20. When you fall, fall at the feet of Jesus.
When you fail, throw yourself at Him.

21. Legalism and license are equal and opposite reactions to each other.
It usually doesn't help to accuse people of one or the other error. And even if it is true, they are probably like that because they grew up in an environment that specialized in the exact opposite sin.

22. God's love is radical.
But the idea of it has become so familiar to us, we take it for granted.
Nearly every one, especially those into theology, know 1 Corinthians 13, but very few of us actually believe it. We have familiarized it into inconsequence.
But seriously -- if you are the most knowledgeable, orthodox, otherwise spiritually astute Christian in the universe (or even just your local congregation), but don't have love, you suck.
(My paraphrase.)

23. Most of us don't get grace.
Consequently we don't extend it to others, and we don't experience it from others.
Consequently our churches are largely graceless.
We shoot our wounded, and on the other hand we are constantly measuring ourselves and others by impossible standards.

24. It's okay to say "I don't know."
Don't let anyone make you feel like it's not.

25. Twenty-five seems like a good stopping point, although I could go on and on.
Jesus took the sin of the world upon himself and died as sacrifice and rose as victor.
You can enter his kingdom today by repenting of your sin and putting your trust in him and his work for salvation. Believe that Jesus is God's Son and that God raised him from the dead.
Many find it helpful to "announce" such belief in a simple prayer to God. Don't worry about the words. God knows your heart, and he is changing it anyway.

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