My Recent Call to Prayer

I’ve recently begun reading “The Emergent Manifesto of Hope” … part of an attempt to return to the life of contemplation that I once knew to be exciting and moving. And I can’t quite put of finger on it, but somehow, as I was reading tonight, my thoughts were taken to the students that I have worked with over the years and some of the frustrations that I’ve experienced since becoming a church staff member. *This will come across as harsh … it is a generalizations and is not applicable to all of the students whom I know … but it makes more sense to me than anything else I can come up with … The attitude seems to be this: “My religion is not a significant enough part of my life that I would venture into the difficult questions that it inevitably brings to the surface … nor is it significant enough to truly affect who I am beyond what is culturally required of me so that I can maintain inclusion in the desired religious stereotype. I will go to the ministry functions and I will say the things religious people say, and I will even do the less demanding acts of service … I will sing songs and I will be encouraged by the “grace” of Jesus and I will take notes during sermons so that I may have a better language with which to convince people that I am a follower of Jesus … but I will not actually endeavor to follow Him. That would often be uncomfortable and I don’t really have the time to just follow this guy around. So in an effort to avoid feeling guilty, I will skirt the hard questions … I will never get too offended or angry … I will never disagree with the authorities too strongly; but I will never get too excited or passionate either. I will enjoy the luke-warmness that American Christianity has offered its adherents.” What happened to people who would get amped up about their system of faith? … it actually seemed to matter to them … though there were often misguided passions and uninformed proclamations, at least there was passion; at least people took enough of Jesus’ message seriously to proclaim what they believed to be truth to the world. I am at a loss here … and that is probably a good thing. I have in the distant and the near past been guilty of each and every thing that I just whined about others being guilty of. And in reality, part of my whining is probably tied to the fact that people who have the attitude transcribed above make me feel like a failure and I don’t like feeling that way. But that isn’t it. I am also passionate about the church becoming the Church. I am passionate about seeing the people who believe that Jesus died for their sins begin to also believe that Jesus was and is God; that He physically, spiritually, and emotionally healed people; that He wasn’t lying when he said “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” … that Jesus came to this earth on a mission and that if we want to be able to say with integrity that we are following, or even seeking to follow Jesus than we had better join in. … And there is absolutely nothing that I can do to make this happen outside of asking the One who makes things grow to use our meager attempts to till soil; to plant and water seeds. Jesus- Will you re-ignite the passion that once burned in all of us for You? But don’t stop there. Lead us, guide us, help us to understand what it means to have this passion for You, that our efforts may not be misguided. And when they are, we pray that You would capture those efforts to use for Your glory, the advancement of Your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. God save us!

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~ by Will Norman on November 20, 2007.

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