Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dad's musings....

With explicit permission from the original author, I post my dad's thoughts here:
(this may be the best post on my blog!!!)

Good morning, I hope no one else is up and that you are all warm and comfortable in your beds. I will go back there soon. I have decided I like this retirement stuff -- I can sleep when I want and I have extra time for reading and writing and, occasionally, thinking. I do have some thoughts that I want to offer that seem to me to relate to our ongoing discussion about pathways to discipleship. I have been thinking about my arrogance, self-satisfaction, and self-righteousness. I am too often pleased with the amount of time that I spend in prayer, and, even though it may be much less than the time that you spend in prayer, I am sure it is much more than most folks. I am pretty satisfied with the amount of time that I spend in worship -- corporate and individual (even in writing this I can't keep a straight face). I am so good about the amount of time that I have for Bible study and devotion and I am oh so knowledgeable (I'm laughing). I reason that God wants me and us to be doing these things and that God is pleased when we do them. So if I am doing what God wants and doing them more than most folks, of course, I must be better than most folks -- that makes sense to me. And while I know that's not quite how it works, it is hard to get away from that logic. But then I have been thinking about Caddy's comments in his sermon this last week about grace and Jesus' turning things upside down and God's laughing even while we are confounded. Perhaps I should think of prayer, worship, study, devotion, service, and giving more along the lines of participating in the party. [I'm not suggesting that this is what Caddy was saying, only a tangent I am following.] If I go to more parties than Bill, am I better than Bill? Of course, not! If I laugh more regularly than Carole, am I better than Carole? No. If I get to dance more often than Travis, am I better than Travis? Again, no. Those acts of discipleship that bring me closer in relationship to God and to doing the ministries that God calls me to do do not make me better, just more fortunate, more blessed, more purpose filled, more alive. As we work to define the pathways to discipleship and then seek to explain those pathways to the congregation, we might be more effective if we describe discipleship not in terms of accomplishing more than we accomplish now or more than someone else, but in terms of going to more parties and dancing more often and laughing out loud. I don't want to suggest that discipleship is easy -- we heard in the sermon the prior week about how demanding discipleship truly is, but I do want to say that following the pathways does not make me or any of us "better" than anyone else. I don't want to offer pathways where people either feel guilty because they don't do it or prideful because they do. I'm not sure that this is line of reasoning is correct and it is certainly not complete, but these are my thoughts at 5 a.m. At least these thoughts do provide a different perspective for me on my arrogance, self-satisfaction, and self-righteousness. Anyway, some things for you to think about if you are retired and have lots of time. Now, back to bed. JC

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