Friday, August 11, 2006

Life Changes and the Life of Faith

I haven't been blogging much lately, largely because I've intended this site as a place for me to offer Christian commentary on the world I encounter. While I feel alright about posting personal stories if I think they have something interesting to say, I've avoided the "everyday life" journal stuff. So, while I've been living, I haven't necessarily had anything all that interesting to say lately.

Now that my wife and I are both pastors, our time is harder to manage. We have a wonderful situation on many levels, we can usually schedule to have lunch together, but we frequently have to eat dinner on the run to make evening meetings and events. Hey, I have lots of friends who never see their spouses during the day, but who generally get to have some evening time together... ours is just a different schedule. Still, many people ask me how we handle it, and older folks especially tend to comment how sad it is that we can't go to church together on Sunday. Changes in expectations can be hard to accomodate.

We're living in a great little city now. I guess on many levels it's nice to have curbside trash and recycling pickup and the services of urban life again, but we've traded the independence of a transfer station for the convenience of once-a-week fixed time collection. Yeah, I know trash pickup isn't exciting, but it's one of the changes that comes with moving. The truth is, changes in life circumstances are always a challenge for us, whether they involve moving to a new city, beginning a new excercize regimen, or coming into relationship with Jesus.

We in the Church often fail to recognize how dramatic a life-changing encounter with Christ can be. After we have been Christians for awhile, we have a tendency to see faith in God as normal, if not universal. We tend to tak for granted our relationship with God, to assume this must be what life is like.

Moving to a new culture, or even a new city can help remind us how radically life-changing Christian faith can be for those who are not comitted and practicing Christians. For many of us, singing the words of the old hymn "what a wonderful change in my life has been wrought, since Jesus came into my heart..." is an excercize in communal memory that carries little meaning for us personally. Yes, Jesus has changed our lives, but for those of us who grew up in the Church, what does that change look like?

New belivers whose life has been lived apart from an active, two way relationship with God have a great deal to teach us. Yes, God's grace may be reaching for everyone at all times, but not everyone is willing to engage with God in Christ, and many people in our "Christan" west don't even know how. Can we in the Church who have forgotten how different Christian life is from life apart from Christ learn how to help others experience a life-transforming relationship with God? Are we willing to learn?

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