2.10.2006

good quote from a good book

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"So more and more I discovered, progressively, that I do love all things dark, all things secular. While somewhere deep inside I was still committed to Christ and was still fully committed to the Godly development of the ministry I work in, I began to wonder where my real love lie.

I knew that I had committed to Christ in a gut-wrenching moment of conviction nearly five years ago, and that I had been up and down ever since. The thing was, I had to wonder if my faith at some point in time had left its authentic roots and moved to more cultural grounds. I’ve found it is bad to have a faith that is based in the surrounding culture. This is different than having a culturally relevant faith.

A culturally relevant faith is a faith where you do not shun the outside world; where you know and respect and include yourself in the lives of the very people you are trying to reach. But a faith based in surrounding culture is a faith that is there only because your friends do it, or because it gave you a social group that you don’t want to leave, or because your family tells you that you need it, or because other Christians tell you it’s essential to keeping your salvation.

I don’t want that kind of faith. I want a faith where I do follow God because I sincerely want to. I want a faith where I do the right things because God would have me do them. But that, in essence, is the problem. I involve myself in the picture too much. I want not to be human. Look back at how many times I mentioned myself in that sentence, versus how many times God is mentioned: I want a faith where I do the right things because God would have me do them. It’s a three-to-one- ratio.

In the deep, intimate corridors in my life reserved only for private conversation with my own thoughts, Satan has convinced me that I want to do Godly things, and that I want to live in a Godly way. Satan knows I will put the pressure on myself, and since I am a human, sinful by nature to the core, I will fail miserably. I will tell myself that I’m a bad Christian, and will continue to let my faith go because I was never good at it in the first place. Or perhaps I will succeed, only because I don’t want to loose face in front of my Christian friends. But that would not be authentic Christianity; that would be cultural or social Christianity.

God knows I can’t live this way. Why did I fail so bad and do what I did that night? Why have I had a better time living borderline than living as a follower of Christ? Because I tried to do it. And frankly, I suck at trying to follow Christ on my own, without His help. We all suck at it. I do, you do. Every church and ministry leader throughout history does. And even in all of our suckiness, we are prideful. We as humans want to make it ourselves, and not ask anyone for any help, not even God."

Jeff Nash
Churches, Pubs, & Hostels

CLICK HERE to order "Churches, Pubs, & Hostels"
CLICK HERE to read more of Jeff's work.

11 comments:

brett said...

based just off the title, I think I'll be picking up this book. I think Jesus would hang out at way more bars than we often think. Jesus had complete disregard for what the "religious people" thought about where or with whom he hung out with, even when they judged him equal with them. More people need to read Matthew 11:18-19.

Crissi said...

For the longest time, I felt like I was the only one feeling along these lines. I felt like an imperfect and failing person amidst a churchful of holy and just people. It hasn't been until recently, getting to know friends on a whole deeper level and reading good frickin reads like these, that I have understood that I am far from alone. I agree that religion has turned a corner over the centuries to a place even Jesus himself wouldn't enter into. But I also feel the difference between following Christ because I HAVE to vs. because I WANT to. Sure, it's self-centered, but all I know is that following Christ because I WANT to feels a whole heck of a lot better. Thank you for sharing this book, and giving me another title to add to my growing collection.

joel said...

Nice post!

I think for many of us, the journey to discover the sacred elements of Christ and his life depicted through Paul also come in direct contant with a certain embrace of the secular. It has the ability to highlite the beauty of God within both. Suddenly, we find that we follow a God that doesn't differentiate along the same lines that we do.

Andrew said...

I found your website through Noel Heikkinen and took interest as I have very similar opinions to the ones that you publish on here....

I have to say that this is an amazing quote and that I just ordered the book via the link that you gave.

Jenny Jorg said...

I feel like all I ever do is ask God for help!!! Sheesh. I almost feel bad for the guy having to listen to me ask for help 24/7.
By question for you then is what should one do after asking for help? Sit back and wait, take initiative, trust and obey (for there's no other way.. ;) ? Any opinions?

jamie said...

Jimmy,
Do you know Jeff personally?

jimmy said...

Jenny, I hear ya. Katie and I have had this discussion more times than I can count. We used to ask and ask and ask God for answers or guidance, or which college should I go to, or whatever, and then we would wait for an answer. And DO NOTHING in the meantime. The danger is that we can ask God and sit back and wait without any movement. We can't be paralyzed be fear that we might do something outside of the "perfect will of God", we need to know God's word, and know God's character, and act accordingly. We need to use our brains! God gave us these incredible minds capable of creative thought and we sit back and do nothing hoping to find the "handwriting on the wall". If you are facing a decision that has two options and neither one is obviously against God's character, or word, then make the decision that makes sense to you. I recently read an awesome book on this very subject called "Understanding God's will: hacking the equation without all the formulas" by Kyle Lake. It's really a great book. Go buy it. Right now.

Jamie, I haven't met Jeff in real life yet. We've spoken via email quite a bit. I appreciate his humility, and transparency with his struggles, and sense a true and deep love and devotion to God. I look forward to meeting him the next time he comes to the West coast.

Jenny Jorg said...

Yeah I hear ya. Well here's my situation that I'll use as an example: I was scheduled to work for the entire month, and that means I can't go to High School Camp. I asked if it would be possible to get it off and she said it'd be too much of a hassle basically. I understand that, and since I'm new I didn't wanna push it. So I've been praying that I'll be able to go anyways because for some reason I just really feel like I'm supposed to go! So now I think maybe I should just sit back and trust God. (Usually I have problems with sitting back and waiting, so this is different for me.) Is this right or not? Who knows. I think that since I already mentioned it to one of the managers and I've prayed about it that I've done my part. Any thoughts?

jimmy said...

It's kind of a tough one, because something within you tells you that you should go. But would that be a bad witness to your co-workers if you bail out on them? If you've asked your supervisors if you can go and they've said no, I'm thinking you should stay and fulfill your obligations at work.

Jenny Jorg said...

yeah, that's what I'm leaning toward. Ohwells. Oh and I asked my manager about the whole "fair trade" thang. Basically anything that doesn't have that certified stamp on it isn't fair trade. The reason being that it take 5-7 years for a farm to be certified, and a lot of these poorer regions can't afford to not grow crops for that long. (And the fact that it costs us extra money contributes!)

Sister Mary Hasta said...

Yee haw! That didn't hit home at all. [/sarcasticfont]

I know what's going on my pull list at the library.