Archive for July, 2008

OK, so I have been once again giving this whole notion of simplicity some more thought.  One reason for this is because I am doing a series on Sunday about the topic, but also because it just seems to really resonate with me at the moment.  I just can not seem to shake the huge desire in my life for more simplicity.  

I wonder what it is inside of me that craves such a thing, and yet really does not know what it would look like to live a simple kind of life.  I mean, on the one hand, I know what it would look like to get rid of so much of the things that I have.  I know what it would look like to get rid of so many of the “appointments” I have in my diary.  But would that truly feed this craving in a healthy way?  Am I just scared about the idea of doing something like this and am making excuses for not doing it….?  I am just not sure.

I read that perfection comes not when there is nothing more to add, but rather when there is nothing more to take away.  Perfection is this?  Is this what Jesus did by making things more simple with the greatest commands?  Love God and Love others…..everything in the law and the prophets hanging on this kind of thing.  Is this what he meant by his yoke being easy?  I mean I know it can not mean that turning the other cheek is the easy choice.  But maybe he means it is easy in that it is much more simple.  It is much more boiled down and not so flipping complicated.  I am not sure what it all is, but I know I want to live less and less complicated and the more I read the bible, the more I see my life in complicated ways…..

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I have just about finished a book called Jesus for President, which is by Shane Claibourne.  It is a good book and I would recommend reading it.  There are a few things which have struck me and I have been pondering them for a bit.  However, there is a quote that I wanted to put out there and unpack a little bit.  He says this about Christianity.  “Christianity is at its best when it is peculiar, marginalized, suffering, and is at its worst when it is popular, credible, triumphal, and powerful.”

I find this to be interesting because I grew up in what is known as the Bible Belt.  The Christianity which was “sold” to me had a great deal to do with trying to be cool.  I can remember hearing things from people who were trying to be real cool and fit in so very much with the youth culture (This was not my youth minister though….he was about 50 and incredible….long pony tail baby!)  

I say this to say, is this kind of Christianity bad?  Is this where Christianity is not at its best?  I also can see that there are cultures in places like China where the Kingdom of God is moving out in incredible ways.  Christianity is being highly persecuted, and yet it is flourishing.  I recognize this and am extremely excited about such a thing.  Is the gospel the at its best in China?  

My answer for this is I do not know.  I can honestly see both sides of the argument.  I have seen lives transformed on either end of the spectrum.  Is not that one of the central messages of the Kingdom of God?  We are to be created more and more into Christ’s likeness?  Then again if this is happening….would not persecution begin to occur?

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I reckon this is a state at which we would like to get to and yet we do not really know how to do it.  I believe one of the human conditions is to complicate things.  The freedom of simplicity is what we desire, but the natural flow is the bondage of complexity.

However, I think we are beginning to see a new trend in todays world.  Maybe not a trend, but I think there are signs of intentional simplicity.  Take a look at Google’s search engine and then compare it to Yahoo or MSN.  What do you see?  Maybe you can see this in some of the new ways of interior decorating or even the logos of products.  Simple is better.  I reckon you can see this is sports as well.  The game plans are getting more and more simple….although the Bulls were pretty simple back in the day (give the ball to Jordan).

I wonder if this complexity is something we have been putting into some of the was we do church and the way we perceive following Christ.  Have we made some of this stuff so hard?  Have we made too many lists of what it looks like or means to follow Christ?  Somewhere in the bible it says something about loving others and loving God….that being the end all be all right?  Maybe this is the basics, but as my coaches and others have said in the past, if you can not get the basics right then why “play the game?”

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