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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hello Paul Ricouer!

Every now and then somebody comes up to me and tells me they have "decided" to follow Jesus. For many people this "decision" to follow Jesus is the beginning of a faith journey...and if that is what it is, I am OK with that...but for others it is the end of a faith journey...that is, once you have "decided" to follow Jesus there is nothing else left for faith to do...and that is not good.

And here's why: if your decision to follow Jesus comes at the end of a faith journey, you are going to miss out on all the power and beauty following Jesus can bring to your life...you will turn out to be some sort of mannequin-like believer who can only parrot and enable someone else to take control of your life...in short, you sacrifice the freedom you have received in Jesus Christ to follow some preacher demi-god who thinks he or she knows how to be a Christian. Not a good trade ever...because the freedom is God's and you give it up for security and shelter rather than trusting in God.

So what makes faith fun for those who "decide" for Jesus at the beginning of a faith journey (to my reformed brothers and sisters for whom any talk of "decision" rankles; please note: freedom at some point, somewhere, seems to require assent...and that is all I mean by using "decide") is precisely why we keep the freedom we have received from God in Christ Jesus through the power of the Spirit: freedom! For freedom Christ has set us free, says St. Paul...Free to be here and now and enjoying the gifts of God's creation and our agency (think of beer, perhaps, or maybe another of God's gifts such as roses). Free to be "not-tied-down-by-our-past" (oftentimes we call this forgiveness!) Free to trust others even if we disagree and do not understand (we call this our community...and communities that trust understand that even in disagreement we can be united--think of Congress!) And finally, Free to explore, because we have no limits to our freedom (this is what we usually mean by freedom...that is, we are not shackled to time and place).

So, enjoy the freedom Christ has given you in this assent to faith...and may your tables be full and your conversations be true.

(Oh, and I call this a "Paul Ricouer"--who was one of my teacher's teachers, and who always reminds of what is important in my faith in God through the Word.)

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