Mick Turner

Author's details

Name: Mick Turner
Date registered: March 15, 2012
URL: http://lifebrook.wordpress.com

Latest posts

  1. LifeBrook: Wise Words for Today — July 25, 2014
  2. LifeBrook: Step Into Your Inheritance — July 8, 2014
  3. LifeBrook: Confronting a Double Mind — July 3, 2014
  4. LifeBrook: Helping Others to Succeed — June 30, 2014
  5. LifeBrook: A Fresh Approach to the Apostles’ Creed — June 29, 2014

Most commented posts

  1. LifeBrook: Spiritual Transformation from a Christian Perspective (Part Two) — 2 comments
  2. LifeBrook: Engaged Spirituality: Radical Compassion and Selfless Service (Part One) — 1 comment
  3. LifeBrook: Wise Words for Today — 1 comment
  4. LifeBrook: Spiritual Transformation from a Christian Perspective (Part One) — 1 comment
  5. LifeBrook: In Defense of Brian McLaren — 1 comment

Author's posts listings

Jul 25 2014

LifeBrook: Wise Words for Today

Original post at http://lifebrook.wordpress.com/2014/07/25/wise-words-for-today-364/

We wish every preacher, teacher, and leader would come to the realization that God’s people – not to mention the world – need above all else a glorious unveiling of Jesus. . . . . . . . . . . .There is much more in Christ than we have ever imagined. And there is infinitely more to Him than we have yet to know or touch. We can never exhaust Him. Christ is so large that no search party in the universe can explore an iota of His infinite depths. What is more, He will never grow old or stale. Jesus Christ is the only thing in God’s universe that doesn’t wear thin.

Yet so many Christians are blissfully unaware of His vastness. They have settled for so much less and have known Him so little.

But mark this down: When the people of God get a sighting of their incomparable Lord – and when the world encounters His unfathomable love, His irresistible beauty, and overwhelming glory – every idol will be forced to the ground. The clouds of doubt will part from our eyes, and Jesus Christ will displace everything. But first, the church and the world must see Christ.

Therein lies the task of every disciple – to proclaim this amazing Christ to both lost and found.

Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/07/wise-words-for-today-85/

Jul 08 2014

LifeBrook: Step Into Your Inheritance

Original post at http://lifebrook.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/step-into-your-inheritance-3/

Mick Turner

I am convinced that few of us truly understand our true potential as
children of the Father of Lights, the Living God. By remaining ignorant
of who and what we are, we end up limping through life rather than
soaring. We end up settling for scraps from the table when we should, in
fact, own the table and the house that it sits in.

For many years I either failed to understand the blessings of the
full gospel or I misunderstood it. Either way, I wasted a lot of time
thinking I knew what I was talking about when, in fact, I didn’t.

I became aware of the need for sound teaching
and quality educational materials that would foster deeper awareness of
the Christian’s true potential and identity “in Christ.” Further, I
began to understand that the primary purpose of having this blessed gift
of a new identity and new personal power in Christ is to assist in the
establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. It is to this mission that we
at LifeBrook remain committed.

Understanding our true identity is intimately connected with the
realization of our divine potential. These issues are among the deeper
things God, working through the Holy Spirit, wants to impart to us. All
we need to receive these vital revelations is an open mind and a
receptive heart. We don’t need to wait until we arrive in heaven to gain
awareness of these gifts – in fact, by the time we get to heaven we
will have already been utilizing our divine power here on earth for many
years. Dr. Myles Munroe speaks clearly to these themes:

God has prepared so many deep things about who we are. Our eyes
can’t see them, nor can our minds conceive them, yet God is revealing
them to us through His Spirit. God doesn’t want us to wait until heaven
to know our full potential. He didn’t give birth to us so we can develop
our potential in heaven…..God wants us to realize here on this planet
who we are. That is His purpose in creating us. We need the Holy Spirit
because eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, nor has it entered the
minds of men who man really is. Only the Holy Spirit searches “the deep
things of God.”…..God beckons you to take another step into a deeper,
more relevant knowledge of your potential in Christ – Though you may
have been saved for years. You need to take this step because you still
don’t know who you are.

 You see, friends, most of us claiming to be followers of
Christ are well intended but poorly equipped to make those intentions a
reality in daily living. This statement is not intended to be a
criticism of the modern church or a slap in the face of well-meaning
Christians who are committed to bringing God’s kingdom out of the
spiritual realm and making it manifest right here on earth. Instead, I
say these words because they are true. Most of us do not have a clue as
to what we can do to not only make our lives more fruitful and
productive, but also to bring success to the calling that God has placed
in each of our hearts.

If we read scripture with diligence and an open mind, it becomes
obvious that we humans were created with a purpose and a holy mission
from the Father of Lights. We were to be his representatives here on
this earth, to have dominion, and to be the spirit-beings through which
God’s kingdom principles were translated from heaven to earth. Just
because of the Fall and its effects, nothing has really changed. How can
I say that? It is simple, actually.

I can safely say that our mandate has not changed because of the
work accomplished by Christ, when according to his calling and his
mission, he journeyed far from his Heavenly Home and took up residence
here on this world. Through the successful work of Jesus Christ, God
reclaimed all that was lost when humankind was exiled from the Garden
and sent “East of Eden.” I have little doubt about the fact that we
humans, with our finite understanding, have but a faint – a very faint –
awareness of the mysteries involved in Christ’s mission to this world
in general, and his work on the cross, his death, and subsequent
resurrection and ascension. In the words of the Apostle, we see through a
glass darkly. We do know and can take assurance of this cogent reality:
What was once lost has now been reclaimed by God and part of that
reclamation is the re-establishment of humankind’s dominion rights and

Christ sacrificed much so that we might once again live in freedom
and in intimate fellowship with God. Now Satan is forced to operate
underground, or in more subtle ways. One of his strategies, as we have
seen, is to convince us that rather than joint heirs with Christ and
God’s children of the Light, we are nothing more than sinful worms, with
no power or status under God. It is a lie from the pit of Hell.

Your choice, my choice – the choice before every believer is whether
or not we will live according to Satan’s lie or Christ’s empowerment.
As for me, I choose the latter. I will take possession of my status as
God’s representative here on earth and step into my inheritance as a
joint heir with Christ.

(c) L.D. Turner 2009/All Rights Reserved

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/07/step-into-your-inheritance-2/

Jul 03 2014

LifeBrook: Confronting a Double Mind

Original post at http://lifebrook.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/confronting-a-double-mind/

Mick Turner

These days I am increasingly convicted my own ways of being unfocused and uncommitted in my walk of faith. I am committed, don’t get me wrong, but I have my own unique ways of casting myself adrift. The Holy Spirit is rubbing my nose in this and I must say that although unpleasant at times, it is overall a positive thing.

Jesus tells us that a house divided against itself cannot stand and certainly an individual divided against himself or herself cannot stand, either. I am guilty in spades and confess that I am chronically double-minded. James (James 1:8) warns against this and says that a double-minded man is unstable in all ways. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, echoes the message of Jesus and his brother James when he says:

But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed. (NLT)

Jesus words about a house divided and the passages cited by James and Paul all point to the dangers of double-mindedness. The Master says we cannot stand, but instead, will fall. James does not mince his words – he plainly tells us that this lack of commitment leads to instability in all areas of our lives, and Paul says that it leads to corruption and susceptibility to false teaching.

In another relevant passage of scripture, the disciples spot Jesus walking on the waves and Peter, in an initial act of faith, heads out across the water to greet his Master. At some point, however, the disciple discovers what he is actually doing, doubt sets in, and he sinks like a stone. Jesus, in his response to Peter, asks him, “You of little faith. . . .why did you doubt? (Matthew 14:31). What does this have to do with double-mindedness? Plenty!

Dr. Warren Wiersbe, in his commentary on this passage, tells us that the word translated as doubt actually has the meaning of “standing uncertainly at two ways.” Peter ended up with little faith because he saw two ways of proceeding and in that momentary paralysis, sank with the weight of uncertainty. This is a vivid example of the dangers of a double mind.

Held firm in our walk of faith by our firm commitment to Christ, we are encouraged to deepen our connection to the Master and in all things, to remain focused on Jesus, the author of our salvation and the Holy Spirit, the choreographer of our sanctification. In all these things, the implication is to avoid double-mindedness. Paul tells us:

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body (Col. 2:6-9 NLT).

In my personal walk of faith, as I have mentioned here and elsewhere, double-mindedness has been a consistent stronghold the enemy has built up over the years. The Lord has been faithful where I have been unfaithful and he, like the shepherd looking for the one sheep that left the fold, has come to fetch me on many occasions. I don’t mean to say that I have wandered into deep sin or anything like that. Instead, my unfaithfulness has been more in seeking spiritual solace in places other than the Christian faith. The thing the Holy Spirit finally helped me to see was that there is a huge difference between the person of Jesus Christ and the religion that bears his name.

Understanding that one simple truth has made a world of difference for me. Now, I find much comfort in the “God of All Comfort” and have come to understand that he is, indeed, with me always and at all times.

And as I have come to be less double-minded, I am much less a house divided against itself. I have become more spiritually mature and less likely to wander down some seemingly fascinating theological rabbit hole, yet I do admit that sometimes the temptation still arises.

And it is in this growth that I have discovered another salient truth about the Christian walk of faith. As we become more single-minded in our commitment to Christ, we do become more mature from a spiritual perspective. We become more stable (not unstable like James warned us about) and less likely to be taken in by what Paul called “high-sounding nonsense.” In Ephesians 4, Paul gives us further wise counsel:

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church (Eph. 4:14-15)

Double-mindedness, lack of focus, and inconsistent commitment are all counterproductive to an effective walk of faith. I hope in some small way this article has helped to illustrate that cogent fact. And without a doubt, the scriptures cited point to the need to address these obstacles if, in fact, they do exist in your life.

I would encourage readers to spend some prayer time over the next week, asking the Master to reveal to you any areas in your walk of faith were these issues may be lurking. Also, ask for power, guidance, and wisdom in addressing whatever may arise as you do this.

Think about it.

© L.D. Turner 2014/All Rights Reserved

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/07/confronting-a-double-mind/

Jun 30 2014

LifeBrook: Helping Others to Succeed

Original post at http://lifebrook.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/helping-others-to-succeed/

The following is a great article describing innovative work being done by the United Methodist Church, utilizing agricultural outreach and greenhouses:





Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/06/helping-others-to-succeed/

Jun 29 2014

LifeBrook: A Fresh Approach to the Apostles’ Creed

Original post at http://lifebrook.wordpress.com/2014/06/29/a-fresh-approach-to-the-apostles-creed/

Mick Turner

As the contemporary church transitions through this age of changing forms, focus, and mission it become increasingly difficult to discern exactly where the faith is heading. This state of limbo tends to create separate and distinct forms of reaction as some Christians embrace change and new directions as much-needed alterations in a church that is increasingly irrelevant and marginalized. Others welcome this transition about as much as they would a case of poison ivy. Instead of looking for new and vital ways to present the faith to a post-modern world, they retreat into cultural isolation and long for a return to the “good old days,” obviously forgetting that those halcyon days are a product of their imagination and euphoric recall more than anything else.

If you are a frequent visitor to this blog, you are probably aware that I tend to fall more into the former camp than the latter. The Christian faith is in a major time of crisis and unless it undergoes radical transformation, it is going to become a historical relic with virtually little or no cultural impact. That’s why I firmly believe that the Emergent Movement within the church is not something to be feared, but instead, constitutes a long-overdue revitalization of the Christian faith on all fronts.

I am especially pleased that more and more followers of Jesus are coming to see that our faith was originally one where experience took priority over doctrine and “belief” and that trust in the Master and the teachings of the faith was transformational, more so than correct belief.

I mention all this because I have recently been reading Diana Butler Bass’ latest book, entitled Christianity After Religion. I am enjoying the book and learning much from its analysis of how the church arrived at its current dilemma, and future directions that it might take.

This, however, is not a review of this book.

As I mentioned, the Emergent Church movement is trending more toward experience as the true content of the Christian journey and that doctrine, although it serves a purpose, is not the true litmus test of one’s faith.

In a chapter entitled, “Believing,” Bass shares how the Massai people of East Africa, aided by Catholic missionaries, revised the Apostles’ Creed so that if more clearly reflected the realities of their encounter with Jesus. I want to share that revision with you, as I think it is not only relevant to the Massai people, but 21st Century Christians in America as well:

We believe in the one High God, who out of love created the beautiful world and everything good in it. He created Man and wanted Man to be happy in the world. God loves the world and every nation and tribe on the Earth. We have known this High God in darkness, and now we know Him in the light. God promised in the book of His word, the Bible, that He would save the world and all the nations and tribes.

We believe that God made good His promise by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, a man in the flesh, a Jew by tribe, born poor in a little village, who left His home and was always on safari doing good, curing people by the power of God, teaching about God and man, showing the meaning of religion is love. He was rejected by his people, tortured and nailed hands and feet to a cross, and died. He lay buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him, and on the third day, He rose from the grave. He ascended to the skies. He is the Lord.

We believe that all our sins are forgiven through Him. All who have faith in Him must be sorry for their sins, be baptized in the Holy Spirit of God, live the rules of love and share the bread together in love, to announce the Good News to others until Jesus comes again. We are waiting for Him. He is alive. He lives. This we believe. Amen

Personally, I find this version of the creed far more relative and far more transformative than the one composed all those many centuries ago. It contains the same truths, but presents these truths in a different, more personal way. In my mind, it points directly to God’s great story of restoration, healing, and ultimate happiness. Diana Butler Bass, speaking of this version of the creed, states:

The Maasi creed invites us to go on a safari with Jesus. These are not just words about God; rather, these words welcome us into a story of God’s hope for human happiness and healing.

Bass then goes on to share these important nuances of the French ancestry of the word “doctrine”:

Indeed, the word “doctrine,” a word fallen on hard times in contemporary culture, actually means a “healing teaching,” from the French word for “doctor.” The creeds, as doctrinal statements, were intended as healing instruments, life-giving words that would draw God’s people into a deeper engagement with divine things. When creeds become fences to mark the borders of heresy, they lose their spiritual energy. Doctrine is to be the balm of a healing experience of God, not a theological scalpel to wound and exclude people.


I think it is fairly obvious that our creeds, uttered in repetitious, monotone lockstep, have, through centuries of non-reflective recitation, lost all vestiges of spiritual energy. Further, they have been misapplied repeatedly, rather than used as the healing balm as originally intended. Instead, Christian legalists and rigid fundamentalists have appropriated the classic creeds of the faith at “statements of belief” and a litmus test of authentic Christianity.

This has constituted a great loss for the faith as a whole, but it is a loss that can be rectified, as in the case of the Maasi creed cited above. This is an exciting yet challenging time for the church. In order for the faith to not only survive, but thrive, new wineskins are sorely needed – wineskins that are more relevant to the contemporary world encountered by the faithful each and every day.

© L.D. Turner 2012/2014/All Rights Reserved

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/06/a-fresh-approach-to-the-apostles-creed/

Jun 27 2014

LifeBrook: Fresh Wind and Raised Sails: Fresh Perspectives on the Christian Faith

Original post at http://lifebrook.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/fresh-wind-and-raised-sails-fresh-perspectives-on-the-christian-faith/

Mick Turner

The Grace of God is like the wind blowing across the sea; if you want to reach the other side you need to raise your sail.

Rufus Jones

Over the past decade author and teacher Brian McLaren has stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy within the church, particularly among those believers of a more conservative, fundamentalist bent. Fueled by his own spiritual journey as well as a deep understanding that the church must find new wineskins in which it can spread the life-giving teachings of Jesus, McLaren has stepped on more than a few theological toes along the way.

McLaren clearly understands that his mission is a daunting one, yet he continues to move forward in spite of a constant din of criticism coming from the more rigid, backward-looking quarters of the faith. As a person who cares deeply about the church, McLaren also knows that unless these new wineskins are developed, the massive exodus from the sanctuaries across America will continue.

In A New Kind of Christianity McLaren lists ten questions that might frame the discussion, which leads to a fresh definition of the faith. These questions are:

  1. The narrative question: “What is the overarching story line of the Bible?”
  2. The authority question: “How should the Bible be understood?”
  3. The God question: “Is God violent?”
  4. The Jesus question: “Who is Jesus and why is he important?”
  5. The gospel question: “What is the gospel?”
  6. The church question: “What do we do about the church?”
  7. The sex question: “Can we find a way to address human sexuality without fighting about it?”
  8. The future question: “Can we find a better way of viewing the future?”
  9. The pluralism question: “How should followers of Jesus relate to people of other religions?”
  10. The-what-do-we-do-now- question: “How can we translate our quest into action?”

In describing the current context in which these vital questions are being asked, McLaren makes the following cogent remarks:

These ten questions are, to recall Dylan’s epic line, blowing in the wind around us. Even if we’ve never heard them articulated, they have been hovering just outside our conscious awareness. They trouble our conventional paradigms of faith just as the ten plagues of frogs, gnats, flies, and hail plagued the Egyptians in the Exodus story. When people tell us to be quiet and accept the conventional answers we’ve been given in the past, many of us groan like the ancient Hebrews when they were forced to produce bricks without straw. We cry out to God, “Please set us free!” We cry out to preachers and theologians, “Let us go! Let us find some space to think, to worship God outside the bars and walls and fences in which we are constrained and imprisoned. We’ll head out into the wilderness – risk hunger, thirst, exposure, death – but we can’t sustain this constrained way of thinking, believing, and living much longer. We need to ask the questions that are simmering in our souls.”

If recent history tells us anything for certain, these questions are indeed being raised. And one more thing – if sincere, thinking, seeking followers of Jesus cannot find the freedom to explore their questions, doubts, and concomitant gray areas within the parameters of the traditional faith, they will find that freedom elsewhere. The exodus from organized Christianity over the last half-century proves this beyond any question.

I sincerely believe McLaren’s voice is a prophetic one and his message, although he would never admit or assert this, is of divine origin. God is calling to his people, insisting that they come out from the theological and denominational prisons religious leaders have fabricated over the centuries. A fresh wind is blowing my friends, a wind that carries a message of liberation, hope, and rejuvenation.

And just as in those biblical times so long ago, anytime a prophetic wind sweeps across the landscape, voices of opposition arise in an attempt to quell the latest movement of God. Shamefully enough, more often than not those contrary voices come not from the non-religious, but instead, from our religious leaders themselves. This is no less true today than it was at the time of the Master. Jesus contended with the Pharisees of his day and so do we. With an agenda bent upon maintaining the status quo at all cost, these critics are loud, judgmental, and fearful. McLaren has been accused of apostasy, heresy, and everything from being the brother of Beelzebub to creating a limp-wristed Jesus.

Turning briefly to another angle on all of this, it is important that we understand that the term “Christian” has taken on a generally negative connotation in contemporary culture. Perhaps this is somewhat less true in the Bible Belt where I live, but for the most part, when people hear the word “Christian,” it brings to mind a stereotype of “rigid, judgmental, narrow-minded, homo-hating bigots.”  Whether this reality is justified or not is open to debate, however, the fact is such a reality indeed exists. Perhaps this has occurred as a result of far too many professing Christians have settled for an empty shell of the real thing. Jesus charged us with making disciples, not Christians. McLaren explains:

We might say that “Christians” are people who have entered a certain sedentary membership or arrived at a status validated by some group or institution, while “disciples” are learners (or unlearners) who have started on a rigorous and unending journey or quest in relation to Jesus Christ. It’s worth noting in this regard that the word “Christian” occurs in the New Testament exactly three times and the word “Christianity” exactly zero. The word “disciple,” however, is found 263 times.

I can say without reservation that what we need today is not more Christians, but instead, more disciples of Jesus. By that term I don’t mean a cadre of holier-than-thou Morality Marshalls or Thought Police and certainly not a mega-flock of Super Christians out to convert the heathen and keep an eye on the Democrats.

I am talking about an increasing number of highly committed, consecrated disciples of the Master who seek to deepen their vital connection with the Divine and bring about his kingdom on earth – a noble mission if there ever was one. Driven by a heart of compassion flowing from an internalized understanding of the interconnection of all existence, these rejuvenated disciples form communities that thrive on consistent, loving service to others while, at the same time, seeking to establish religious, social, economic, and political institutions based on kingdom principles of equality, justice, and compassion.

Brian McLaren is but one of a host of fresh voices being used by God in this exciting yet challenging time. Like McLaren, many of these relatively new voices are calling for a reevaluation of all that has gone before. And believe me when I say this is no small, isolated movement. It is, instead, a groundswell emerging from the spiritual grassroots. Fueled by the energy and passion of many young, vital believers this new Christianity is attracting a great deal of positive attention from those outside the traditional church culture. Social researcher George Barna puts it this way:

The United States is home to an increasing number of Revolutionaries. These people are devout followers of Jesus Christ who are serious about their faith, who are constantly worshiping and interacting with God, and whose lives are centered on their belief in Christ. Some of them are aligned with a congregational church, but many of them are not. The key to understanding Revolutionaries is not what church they attend, or even if they attend. Instead, it’s their complete dedication to being thoroughly Christian by viewing every moment of life through a spiritual lens and making every decision in light of biblical principles. These are individuals who are determined to glorify God every day through every thought, word, and deed in their lives.

Giving a more personal face to this new breed of Christ-follower, Barna, in his seminal volume entitled, Revolution: Finding Vibrant Faith Beyond the Walls of the Sanctuary, describes a “Revolutionary” by the name of David this way:

David, you see, is a Revolutionary Christian. His life reflects the very ideals and principles that characterized the life and purpose of Jesus Christ and that advance the Kingdom of God – despite the fact that David rarely attends church services. He is typical of a new breed of disciples of Jesus Christ. They are not willing to play religious games and aren’t interested in being part of a religious community that is not intentionally and aggressively advancing God’s Kingdom. They are people who want more of God – much more – in their lives. And they are doing whatever it takes to get it.

Increasingly, we see more of the old faith structures crumbling, often from their own ineffectiveness and lack of relevancy. As this process goes forward, we also are witness to many of the walls and barriers that formerly separated people and cultures falling as well. To say this is God’s will is a vast understatement. Jesus’ entire ministry was an example of reaching out to those considered unclean or unapproachable. Jesus stressed unity at every turn and this theme was echoed time and time again in the writings of Paul.

This process of tearing down walls of separation and creating avenues of connection and unity has at its heart a desire to resurrect and implement a fundamental Christian principle that has generally been lost in the American church. Our nation was founded on and developed through a people driven by a central cultural icon: rugged individualism. The positive progress engendered by this peculiarly American value is without question. However, we must understand that no matter how theologians, preachers, and laypersons alike have tried to marry this individualism to the Christian faith, they have created a form of Christianity that runs counter to the faith envisioned by Christ.

Fortunately, more and more of these new, revolutionary disciples are coming to understand that a core mission fueled the practice and the success of the early church and it is precisely that core mission that was mentioned at the beginning of the preceding paragraph. The way of living increasingly exemplified in the lives of this new breed of disciple is rooted in the ancient Christian practice known as the common good. Author and social researcher Gabe Lyons explains:

This simple phrase means “the most good for all people.” Aristotle first conceived it, but Thomas Aquinas, a thirteenth century Roman Catholic philosopher, honed it well as a Christian conception of how Christians ought to live alongside others in society. This strict definition of the common good – the most good for all people – doesn’t prefer one human being over another; instead, it values all human life and wants what is best for all people, Christian or not. It motivates these next Christians to care for all people, whether young or old, disabled, impaired, unborn, or otherwise different from themselves in race, religion, socioeconomic status, or worldview. . . . . . . .Practicing this common good mentality – where good deeds are also seen as integral to Christian mission – can actually have a positive impact on culture at large.

I find it highly refreshing to see this long-standing Christian conception of “common good” begin to reemerge into the light of day. As mentioned before, our culture’s obsession with individuality, coupled with Capitalisms “every man for himself” ethic has submerged the spiritual principle of common good, relegating it to the spiritual hinterland where it only makes an appearance as a trite platitude around the holidays. When you look at the life of Jesus, you quickly see that he placed common good at the very center of his worldview and more importantly, his daily lifestyle. As his followers, we are called to no less.

We began this article by looking at the ten questions posed by Brian McLaren; questions which we can use to frame our discussions of how we, as followers of the Master Jesus, may proceed. As we look at these questions we also discover that our personal spiritual formation and the corporate mission of the church are intimately connected. When things are working as they should, the latter provides direction and support to help facilitate the former. Experience has shown, however, that this is rarely the case. As the future unfolds, rectifying this kind of spiritual misfiring has to be rectified if the church hopes to survive.

More often than not, when we analyze the factors that contribute to the church’s failure to follow Christ’s command to “make disciples,” we find old, time-worn paradigms taking center stage. “That’s the way we’ve always done it,” and “If it was good enough for Grandma Becky, then it’s good enough for me,” or similar refrains echo down the vacant pews in near-empty sanctuaries. Still, one can hope and the new, vibrant kind of Christians we have discussed in this article give us a reasonable foundation upon which we can base that hope. And the church, with all its warts, blemishes, and even its scandals, can still surprise us at times with its resiliency and its ability to transcend the ball and chain of irrelevant tradition. These are special times when something sublime – something mystical – something life-changing is taking place. McLaren describes these experiences this way:

Rare moments come to us in our journey when the penny drops, the tumblers click, the pieces fall into place, the lights come on, and our breath is taken away. The old paradigm falls away behind us like a port of departure, and we are won over to new possibilities, caught up in a new way of seeing, looking toward a new and wide horizon. The Lord has more light and truth to break forth, we believe, and so we raise our sails to the wind of the Spirit.

(c) L.D. Turner 2011/2014/All Rights Reserved

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/06/fresh-wind-and-raised-sails-fresh-perspectives-on-the-christian-faith/

Older posts «