The church has historically defined “Christian living” in terms of what you cannot do, or by just taking small (one line or less) parts from scripture and creating a “grand” doctrine filled with human determinations and conjectures. Past generations have seen the scripture as a “book of don’ts” instead of a “book of dos.” Or even worse, a book that you can open and create a doctrine from without knowing the holistic value of the scripture in general. For them, the “matter is closed” and they believe they know what is and is not a “holy Christian lifestyle.”
In the emerging/conceptual conversation Christian living is not based on a dead book, but rather a living God breathed faith that sees life as worth living – for me, this means that I strive less to be “holy” and more to be “wholy.” a “new wholiness” if you will. This new wholiness is seeing the truth of the living Christ flowing in every part of who we are, and every part of our human drive; it is primary in our faith walk – this “new wholiness” is the center of who we are as people of faith.
I get so “up-set” with those who see the emerging/conceptual conversation as something “liberal” or something “destructive” to the truth of Christ. While I will admit, we are seeking something deeper then the “modern/seeker” church, we are far from “liberal” or “destructive.” But then again, if accepting a person for who they are with no strings attached makes us “liberal and destructive” then I guess we are. For us, this new wholiness is found in every part of our life. It takes the idea of Christian living and truly places it in to our lives – faith – worship – mission – ministry – friendship – daily walk; there is no separation between the “sacred” and the “secular” – because everything we are, and everything we hold, and everything that there is, belongs to God – so the idea of living life in a box is impossible for us. The new wholiness says that we cannot separate our work lives, from our family lives, from our worship lives, from our devotional lives, from our friends, from our politics, from our relationship, from our lives in general. It says that who we are is complete, growing, connected, and spiritual. That is to say, our lives are not separated and compartmentalized into neat little sections like “modern” thinking demands, but rather intertwined, and interlaced, chaotic energy giving God centered forces, we “separate” from nothing. So, how do I see this “new wholiness” effect my life?
I like knowing my faith in Christ is 24/7 and is the center of all I am and do. Knowing I have a place to set my sights as I walk along a hard and dirty road is very comforting to me. Knowing that I can see the light of Christ is my heart and in my walk is, for me, very peaceful. Knowing that my faith is with me 24/7 helps me see who I am and who God desires me to be. I like knowing that all my relationships are first centered on Christ, then on the person.
In my Life:
Everything I do, and everything I say, is centered on Christ – and I can live in that. Now, that is not to say I am a prude, because Christ was not a prude; that does not mean I judge others, because Christ did not judge; it does not mean I reject people because of lifestyles, because Christ rejected no one. I love life, people and relationships. I do not place certain people into certain categories, and threat them different. For example, in the “modern” world we have “friends” and “acquaintances” where each has a place and – in my mind i simply have friends, period – some I have known longer than others. As I walk my path, every day I am a follower of Christ; it never changes. I cannot, nor do I desire to, take my faith and “put it away” because I am in a certain situation. I am a Christian at work, play and in my dealings with people.
In my Worship:
In a modern world, worship is one hour on Sunday. To the emerging/conceptual conversation worship is 24/7 – worship in the car, in the shower, in the gym, in the shopping center – worship is all the time, every time. We take to heart the teaching of Christ that we are to worship in “spirit and truth.” I know, many say they worship 24/7 but in reality few do, that is what Sunday morning is for.
In my Mission and Ministry:
Everything we do and say is a mission and a ministry as long as Christ is in us. We are constantly given opportunity to be missional to the world around us. People standing on the side walk asking for change, the neighbor who needs food, the person in the church who needs a ride or a car, young couples who need support and guidance. Ministry is not writing a check to support a group serving soup in a third world country, only. It is also getting down into the reality that you need to get dirty helping those in need. Ministry and mission is doing something with your faith, getting “dirty for God” if you will – if Christ is truly alive in you then you desire to do more then write a check to help those in need.
While I will admit that this is in process, my prayer is that people take it and run. The idea that we compartmentalize our life is so not the way we truly live. We like to think of things as “all things being equal” but they never are. Life is never linier. We have to remember that life happens regardless of out plans. God is in control, and we simply need to let Him do what He does. We need to live our lives and live in a new “wholiness.”