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Thread: Life, and Life more abundant

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    Senior Member Todd Erickson's Avatar

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    Life, and Life more abundant

    I was listening to a podcast with Tom Oord (an old Homebrewed episode from a year or two ago) and Tom was talking about a book he had written with another guy, a short think piece on the Gospel.

    He was talking about how God not only loves us, but wants us to truly live, and live more truly abundantly now and on into eternity.

    However, my model for life is Jesus, who spent His life as an aspect of Kenosis, preparing to die horribly for three years. The bits where he's not preparing to die or talking about what comes afterward didn't make it into the bible, and as Hans says, our example of Love is Jesus.

    So my model for life is Jesus dying. But as Oord says, the Gospel that we're given (to echo Bell in Love Wins) is not so much about what happens when we die, but what happens while we're here.

    Now, from my observation, church can train me admirably to be more disciplined, more self aware, more self sacrificing, more compassionate, etc.

    But it doesn't seem to be able to help me to figure out how to live, how to truly be myself, how to be anything that isn't self-emptying and eventually self-destructive. Mind you, I tend to have a very ontological approach to reality, so it's difficult for me to get out of these things.

    But I can't figure out how to live out the Gospel according to what i've been taught all of my life in a way that has me actually living, here and now, as opposed to dying and waiting for my reward after death.

    I know that there are people who will say "I've never felt more alive then when I laid down my life for others". I think that there are limits to how much you can lay down your life before you're just a doormat. Beyond that point...you're not really alive. You're just waiting.
    Thanks Gina Stevenson, Bob Hunter, David Gerber, Paul DeBaufer - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member David Gerber's Avatar

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    Re: Life, and Life more abundant

    Todd, on the way home from a week away I could not get away from the thought that the Christian life is first and foremost a life to live. That said, my struggle is with how to live that life. If it is truly life and more abundant than how do I get there? My thoughts wandered to the culture in which I live. My wife noticed how many commercials tell us how miserable we are without certain products. Newcasters and commentators seem to want me all worked up all the time. The list went on and on.

    I look at the Christian life and see that I am freed up to love (which opens me up to shattering disappointments), and freed from a need to keep up with the Jones'. In the best case, I am free to be me (whatever that looks like) and free to let others be themselves.

    Now, that is all I came up with on the way home. Really, more questions than answers.

    So, I guess what I am saying is that we are not alone on this quest. Helpful, yes? :-)
    Dave Gerber
    "We seriously discuss theology. The heavens laugh."
    Skin Ministries
    Thanks Gina Stevenson - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Todd Erickson's Avatar

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    Re: Life, and Life more abundant

    How do I know what "healthy" actually looks like as a Christian, living as I do in a consumerist, individual culture?

    What is the line between self sacrifice and doormat?

    Unity is not homogenization, but church is "one size fits all"...if we're all on our own spiritual journey, and nobody can tell me who I am supposed to be, how do I even know if I'm on the right path?

    Would I know life if I saw it?

    If simplicity is identity rather than activity, can I really find simplicity just by doing less? How do I figure out how to be more? Who can show me that?

    How do we free discipleship from theology and turn it into life giving praxis?

    If everything I do is one more thing causing stress that is slowly killing me, how do I find a way to pursue things in a healthy way which doesn't do that?

    Abundant life seems like it should help avoid burnout, but the model I see seems to be riding the edge of burnout all of the time until it finally claims pastors, elders, etc. what if nobody has the "right" model?
    Thanks Gina Stevenson, Jeremy D. Scott, David Gerber - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Bob Hunter's Avatar

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    Re: Life, and Life more abundant

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Erickson View Post
    I was listening to a podcast with Tom Oord (an old Homebrewed episode from a year or two ago) and Tom was talking about a book he had written with another guy, a short think piece on the Gospel.

    He was talking about how God not only loves us, but wants us to truly live, and live more truly abundantly now and on into eternity.

    However, my model for life is Jesus, who spent His life as an aspect of Kenosis, preparing to die horribly for three years. The bits where he's not preparing to die or talking about what comes afterward didn't make it into the bible, and as Hans says, our example of Love is Jesus.

    So my model for life is Jesus dying. But as Oord says, the Gospel that we're given (to echo Bell in Love Wins) is not so much about what happens when we die, but what happens while we're here.

    Now, from my observation, church can train me admirably to be more disciplined, more self aware, more self sacrificing, more compassionate, etc.

    But it doesn't seem to be able to help me to figure out how to live, how to truly be myself, how to be anything that isn't self-emptying and eventually self-destructive. Mind you, I tend to have a very ontological approach to reality, so it's difficult for me to get out of these things.

    But I can't figure out how to live out the Gospel according to what i've been taught all of my life in a way that has me actually living, here and now, as opposed to dying and waiting for my reward after death.

    I know that there are people who will say "I've never felt more alive then when I laid down my life for others". I think that there are limits to how much you can lay down your life before you're just a doormat. Beyond that point...you're not really alive. You're just waiting.
    Great questions Todd. I don't know if this helps, but I would like to offer my support for the struggle you face. And I would also point out, that this can especially be felt when you struggle with an ongoing sickness or have physical trials or some sort. I personally suffer from a condition that has reduced my quality of life. I have days when it is a struggle to get out of bed and not wish you had stayed asleep. Sometimes I am not productive until 10AM and shut down around 4PM. Other times I feel normal (and I thank God for those days or weeks). I never know when the fatigue factor is going to set in and take me out. Went to the zoo with the family today and had to check out on the fun early. Sat in the gift shop and waited for my wife to drive us home. It's part of the suffering I have accepted in this life. The Gospel (at least my understanding of it) teaches that I am becoming more like Christ and perhaps more so when I suffer. I wish I could reverse it, I'm trying, the Doctors are trying, but answers are hard to find.

    That's probably sharing more than I need to, but I'm struggling, as you are, to find this abundant life that somehow seems to have escaped my grasp.

    For what it is worth...
    Last edited by Bob Hunter; April 28th, 2012 at 08:33 PM.
    Thanks Steven Burton, Gina Stevenson, Paul DeBaufer - "thanks" for this post

  5. #5
    Senior Member Todd Erickson's Avatar

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    Re: Life, and Life more abundant

    To whatever degree Lewis and wright are correct, and what we're doing here has very little to do with hell, so much of church begins to lose it's form and meaning for me.

    Or, as I was commenting on the most recent thread on Rollin's website, there seems to be an ongoing recognition that the church has become a kind of cargo cult...we go through the motions, and re-enact the trappings and methods in hopes of getting the same effects, when in fact the original activity had nothing to do with the cause/effect relationship that we've trapped ourselves within.

    We are not, in fact, buying our way out of hell through slavery to God, or any variation thereof. God is, in fact, rescuing creation from itself and from Sin. But I've lost sight of how to do anything reasonable or constructive with that.

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    Re: Life, and Life more abundant

    I continue to give these ideas (or ideas that are very similar) lots of air play in my head... I don't profess to have the answers, but my convictions are leaning more in the direction of neomonastic communal living or variants thereof.

    "...the restoration of the church will surely come only from a new type of monasticism which has nothing in common with the old but a complete lack of compromise in a life lived in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount in the discipleship of Christ. I think it is time to gather people together to do this..."

    -Dietrich Bonhoeffer Extract of a letter written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer to his brother Karl-Friedrick on the 14th of January, 1935. (Source: John Skinner, Northumbria Community).

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