OK . . . so I’ve been doing a pretty good job of regularly posting . . . and then the past few weeks happened. It was an amazing few weeks, but I am still feeling the effects. It all started the week my sister got married – figures. The following week I had to get ready for Central Ohio Work Camp. It was a huge success. Everyone involved was blessed. We are all excited about next year. We painted two houses, and did some nice beautification of 8 yards. Four churches worked together. It was a special time. Then, we had VBS. Our teens really got into the puppet shows for the little teens. It was an exciting time to see them really grow. They have come so far since we started here two years ago. I don’t know that we’ve had any impact on them, but God is using them in spite of us. This week brings on a visit from the in-laws. They are getting some good grandparent time.
In the midst of the past few weeks, I haven’t plodded on much further in Dallas Willard, but I have made some progress. It is more voluminous than it appears. It is reminiscent of Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship as he expounds on the Sermon on the Mount. Willard’s approach is interesting and unique. He emphasizes that the order of the sermon is pertinent. Most impacting to me is his discussion of our legalistic tendencies in regards to our interpretting of the Sermon on the Mount. We shift the focus of not committing adultery to not lusting. Jesus’ point, however, was not to create a new law regarding the avoidance of lusting. His point is to show what the kingdom life looks like. When a law is created the focus becomes the law. The old, “Don’t think of a monkey” automatically makes us think of a monkey. In the same way, if Jesus’ teaching is understood as it often is, the focus becomes the forbidance: ie. lust. Jesus’ teaching isn’t about lust, it’s about purity. It’s not about divorce, it’s about the sanctity of marriage. It’s not about hate, it’s about love.
We Christians want a list of dos and don’ts, but what Jesus offers us is two basic principles: Love God, love each other. A preacher I know hates talk like this, “What are we suppose to do, get together and pat each other’s back and say how much we love Jesus?’ he protests. Well . . . that doesn’t sound so bad actually. How much of our world would be transformed if we loved God . . . loved each other . . . and lived that way?