Wednesday, June 22, 2005I need to be on my way soon. Last night was a blur. I slept a lot. That's good, though, because I haven't been doing much of it. I don't mind though, because I've got a dozen good reasons to stay up late. I do wish, though, that if I am to spend a night at the house, I make better use of it than reading websites and downloading songs. Oh well. It was just one night.
Right now I'm reading The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I don't know what I expected going into it. I think my evangelical background had somehow convinced me that this was just another book about loving God and living right. Well, it is those things, but it's so much more. Bonhoeffer understands grace and forgiveness, but he acknowledges that the call of God on our life has inherent meaning. The call to belief is the call to follow. Following Christ - whatever that means - cannot be removed from the idea of believing in Him. That's why C.S. Lewis rejected this rubbish about Christ being a great human teacher, some sort of Hebrew Buddah. It's a point that I'm ashamed I never grasped. Christ did not stop by his disciples and say "Ya'll believe me, and I'll see you Sunday." He actually told them to follow Him, even telling them that we can't truly be His disciple unless we're willing to walk away from everything we know and love. (Luke 14) That stings. I'm selfish and vain, and I don't like to hear this sort of thing. Does it matter? Not really. I've been called by the Creator of the world, the Good Shepherd Himself, and that call is one of following, not just believing.
That's hard, isn't it? But His grace is sufficient. I think one of the benefits of such a technological age is that we can connect with others in the same way. I have a marvelous group of friends here that support me and I feebly try to support them, but it's also nice to find records by artists who are confessional in their failings and struggles. I look at a band like Over the Rhine or a singer/songwriter like Rosie Thomas and feel comforted that no one is in this alone. One theme of the Church, whether Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox, is the picture of a travelling pilgrim. What beautiful imagery. When we submit to following Our Lord, we become pilgrims in an earthly sense, but we never travel alone. That's pretty encouraging.
"I'm still climbing upward and my journey's almost ended
I'm nearing the top and you ought to see the view
Oh the water flows freely, there's enough to make you free
So friend if you're thirsty climb this mountain with me..."