Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Core Values Revisited

I had a relative ask me yesterday, "Do you think the current Israel is the Covenant Israel of the Bible?" My answer: "I don't know."

Strangely this is a core value that makes me very attracted to The Crossover. I'm not sure what my relative was getting at, as far as I'm concerned it was a sincere question for which I would have been glad to discuss pros and cons, but I am an explorer who sees most of the theogical landscape unexplored or at least not well explored.

This makes me feel very odd in this midwestern Christian culture. While I'm looking all around like a tourist who isn't even sure exactly what he is looking at, because the sky is so big and the trees so intricate, others are looking at me with "Haven't you seen a tree before?"

I have been thinking a lot about core values and here is another interesting shot at four core values. The funny thing about these four is that they are in pairs of two and are completely opposite. They are paradoxes. Yet I believe they are thoroughly true.

Actually after a bit more thought, these may be belief statements more than core values.

1. It's not about you -- The universe (bigger than we think) does not revolve around you as an individual, what you want, what you desire, what you think, even how you hurt, ... It is about God. It is about setting aside all of my desires and wants in place of all of God's desires and wants.

2. It's all about you -- Only by embracing the first core value that it isn't about me do I find out that it is all about me, the way I was originally created to be. It is about my personality, my skills, my gifts, my experience, and my opportunities. This is how God designed me to function in His universe and it is when I am the happiest.

3. You're not responsible -- You have made some awful mistakes, said horrible things, turned your head when you should have done something, stabbed people in the back, acted cowardly, acted irresponsibly. And you can not take responsibility. Only Jesus can and he is more than willing. You must let him.

4. You are responsible for everything -- This dives directly into number two. If evangelists were to set John 3:16 aside for a minute and preach from Matthew 25, which actually seems more direct to the point of heaven and hell, we would find that we are responsible for problems that we had no direct or even indirect cause.

We are responsible for the AID's epidimic in Africa. We are responsible for the economic problems in Moldova. We are responsible for the liberation of women in Afghanistan. We are responsible for the Meth heads right here in our county. Their problems are in no way our fault, but Jesus says in no uncertain terms, they are our responsibility and our very salvation lies in whether we do something or not.

Coop quotes from Len Sweet's new book ,Out of the Question...Into the Mystery : Getting Lost in the GodLife Relationship. I'm going to need to buy it. Here is some of what Coop quoted. There is more at his blog.

The Reformation paradigm, which tempts us to replace relationship with reason, is captured in the word belief. It is concerned with right thinking and adherence to a particular way of articulating biblical teaching. It involves systematizing and assenting?and excluding those who don?t fully subscribe to the current fashion in creedal statements. Belief is inert. It is intellectual, defensible, and typically irrelevant.

In contrast, the missional paradigm is a way of life, the life of faith. It is a quest for discovery. It is nothing less than the pursuit of the GodLife relationship. Faith is kinetic and transformational. It is described in Scripture as following, forgiving, seeking, rejoicing, sharing. It is the life of relating to God, to others, and to God?s creation. To the Western mind it can appear sloppy and unpredictable and meandering. Yes, it is all of those things, and much more!

Belief is Plato; faith is Jesus.

As we consider God's re-Orientation of Christianity, bear in mind that it is movement, not statement. It is more about exploring than about ensconcing. Jesus asked his closest followers: "Who do you say I am?" Each of us, if we are to follow him today, must answer this same question. And as we seek the answer, we find that it is less a question than a quest.

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