Welcome to my new blog. For those that don’t know much about me – which will, I expect, be very few of you, since I’m mostly going to be sharing this with friends and family, here’s a brief introduction: I’m a Christian, I’m male, white, British, 20-something and work in the web industry. So you’ve probably built a picture up from that. But I’m also a questioning Christian, not an “alpha male”, not proud of my race or its history and have been through more than enough by way of life lessons. So, you know, don’t judge a book by its cover – at least, not until after you’ve read it!
I want to spend my life learning what it means to follow Jesus. I could spend many blog posts going in to why, but that’s not what this space is for. If you want more on that, go to my other blog, watch some Rob Bell videos, or maybe just read your Bible.
I’m also an over-thinker – which you’ll quickly discover if you do read my other blog (are you tempted yet?). Despite this, the more I read of Jesus’ teachings, the more I read about those who have tried to take him literally on his every word, or at least to take him very seriously, the more I become convinced of two things:
- that there is a huge need for us to end our affluence, dependence on wealth and status, and general desire to serve Mammon instead of Yahweh/God.
- that robust, deep, theological discussions are, well, a bit pointless
Why? well, as far as answering the first point goes, see above but add in Shane Claiborne’s incredibly moving autobiography into the mix. As for point two, to quote Ronald Sider:
“Millions of Christians also have come to see the need for simpler lifestyles. What they want now are concrete, practical suggestions and specific workable models.”
Jesus wanted to create disciples. What does that mean? It means to encourage other people to follow his teachings, practises and way of life. In fact, early Christianity was often called “the Way”. It wasn’t a code of ethics, a church service style or a set of prayers. It was a way of life.
Ways of life mean changing the way that we think and behave. There is much debate about which of these might come first and the best way to achieve the change of one or the other. Such debate is, quite frankly, beyond my intellectual capacity – and is also a bit pointless. If they’re related, maybe just trying to change both, and seeing what happens, is the best way forward?
Seeing what happens.
Essentially, I’m suggesting experimenting.
Too often we weasel our way out of real change by discussing an idea until we can discuss our way to an abstracted flaw, such that we can reject the idea out of hand. Instead of doing that, I’m going to try and learn to live a simpler lifestyle. I’m going to do that because I believe that life is too busy, too much of a rat race, too much chasing after the next goal or idea or ego massage or financial upgrade or relationship or whatever else we put our mind to other than experiencing the love of God and the transformational nature of The Way. I’m going to try to stop worrying and over-thinking the ways in which I can do this and start to try actually doing it.
I’d like the journey to not be one I do alone. So what I’m going to do is this: I am going to challenge myself, and anyone who will join me, to a series of lifestyle changes, practises and meditations that I hope will transform my inner self and my outward actions to further experience God and to love others around me. I’ll post my challenge up and let you know how I’m getting on. Hopefully you can let me know how you’re getting on, too.
I’m going to set myself 3 important ground rules:
- Do not overthink or justify avoiding an experiment
- Do not feel guilty in any way if an experiment fails due to willpower
- Do one thing at a time
I hope that in doing this, I can provide real, practical solutions to some of the problems that we face as people who try to follow Jesus and The Way in today’s world. I hope that you’ll join me in that journey.