The basic question ‘will I obey Christ ‘s teaching?’ is rarely taken as a serious issue. For example, to take one of Jesus’ commands, that is relevant to contemporary life, I don’t know of any church that actually teaches a church how to bless people who curse them, yet this is a clear command.
Human beings are at their core defined by what they worship rather than primarily by what they think, know, or believe. That is bound up with the central Augustinian claim that we are what we love.
Reality is what you can count on.
The core of the person is what he or she loves, and that is bound up with what they worship – that insight recalibrates the radar for cultural analysis. The rituals and practices that form our loves spill out well beyond the sanctuary. Many secular liturgies are trying to get us to love some other kingdom and some other gods.
I think that when I die, it might be some time until I know it.
What you present as the gospel will determine what you present as discipleship. If you present as the gospel what is essentially a theory of the atonement, and you say, ‘If you accept this theory of the atonement, your sins are forgiven, and when you die you will be received into heaven,’ there is no basis for discipleship.
If you don’t have a teacher you can’t have a disciple.
The aim of God in history is the creation of an all-inclusive community of loving persons with God himself at the very heart of this community as its prime Sustainer and most glorious Inhabitant.
Many churches are measuring the wrong things. We measure things like attendance and giving, but we should be looking at more fundamental things like anger, contempt, honesty, and the degree to which people are under the thumb of their lusts. Those things can be counted, but not as easily as offerings.
Spiritual formation in a Christian tradition answers a specific human question: ‘What kind of person am I going to be?’ It is the process of establishing the character of Christ in the person. That’s all it is.