Friday, January 28, 2022

Be a Monk

 I love history and have often passed through studies around the monks of old, of several religions.  They are an interesting lot!  I decided that monkism needed a modern definition so I could be one, too.

Here is the old definition:  Usually a member of a religious community living under vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

Here is a new definition for the Modern Monk:  A member of the family of God who decides to live in the world, yet under a different pretext and premise for life:

  • To engage in poverty that is non-indulgent in goods and wealth that interfere, cloud or block the full presence of God, yet accessing the "good" goods in order to join in the joy of God's creation and God's work.

  • To rest in a definition of sexuality as God designed it in order to enhance our goodness and as a way to enter the good of God.

  • To respond in obedience to the love of God, carrying out love-actions through compassion, inclusion of all people, and justice-seeking.

All of these exclude me from the world's way of thinking, its culture, but doesn't preclude me from the world's needs and issues and my proper place in it.

Do you want to be a modern monk?

Saturday, January 08, 2022

Humility II

 Don't be selfish; don't live to make a good impression on others.  Be humble, thinking of others better than yourself.  Phil 2:30 NLT

Don't push your way to the front; don' t sweet-talk your way to the top.  Put yourself to the side, helping others to get ahead.  Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage.  Forget yourself long enough to help others.  Phil 2:3 The Message

The clash of worldly "wisdom" with that of God's wisdom when it comes to the subject of humility is clearly seen in this verse from the apostle Paul.  For any person who has been indoctrinated into the way of competition and opportunity in American culture, we are often blinded, if not resistant, to biblical truths.  Messages that we are given to "make something of ourselves," to "get ahead," "be successful," are strong within the culture and can become so strong, so ingrained that we don't even see the Bible's opposing viewpoint, let alone comprehend it.

I know what it means to be involved in one-upmanship, always striving to be heard or seen, often thinking I had the best or final word to be given.  The race to success can be very alluring (and culturally rewarded).  It can lead us to make gods of ourselves, but the problem is that it is truly a rat race and if you are in it, "remember you're still just a rat." (Lily Tomlin)

God proposes something much different.  He proposes that we put ourselves second to others, that we not pursue our own way, that we not be concerned about what others are thinking of us.  This thinking couldn't be more opposed to what we are taught by the culture.

In Corinthians, Paul says that we are dealing with strongholds in our life that can only be dealt with divine weapons.  We cannot look to any source but Jesus to determine how to live.  The battle will only be won through His resurrection power.  For me, that means I lay down the weapons, the tools, the ways of this world and pick up the power-infused weapons, tools and ways of God.

Maybe you have been given a unique advantage in that you can have been taught those divine ways since birth.  You have held the power of prayer in your heart and mouth, the wisdom of God's Word in your mind and hand, the strength of God's Spirit and the unity of the fellowship of believers.  What a gift to know that you've got each other's back and the full of knowledge of Truth, which overcomes every insignificant idea that comes up out of the messages of this world.  

Most of all, you bear the name of the Creator of the universe.  His image is pressed within you.  You have the mind of Christ. It is a high calling to represent Him, which will require that you lay down your earthly strength, your worldly knowledge in favor of His.

How could you not do so!