I have never woken up wondering if the world was still there. It is just an assumption I make every morning that does its work in the background, letting me get on with life without having to worry. Yet, not all our assumptions are benign, they can be little more than thinly veiled prejudices. It can therefore be helpful to see our world from outside, from different perspectives, perspectives with different assumptions and so highlighting our own. John D. Caputo, in one of his books, uses the illustration of Charles Sheldon’s novel, written over a hundred years ago. In the novel a tramp collapses in church. This so surprises and stirs the congregation, that they ask themselves, if they have really been followers Jesus after all. So, during their everyday lives they begin asking themselves the question: ‘What would Jesus do?’ and the town changes. Sometimes, another story has to come along to help us see things differently, to deconstruct our assumptions and enable us to be more intentional in how we are to live.
Over the last few months I have unexpectedly found that my picture of the kingdom has come into much sharper focus, a focus that has also shed an uncomfortable light onto my own life. I just don’t believe this is what life in the Kingdom is supposed to look like. Or at least, I have not yet met anyone insane enough to think Jesus life would have looked much like mine, which isn’t much of a commendation for someone who has been following Jesus for over forty years.
It is at this point that the two stories merge. Sheldon used the question, ‘What would Jesus do?’ to help deconstruct assumptions. It makes a great bumper sticker, but I am less sure of that particular question. Jesus did what he saw the Father doing and, unless we do the same, the question becomes a stick to beat ourselves with when we fail to meet and impossible standard. I have to confess, that I find seeing what the Father is doing a little challenging. It is easier to model my life on those around me, only I am not called to base my life on the constructs of the twenty-first century. I am called to be a follower of Christ: to live, not just in the shadow of the Kingdom, but as its Citizen. It is a daunting challenge, and one that leaves me wondering if I can meet it. I am not even sure if I know the way.
Which brings me back to this blog. One of my experiences with blogging, especially in my initial ‘A Journey Shared’ blog, is the way that it encourages intentionality – not to mention a source of prayer, as I ponder what to say in my next post! I believe this is what I need now, and so I am relaunching ‘A Journey Shared’, even if in a new clothes. No longer seeking a view of the destination, but to keep me on track and pressing on towards it – even if, like Frodo Baggins, I do not know the way.