Thursday, November 29, 2007

Take This Bread

I just finished the book Take This Bread by Sara Miles last night. It has refreshed in me the idea of conversion as a process and our following of Christ as a journey. I don't think I yet have the words to describe this book's impact, despite my disagreement with some of the author's theology, but it's going to stay with me and hopefully motivate Godward change in my life.

Here's a taste from page 97 to challenge you:

"Conversion isn't, after all, a moment: It's a process, and it keeps happening, with cycles of acceptace and resistance, epiphany and doubt. As I struggled with bread and wine and belief over the following year at St Gregory's, it stayed hard. I began to understand why so many people chose to be 'born again' and follow strict rules that would tell them what to do, once and for all. It was tempting to rely on a formula--'accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior,' for example--that became itself a form of idolatry and kept you from experiencing God in your flesh, in the complicated flesh of others. It was tempting to proclain yourself 'saved' and go back to sleep.

The faith I was finding was jagged and more difficult. It wasn't about abstract theological debates: Does God exist? Are sin and salvation predestined? Or even about political/ideological ones: Is capital punishment a sin? Is there a scriptural foundation for accepting homosexuality?

It was about action. Taste and see, the Bible said, and I did. I was tasting a connection between communion and food--between my burgeoning religion and my real life. My first, questioning year at church ended with a question whose urgency would propel me into work I'd never imagined: Now that you've taken the bread, what are you going to do?"
These beautiful and honest thoughts speak to the heart of how I'm beginning to envision Chrisitanity. We are not just a group of people who gather in a building once a week, listening, singing, and talking to one another. We cannot just walk out of that building thinking that time is the end of our spiritual work. That and striving to meet rule requirements is an adventure in mission the point.

My desire is to know Scripture more, teach it well, but never forget the passion of the often stumbling adventure as I journey alongside of Christ. There is wonderment here and a whole lot of uncertainty. Maybe all the time I've spent maligning my swings in faith from complete trust to barely hanging on was pointless because it's all a learning experience. Maybe remembering it's not about perfection is the biggest lesson so that I can truly be humble.

Woah God. You're blowing my mind.

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