A faith to share on journey together

Written by on August 8, 2009 in Faith and Spiritual Life, Notes By The Way with 1 Comment

I’m glad Mark Scandrette is blogging again and writing about things like “a Jesus Dojo.” He’s one of the few writers I know who thinks widely and freely enough about what it means to be a follower of Jesus to inspire me. Far from leaving the faith in such venturing, I believe he trusts that there is a resilient reality of life in Jesus that will capture the hearts and minds of people in any age, including this postmodern one. I relate well with his latest post, in which he says:

Changes in our society and resulting consciousness are raising new questions about what it means to be faithful to the way of Jesus, and how to understand the unfolding story of the Judeo-Christian scriptures. Many of us are rediscovering the holistic and integrative nature of the message and work of Jesus– the message and reality that the kingdom of God is present and progressing. We bring new questions to ancient traditions and texts. Instead of primarily asking, “How do I get to heaven when I die?” more and more of us wonder “What does it mean to live conscious of God and God’s purposes in the hear and now? “

Yes, that’s me. He goes on to say that more and more passionate followers of Jesus are not interested in serving in traditional roles: pastor, missionary, etc. They don’t divide their roles in life into secular versus holy categories and roles. They want to live in community that is engaged with a variety of others and serve the poor and marginalized whether in ministries or NGO’s. They want to make a difference.

Skeptics will wonder where these people are, and why they hardly register statistically. I think many don’t indentify themselves as evangelicals, even though they share a similar faith in Jesus. They affirm Jesus but hesitate to call themselves Christians. They don’t want the religious and political baggage that comes with the label.

But they — well, we — believe the good news Jesus announced is worth sharing. We want people to experience forgiveness and love in a way that truly changes everything, starting with ourselves and extending to the world. I grew up going to a place called church listening to sermons about our duty to tell everyone about Jesus and invite them to come inside. But there was remarkably little vision about how following Jesus would alter my daily life and relationships out there.

Growing numbers in recent generations have disdained faith by proxy through participation in religious systems, and they are sick of illusions and mere words. They want to know and experience God in reality.

In a holistically oriented environment skeptical people are less convinced by the rationality of Christian belief and more curious to see if Christ-oriented faith actually makes a positive difference in the quality and character of a person’s life….People of all ages and cultural backgrounds are sensing a pull towards a way of faith that is more holistic, integrative and socially engaged… It is a quest to embody a way of life that reflects the goodness and beauty of the kingdom of God.

These days I don’t feel compelled to tell everyone about my faith. I want to live it out. If it’s real, and the Love of God is in me, then people will see. If they respond, or ask questions, then I may invite them to share the journey for awhile.

We’re taking steps to move forward with our work in Cambodia. Tomorrow we’ll meet with several people I’ve brought to Cambodia in the past year, and we’ll make plans to launch our Japanese NPO by the end of this month. About half the people who will meet are followers of Jesus. The other half are not following Jesus, but they are drawn to the journey of learning to love with us. As we travel and share our hearts in words and action along the way, I trust they’ll see whether Jesus is a reality in us or not, and the Spirit of God will be at work in us all.

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About the Author

About the Author: Andy Gray is a writer and photographer living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and working with Alongsiders International. You can find him puttering around the streets of Phnom Penh on his Suzuki Viva 125, running stoplights and driving on the wrong side of the road or on the sidewalks like a local. If you see him in a coffee shop, he'll be the one typing and deleting the same line over and over again. .

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  • joe

    Good post Andrew, almost exactly how I feel too.

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