Saturday, October 24, 2009

Real Formation for Real People

These are notes from David Johnson's (from Church of the Open Door) opening talk at the Willow Group Life Conference.

Real change can be hit or miss.

Ron Sider notes in his book The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience, Why Are Christians Living Just Like the Rest of the World? that most evangelical Christians are not different from the culture in the following areas:
  • money
  • sexual ethic
  • racism
  • divorce
Philippians - work out your salvation through fear and trembling-- not work for your salvation but work out your salvation.

To encourage spiritual formation, we typically tell our people to
  1. Get into a group
  2. Get involved in spiritual disciplines
These are standard answers and good answers. But you can be doing these things but still not be transformed. So what is the key?

Here are three I've thought of:

  1. We have to be authentic
  2. We have to be courageous
  3. There has to be grace

If there isn't an environment of grace people will never find the courage to be authentic.

Matthew 5-- Blessed are those who mourn. There are 9 Greek words for the concept of mourning. This one has to do with authenticity-- Blessed are those who start getting out here (into the open) what is going on in here (in the heart, in the secret places of life). Basically, it's blessed are those who quit pretending.

"I refuse to live in the dark anymore, I'm going to live in the light of what is true of me." People who live like that are being changed. Because they are courageous and authentic.

Grace is the only thing that has ever given us the courage to bring out in the light what we tend to hide in the dark. What if we knew there would be grace and healing about that thing we just can't talk about?

No comments: