Misfit Disciples in an Orthodox World

Misfit Disciples in an Orthodox World
"You had better be a round peg in a square hole than a round peg in a round hole. The latter is in for life, while the first is only an indeterminate sentence." – Elbert Hubbard

Lent Reflection 3: Coffee and Morning Prayer

Monday, March 28, 2011

This Lent season has truly been a journey for me so far. It has been a time of reflection; a time of taking stock of my life and faith. I must admit, that I have been somewhat troubled by what I see. While I am happy to report that my faith is intact and that I believe in God today in a way I couldn't admit several years ago. I also see that there are so many areas of my life that can use some rearranging. There are some priorities that I am ashamed to admit, have long been neglected and put on the back burner.

Some of this reflection has been stirring for quite some time now. Long before Lent began, I was feeling a certain conviction that I was not used too. A Facebook friend of mine, some time ago, began to post every morning, usually first thing, that he was having coffee and morning prayer. And every time I read this, I thought, "well, I've got the coffee down, but the prayer thing, not so much."

My faith, for years now, has been an intellectual pursuit. I'm not saying that I've not been a Christian, but at best, I've been a reluctant disciple. In some ways, this has been a defense mechanism in me. It's not that I haven't ever experienced God in prayer and devotion; in fact, it is the exact opposite. I have been there. There was a time when my faith was entirely mystical, but it was in that time of my life when I found myself thrust into a crisis of faith that left me empty and wanting for a better understanding of God and what he wanted from me. 

This crisis lead me away from God entirely, and its taken me a long time to claw my way back. I was reflecting on all this just the other day and realized that I left the ministry 16 years ago. I would have never imagined, in a million years, that I it would have taken me so long to return. But, it has, and there's been allot of water under the bridge between then and now. I've torn down many presuppositions and constructs in my life about God and his will for me, and I've rebuilt my worldview many times. Only to tear them down and start all over, again and again. 

During all this time, there has been very little coffee and morning prayer. This Lent season, as I've reflected upon my life and faith, I am coming to realize something that my wife has said about me many times: my faith is all in my head. Now, before you nod your head in agreement, let me say that there's nothing wrong with having faith in your head. Obviously, if it's not there, it's not going to make it into any other portion of your life. But, I recognize that I've had a disconnect between my thoughts, my studious thinking about my faith, and how it filters down into other areas of my life: my relationships, family, church, etc. 

Over the past few weeks, partly in response to the recent discussions regarding Universalism and Rob Bell's controversial book, Love Wins, I've been thinking allot of Thomas, the doubting disciple. He heard the message of Christ's resurrection, but he refused to believe it unless he saw it. Jesus, in his grace and love, appeared directly to Thomas and it humbled him and he went on to be a great Apostle, making a huge impact upon the world. I think I've been stuck in that mode: I will believe in any thing I understand; if it makes sense to me intellectually, if I can write blogs about it and construct it in concrete terms that is acceptable to me, then I am on-board. But, there has been very little room for Jesus, in his grace and mercy, to appear to me and show himself to be my Savior and Lord. 

Obviously, coffee and morning prayer is a great to start. I long for a faith that I can not only articulate, but one that shakes me to the core. A faith that makes a difference in my life: how I treat my family, church, and the world around me. Just as much as I disdain a faith that is all in the heart, driven exclusively by emotions, a faith that is all in the head and makes little impact in one's real life and world, is equally as benign. 

So, I have decided to add prayer to my morning coffee again. To seek God to rework my filters, to remove the disconnect within that causes me to be so clinical about my faith. We are not in the business of peddling "clearly defined myths or speculations" (2 Pet 1:16, ESV), carefully constructed philosophies and worldviews; but rather, we are called to offer the world "...God's redemptive plan that operates by faith...the aim of our instruction [being] love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith." (1 Tim 1;4b,5, NET) Knowing God and being known of Him, should be our heart's cry. It is becoming mine, as I travel this year's path en-route to the cross. My heart is becoming the heart of the psalmist, "​​​​​​​​O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; ​​​​​​​my flesh faints for you, ​​​​​​​as in a dry and weary land where there is no water." ​​​(Psalms 63:1, ESV)

I will get back to you and let you know where it takes me. Who knows what adding morning prayer to my coffee will ultimately produce, but I am so excited to find out. 



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