Tuesday, April 03, 2007



"The claim that God's creatures are not naturally violent is a claim meant to make you think twice about the word "natural." We were created to be at rest, that is, capable of worshiping God. That we refuse to be at rest, to be at peace, is an indication of our fallen character. But we refuse to believe that God has abandoned us, making possible outbreaks of peace in places most unexpected. For example, look at the work of Jean Vanier and the L'Arche movement. Then you will see what we were naturally created to be. [L'Arche is an international network of faith-based communities involved in creating homes and day programs with people who have developmental disabilities.]"


I like that Hauerwas when speaking about our lack of being able to be at rest or to be at peace speaks of the problem as being due to our "fallen character". CHARACTER has everything to do with how we live our lives- the routines, practices and HABITS that make up our daily experiences.

A people who practice loving one another, practice kindness to strangers, practice prayer and stillness, practice generosity to those in need- if practiced consistently will over time BEcome loving, kind, prayerful, and generous people. When I look around at our culture in America (and most places around the world) I don't see the virtues being lived out that Christ taught us.

I know that I have heard Christian leaders say things like being a servant, being loving, or being kind is natural- that following Christ is natural- we are living the way we were intended to live.

I suppose I sort of believe that but there's more to that. I don't think following Christ and the way he taught his "Christ Community" to live comes to natural to us- loving our enemies, choosing to be last, selling all we have and giving it away, etc...- we have to practice at it- over and over until we have a routine. Routines become habits. And after a time passes- habits become simply who we are.

I think Wesley understood the essential need for people to have certain "practices" or means of grace that if practiced routinely would help people draw closer to the presence of God and to one another.

I'd rather be a part of a community of Christians who share in practices together in such a way that they model to the world what it means to live together peacefully in love than a community of Christians who claim Jesus is their center but their life together looks no different than what is seen and experienced everywhere else in the world.

shalom, stPhransus

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