Pastor' Column: Jesus' way should be our way
February 18. 2014 6:11PM
Recently, our church family began to read a book by Dr. John Wood, titled “Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Mission.”
In it, the author takes a hard look at life in the church today, and challenges us out of our complacency. He identifies a number of “isms,” that he feels are bringing great harm to our world, and to our faith lives. These “isms” include relativism, hedonism, minimalism and individualism. Let’s take a brief look at each of these.
Relativism is the prevailing idea that there really are no set truths in this world. Truth becomes whatever I choose it to be – it is relative to the individual. Objective truths do not exist, and each person is free to hold their own self-created truths. This is causing great harm, as our culture loses all of its “filters,” and begins to accept any beliefs as valid, no matter where they come from.
Hedonism is the search for pleasure – the belief that life is just for the taking, and that personal pleasure is the goal. Much selfish behavior arises from this – the kind of a world where we tend to love things and use people, rather than love people and use things.
Minimalism is the approach of doing only what one needs to do to get by. It shows itself when people do only what is demanded of them, and little more. It is a self-centered approach that never looks toward real growth in life, but simply surviving and getting by.
Lastly, he speaks of individualism, which is very present in our culture. While our religious beliefs certainly support the rights and dignity of the individual, Jesus teaches us over and over again to be other centered, not self-centered. I can either approach life in terms of what I think it owes me, or what it can do for me, or I can look to the welfare and good of others.
Jesus tells us that is the Way, the Truth and the Life. If we are to truly be God’s followers in this world, we must turn to the Lord to discover truth, listen to the teachings of the Lord and his church to find our way, and always rely on the grace of God to sustain our life.
If we go our own way – making up our own truths as we go, indulging our own needs in a search for pleasure, doing the least we can to get by with, and always putting our individual needs before the needs of others – we are not following the way of Jesus. Let us turn to God who is Truth, find our joy in loving others and go the extra mile each day to care for others. This is the way of Jesus – it should be our way as well.