Sunday, February 17

The Great Omission

I find these comments by Willard deeply insightful and challenging:

"The overshadowing event of the past two centuries of Christian life has been the struggle between orthodoxy and modernism. In this struggle the primary issue has, as a matter of fact, not been discipleship to Christ and a transformation of soul that expresses itself in pervasive, routine obedience to his "all that I have commanded you." Instead, both sides of the controversy have focused almost entirely upon what is to be explicitly assered or rejected as essential Christian doctrine. In the process of battles over views of Christ the Savior, Christ the Teacher was lost on all sides.

"Discipleship as an essential issue disappeared from the church and with it there also disappeared realistic plans and programs for the transformation of the inmost self into Christ-likeness. One could now be a Christian forever without actually changing in heart and life. Right profession, positive or negative, was all that was required. This has now produced generations of professing Christians who, as a whole, do not differ in character, but only in ritual, from their nonprofessing neighbors; in addition, a massive population has now arisen in America who believe in God, even self-identify as spiritual, but will have nothing to do with churches . . ."  --The Great Omission, pp.109-110. 

I highly recommend this book! Strikingly, I read a couple days ago in Mother Teresa's writings that in founding the new Missionaries of Charity, her plan was for all new members of her order to go through a two-year orientation process. The second year would be active service among the poor, but--listen to this--the first year was devoted to formation: almost complete solitude, spiritual direction, much prayer and meditation. She understood that without this kind of personal transformation, no one could sustain the kind of ministry envisioned. To this day Missionaries of Charity spend hours in prayer daily, take communion daily, and take retreats after every several weeks in active ministry. 

Striking that one of the few places in our world where the character of Jesus has shone like a light in the darkness has been where formation of people as disciples--students--of Jesus has been taken seriously. 

1 comment:

Larissa said...

I'm in the middle of The Great Omission, and have been rocked by it!