"it was david bosch who rightly noted that 'discipleship is determined by relation to Christ himself not by mere conformity to impersonal commands. the context of this is not in the classroom (where 'teaching' normally takes place), or even in the church, but in the world.* to be true, evangelical thinking reverberates with this idea. we emphasize the primacy of our relationship with Jesus and not to mere ideas about him, and we claim that this is an all-of-life phenomenon, but it is our lifestyle practices and not our thinking that constantly let us down in this matter." - alan hirsch, the forgotten ways, pg. 113
Christ does not call us to visit prisoners, feed the poor and clothe the naked so that we can develop a virtuous life. rather, Christ calls us to visit prisoners, feed the poor and clothe the naked because it is within such groups of people that He most fully dwells.
historically, i have been more concerned with my failure to maintain consistent quiet times, keep up with contemporary theology and fully invest in my pastoral "profession," than i have been concerned with loving my enemies, listening to the broken and breaking bread with the bedraggled. reading the statement above reminded me that unless i serve and sacrifice myself on behalf of the least, biblical knowledge and personal piety are of little or no value. for this reason, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, i hope to refocus my life on moving towards the center of all things and trusting that in the process of doing so the theological and spiritual details will work themselves out.
i think this personal movement from a "bounded set" view of christianity to a more "centered set" perspective is as important for the community of God as it is for this little disciple. i would like to spend a few moments explicating the latter movement but am going to spend a few more moments serving Christ instead.
* d. bosch, transforming mission (maryknoll, ny: orbis, 1991), 67.