Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Practicing EasyYolk

"Take my yolk upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yolk is easy and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:29-30

…Christian identity is not primarily to be found in statements or debates or arguments, but in particular practices, commitments, and habits. Christianity is not principally something people think or feel or say—it is something people do. The narrative of the Gospels is the story of what Christ did, and what God did in Christ, and the scriptural narrative shapes and inspires disciples to go and do likewise.
Stanley Hauerwas, Performing the Scriptures

How do we confront the dominance that saturates our world?
We followers of Jesus' 'easy yoak' must be disciplined in order to live alternatively. Here's a sample EasyYoak training regimen for those of us who pledge allegiance to the inaugurated reign of God in Christ:

1. Prayer & Meditation

Ancient practices like the Benedictine 'chewing' on Scripture called lectio divina and forms of centering prayer can focus and root us in our radical vocation.

2. Studying the Script

We believe the Bible is a script to be interpreted [with both innovation and consistency] and enacted, not an inerrant encyclopedia of timeless truths or eternal principles. Reading and re-reading the Script allows us to live faithfully and imaginatively, bringing God's Kingdom to our present contexts.

3. Fasting

When we get a taste of how painful and uncomfortable it is to miss meals we can begin to empathize with the 1/2 of the world who live on less than $2 a day. This cleanses us and brings us into solidarity with the oppressed and marginalized.

4. Emailing the Powers-that-Be: President/Senators/Congressman/etc

Jesus confronted the powers, so should we. In a democratic society, we can be 'lobbyists for the least of these' by communicating clearly, creatively and consistently.

5. Writing Letters to the Editors of Local Publications

The 'easy yoak' of Jesus needs a voice today, more than ever, especially living in southern Orange County, a hotbed of Constantinian and acculturated Christianity. Those of us who model 'the prophetic twist' need to energize and criticize.

6. Sharing Possessions

We live simply so that we can share abundantly. Local food banks and the Third World need systemic change, first, but charitable donations as well. God's people don't hoard:

This is what the Lord has commanded: “Gather as much of it as each of you needs, an omer to a person according to the number of persons, all providing for those in their own tents.” ’ The Israelites did so, some gathering more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, those who gathered much had nothing over, and those who gathered little had no shortage; they gathered as much as each of them needed. [Exodus 16:16-18]

7. Rallying/Protesting against injustice, greed and oppression.

Only those desperate for peace and justice will proclaim it publicly.

8. Dialoguing with the Other [‘seeking the perspective of the periphery’]

We need to intentionally listen to those on the margins. Interethnic, intercultural relationships allow God's Spirit to transform us and the entire world.

9. Consciousness Raising

We are committed to reading articles, listening to lectures, watching documentaries [etc] to learn more about God's world and how we can participate in putting it back together. This is rooted in what prophetic Jews [like Jesus of Nazareth] call takun olam.

10. Subversive Consumption

Some corporations really care about social and environmental issues...and some don't. We vote for 'a new world' [II Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15] with our wallets.

11. Building our coalition

As we enage in prophetic action, we invite others to join our movement. This is what we believe the New Testament practice of 'evangelism' or 'sharing the gospel' means: come and join the people who do what God wills. Or as Jesus prayed: 'on earth as it is in heaven!'

--Theological Autopilot

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