I know a few talented artists, some quality musicians, and have even met a sculptor or two. But words have always been my favorite medium. At the end of the day, I suppose I’d rather write the thousand words that a picture’s worth than sit down to paint it.
As a follower of Jesus, I continue to stumble along this journey, living life in the moments between promise and fulfillment. As a Christian, I find myself – as all Christians are – mysteriously grafted into this entirely new history. In Christ, the stories of Adam and Eve, of Abraham and Isaac, of Israel, of Moses, and Ruth, and John, and Mary, and Peter, and Paul – these have become my story. Scripture reminds us that this is a story in which those who were once far off have been brought near, where redemption has been made possible by a loving God, where reconciliation has been sown in the hearts of all who would believe.
In many ways, my words here are about this journey and discovering over and over again what being a disciple of Jesus Christ means. It is my conviction that our words, our language, are powerful. The words that we choose as we speak of these things have an immeasurable effect on the reality of our experience. Often, we need the story of God – where it has been, where it is in our midst, and where is is going – told and retold. We need it to be brought to life, the vibrant colors to be exposed, and cast out before us in new and transforming ways. We need to be drug out of the rut of the mundane, pulled from the temptation of trite expressions, and challenged to be creative in the ways that our living and speaking express the powerful new reality of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So, along this journey I am also in search of new language. New words. New expressions of what it is we believe in and hope for. Or perhaps, since there is little new under the sun, this is an attempt to scour the past and present and shine some light on those places and voices that have something worthwhile to offer us.
At the very least, may the words shared here encourage us each to live a life worthy of the calling that we have received and inspire others to do so as well. At the very most, may these words offer no easy answers, but rather, be a catalyst for the right questions.
“Part of the genius of genuine Christianity is that each generation has to think it through afresh… The Christian faith is a kaleidoscopic, and most of us are color-blind. It is multidimensional, and most of us manage to hold at most two dimensions in our heads at any one time. It is symphonic, and we can just about whistle one of the tunes. So we shouldn’t be surprised if someone comes along and draws our attention to other colors and patterns we hadn’t noticed. We shouldn’t be alarmed if someone sketches a third, a forth, or even fifth dimension that we had overlooked. We ought to welcome it if a musician plays new parts of the harmony to the tune we thought we knew…”
– NT Wright, in foreword to The King Jesus Gospel, by Scot McKnight