We live in abstract times. It is easy to slip into a voyeuristic approach to all that is happening as we sit on our plush couches and scroll boredly through the fragments and destruction of lives all around us.
I remember blogging about the re-election of Pres. George W. Bush. Tempers flared on both sides. Emotions ran high. We were naive then. Our political lines seemed so clear. The issues all blacks and whites with no room for the murky, apathy which swirls around us now. A young friend of mine even cornered me over donuts and dark, black coffee to ask, “I don’t want to vote for him. But I’ve been told that if you are a Christian you have to vote for him!”
I may have had a small stroke before responding that while, indeed, the candidate for whom you choose to vote can reflect your core beliefs, there is no broad stroke that brushes Christians into one political camp and non-Christians into another. Any person who forces another to march to their own beat is a bully.
And then I asked her what she thought of the other candidates. And she couldn’t name them.
And I almost cried.
We have forgotten to think. We have forgotten to remember. We have forgotten to search. To seek. To dig deeper than the obvious, deeply ingrained habits of behavior that we are foolish enough to think qualify as actual conviction and beliefs.
That is why I encourage you to read the biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Pastor. Martyr. Prophet. Spy.
Each of these aspects of his life summed up only a fraction of the depth of his personal conviction. He is not a martyr because he was killed. Anyone can die. Anyone can be murdered.
He was a martyr because he was killed because of a far nobler cause than stopping evil. Even more so than saving the lives of the persecuted. He died because he spoke for, lived within, wrote about, and doggedly pursued Truth.
And that was why he chose to pastor. To shepherd. And through his writings, he continues to do so. That is why he was willing to die, was able to see what was happening around him and risk so much to bring truth to all who were in need of its illuminating, life-changing impact.
A passionate pursuit of Truth will revolutionize the way you think. How you think will affect your actions. How you behave will dictate the course of your life as well as the lives of those around you.
The study of those giants in the faith who have gone before us ought never to be done with casual eyes. Never. Look deeply into these lives. Reverently. These are men and women who have run, walked, and crawled on the rough and stony ground of opposing popular and comfortable thought. We should view them with the understanding that they lived far better than we have lived and hold us to a higher standard.
We were created for a bolder life than our apathetic couch. We have reduced ourselves to jaded shells with tired eyes that have seen so much and soft hands that have done so little.
Surely we are not those Dietrich Bonhoeffer spoke of when he looked at his fellow man and stated,
“Who stands fast? Only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God – the responsible man, who tries to make his whole life an answer to the question and call of God.”
But I want to be. Don’t you?
Please join me on this journey and its ensuing discussion at Bookish Thoughts.