Today’s Bible reading

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-5

More thoughts for meditation

Rod Dreher is eager for the co-opted church to become a new church for a post-Christian era. For former Evangelicals and lapsed Catholics, especially, he is reaching for some core definitions that re-orient them towards being the alternative we, as Circle of Hope, have been perfecting for many years.

“Benedictine spirituality is good at creating a Christian culture because it is all about developing and sustaining the Christian cultus, a Latin word meaning ‘worship.’ A culture is the way of life that emerges from the common worship of a people. What we hold most sacred determines the form and content of our culture, which emerges organically from the process of making a faith tangible….

In some sense, Christians’ new minority status may help us keep our focus where it ought to be. As southern Baptist leader Russell Moore says in his book Onward, by losing its spiritual respectability, the church is freer to be radically faithful. ‘We will engage the culture less like the chaplains of some idyllic Mayberry and more like the apostles in the book of Acts,’ writes Moore. ‘We will be speaking not primarily to baptized pagans on someone’s church roll, but to those who are hearing something new, maybe for the first time. We will hardly be ‘normal,’ but we should never have tried to be’….

Unbelievers today who cannot make sense of the Gospel’s propositions may yet have life-changing wordless encounter with the Gospel through Christian art or works of Christian love that pull them outside themselves and confront them with the reality of Christ.

The first Christians gained converts not because their arguments were better than those of the pagans but because people saw in them and their communities something good and beautiful – and they wanted it. This led them to the Truth.”

Suggestions for action

Part of this week’s purpose is to let in some Evangelical voices, like Russell Moore. People can change. We want to keep changing. How should you be changing?

What is the Church’s “culture” as far as it was relayed to you? Did you experience it as an entertainment center at some point? Has it been a consumer activity? Was it any different from the world around you? We  want to be the living, breathing transhistorical body of Christ, covenanted in love, distinct from our neighbors but connecting to them. We want our converts and our children to get a feel for Jesus from us. Are you in that or something else?

In your prayer right now, let people in our community come to your mind. Love them. Feel for them. Intercede for them.