If you are just joining the blog, rest assured that this is all pretty new. In my first series, I have been reflecting on what used to be called the spiritual discipline of “stability.” We have been considering the instruction from fourth century Desert Father Abba Anthony who tells his charges that it pleases God if “wherever you are don’t easily leave it.” This surprising saying has led me to comment on the good things that come from Christians who “stay put.”
Since we live in a world where so many are so quick to leave any situation that gets at all uncomfortable, I want us to consider becoming people who are far more likely to stay too long in a challenging situation rather than cut and run the minute the church stops playing our favorite hymn every week.
But if we take stability seriously, it does raise another question, “When do we leave?” Are there times to uproot and move on? Aren’t there experiences where we, like Abraham, are called to follow God to a new place, a new territory, a new call?
There are times when pastors are called to leave churches, when church members themselves may be called to leave churches, and, at least if you are a protestant, when churches may be called to leave associations or denominations (something that I will pick up later this week as we prepare for Reformation Sunday). And discerning those times requires some principals that help us to know when we should “uproot.”
So, what are those times and what are those principles? Tune in tomorrow…
But in the meantime, if you are interested in some further discussion about discernment and Christian decision making, let me suggest either one of my books in the left hand column. Because it is such a concern for so many Christians, I have written extensively about the subject of discernment and wisdom. In It Takes a Church to Raise a Christian, I give a pretty exhaustive theological and biblical account of Christian discernment as practiced in the early church. In Showtime, I offer some basic instructions in developing discernment and wisdom as part of genuine Christian character. Please let me know if these two books help your discernment of life’s challenges.