The addiction of words and the challenge to start living

Last week I had the pleasure of spending time with Mark Scandrette (I also read his book Soul Graffiti, which I highly recommend). Reading his book and spending about 5-6 hours with Mark impacted me significantly. Mark is someone who is really living the gospel, and living it with others (in spending time with him, I couldn’t help but be reminded of George MacDonald – another one who truly lived the gospel). In short, I am feeling a strong call to start living the gospel in a way I have only thought about before.

Here is a quote from Mark’s book that expresses some of what I am feeling.

“Paul of Tarsus noted that ‘the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power’ (1 Corinthians 4:20). I think of how personally addicted I am to words and ideas that are often fragmented from my sensations, feelings, and relationships. We struggle to live in our bodies what we believe in our minds. How is it that so many of us have energy to debate about words but lack the passion to seek love and reconciliation? Or why do we tend to look for God in the pages of a book more than in the face of a friend? In the West we have more ideas about God than encounters with God, treating the message of the kingdom more as an elegant theory than a present reality. Is the name and power of Jesus something to be understood or a presence and power to encounter? From our fragmentation we struggle for a unity between thought and experience.”

I cannot continue living as I have. It is time for change. It is time for less talk and more reality of living the gospel in our world.

I’m sure I’ll be posting more about this in the weeks to come.

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13 Responses

  1. So what does it look like to live the gospel?

  2. I think reading the gospels and seeing what Jesus’ life looked like is one way to start thinking about this.

  3. I’m right there with you. Good stuff.

  4. (Completely tongue-in-cheek…)

    Hmm. Maybe we should read Luke? Or, better yet, how about if we listen to it together? ;)

  5. I’ve given up on Adam and started reading Luke myself. Halfway through so far. Pretty interesting stuff in there!

  6. Am I the only one who finds it ironic that our answers to “the addiction of words and the challenge to start living” is more reading in order to “start thinking”?

    Now, I, too, am definitely more of a thinker & feeler (trying to say I’m right there with y’all, I have no good answers), but where’s the doing in all of this?

  7. I would say that “doing” involves talking, and “doing” requires that we talk about what it is that we’re “going to do.” In other words, action cannot be separated from talk, and vice versa. It is a funny and kind of ironic situation that we find ourselves in, though.

  8. Amanda – I agree. I’m not asking anyone to read anything (including the gospels).

    Scandrette says in his book that we know more about Jesus than those in the early church (because of all the written records we have, etc.). He says we could stop reading the NT right now (he’s not suggesting this) and just start doing what we remember, and we would still have more info than the early Christians. If I am proposing anything, maybe it is to do that.

  9. Adam,

    Thanks so much for this encouragement. I really love the quote from your original post. Here’s another one to consider:

    “No man is a believer , no matter what else he may do, except he give his will, his life to the Master. No man is a believer who does not obey God. Thousands talk about God for everyone believes in Him in this sense. Thousands will do what the priests and scribes–their parsons and pastors—say, for everyone who searches to find what God says and to obey it–who takes his orders from the Lord himself, and not from other men. A man must come to the Master, listen to his Word, and do what he says. Then he will come to know God, and know that he knows Him.”

    George MacDonald

  10. Thanks Chris – here’s another from MacDonald (sorry for the delay):

    “One chief cause of the amount of unbelief in the world is, that those who have seen something of the glory of Christ, set themselves to theorize concerning Him rather than to obey Him.”

  11. […] it and hope to soak in Scandrette’s call to follow Jesus in practical and transforming ways. I blogged some about the affect this book had on me – I hope it continues to work in me for some time. In particular, I hope it continues to spur me […]

  12. […] thinking about this still. Along with Mark, I’ve been thinking about this a […]

  13. […] read Soul Graffiti last year and found it incredibly helpful. I have recommended it to many people, blogged about it, and declared it one of my favorite books of 2007. I’ll say it again – go buy this book. Or […]

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