Question: What Do We Actually Practice?

23rd_Psalm.jpgThis week I’ve been reading the Sermon on the Mount as well as much material about the Sermon on the Mount.  I have also been reading Dallas Willard on discipleship.  I heard him speak twice today at Truett Seminary (Baylor University).  So—I am giving a lot of thought to the words of Jesus this week.  If a disciple is a person who learns from Jesus and lives by the teachings of Jesus, then his words carry much weight. 

I have two questions that I want to ask.  Your thoughts will be valuable as I reflect on the words of Jesus and our acceptance or our neglect (usually not a spoken neglect but a passive neglect).

1.  In your experience with various congregations, what teaching of Jesus is either ignored, dismissed, or often just disobeyed?

2.  In your own life, can you point to a particular teaching of Jesus which you regularly ignore, dismiss, or disobey?

(This will help as I think through the teachings of Jesus–not just in understanding them, but in reflecting on our actual practice.)

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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7 thoughts on “Question: What Do We Actually Practice?

  1. Wow, this definitely requires some longer and deeper thought. One of the teachings of Jesus that the church does not take as serious any more are issues of adultery and divorce. When I was young there was church discipline for the purpose of restoration after repentance. Nowadays it seems that there is not a family, that isn’t touched by issues of divorce or adultery. Also fallen by the wayside are times of fasting and public prayer – which we as a church used to hold monthly. Moms with little ones were sent home but the rest stayed in the house of the Lord to fast all day and kneel in intercessory prayer.  Oh, how fervently our brethren prayed publicly! It was wonderful to hear the prayers of everyone, respectfully listening and agreeing with the person who prayed out loud.  Even though we were an immigrant congregation, we gave generously to those who were less fortunate in our church. We looked after our own. We had been given much and we passed it forward. I find that today the church often gives to the poor overseas, but neglects the poor in their own midst and in the greater community. Because there is the foodbank and welfare I personally have also not done my part in giving to the poor. While I pray in my heart at all times, I cannot say that I have fasted since those times in my youth when the whole church got together for fasting. I know that I still need to learn to love more like Christ – and not just my enemies – but also those in the body of Christ who have hurt me.Appreciate the prompting to think more on those things!

  2. In Matthew 6 and Luke 12, Jesus admonishes his disciples, "Do not worry."  In Philippians 4, Paul adds that we should, instead, pray.  So, I’ve often wondered why these scriptures are treated as suggestions instead of commandments.  I know many Christians who wear worry as a badge:  "I worried myself sick over you", "I am so worried about this church" as if this is a productive exercise.  It seems to me that we are tempted to worry about those things in which we have no control so that we will feel as if we are, in fact, doing something about the problem by worrying about it.  However, I think what Paul is saying is that worry and prayer are opposing forces.  I can either worry about it, which is pointless and in contrast to the teaching of Jesus, or I can pray about it, which is what the Bible teaches to do.  So, it seems to me that to worry, although a normal, human tendency, is sin, because every time I choose worry, I am choosing it over prayer.  I can’t do both.  They cancel each other out.  Am I way off base here, because I cannot ever remember hearing a preacher speak so strongly against worry.  

  3. Luke 14:33 "In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple."  I always struggle with the total commitment that Jesus requires.  Too many of us want a social club arrangement.Keith L.

  4. I find the cross of Christ, his suffering and humiliation, and the nature of his atoning work is seldom preached. A cross-centred theology like the apostle Paul's is rare. Nor do I often here church members talking about Jesus out of a sheer love for him. Self-interest seems to dominate many of our "Christian" conversations, hence the constant "how-to" focus of internet theology. From the conservative to the liberal camps a strange distaste for the suffering of God seems to have swept over the Church. I seldom recognize the popular Jesus as the one of the Scriptures. I've become convinced that of all groups, "Christians" like the Biblical Jesus the least.

    • Jan, it is good to hear from you. Thank you for these candid and honest observations. Unfortunately, what you say is so true. Our view of Jesus really does impact our living. I suspect that what is wrong with so many of us can be traced by to an anemic view of Jesus.

  5. Jan, it is good to hear from you. Thank you for these candid and honest observations. Unfortunately, what you say is so true. Our view of Jesus really does impact our living. I suspect that what is wrong with so many of us can be traced by to an anemic view of Jesus.