The missing piece #2posted by Little Mo | Permalink | 0 comments
You know Mark 4. You sow the word and "all by itself" the word grows into a plant that bears fruit. I really believed what I thought this passage was saying. That is - you just plant the word. Don't intefere with it as it beds down, and it might grow into something in the future. Who knows?
Like all the best lies this is nearly true. However, what it led me to do was this type of thing: ask friend to event, sit with them all the way through it, never mention it to them again. Or perhaps a token "what do you think?" Or, share 2 ways to live, and then on my way. Job done. No interfering, God's word will work. Just get the friend along. Just get them to hear. The word, for me, became some sort of magic spell - nothing to do with understanding, grasping, applying - nope just expose to the word and the magic happens. Conversion was a type of spell that "happens" totally separately to the person actually being, you know, a person. Whether they understand - almost irrelevant. Well, not irrelevant but a separate issue. And, of course, this theology was backed up by stories of people whose eyes were suddenly opened in later life to something they heard in their 20s, and it, handily affirmed me in just being able to get on with my life and avoid embarassing spiritual conversations.
Now - don't get me wrong - God miraculously saves through opening people's eyes. BUT, and this is what I failed to get - this doesn't generally happen through people having some experience separate to being a person (although, of course, it may) It comes about through God's Spirit acting on the person being a person: through their conversations, thoughts and emotions. Through the love of their friends, the Gospel "making sense" through the witness of creation and so on. I didn't do follow up well because I expected it to happen "magically" apart from me and my friend being friends - people.
I'm not explaining this well. But seeing creation as God's and people as in his image, although fallen, has also helped me think through the major debate of OICCU days - just words or actions too? In fact, it is all to do with just treating people as people: loving them, befriending them, sharing what is important to me with them, and loving them enough to push on a bit in getting them to talk about the Gospel.
People are made to hear the word of God. People are made to hear the word of God. God's word does his work in the lives of people. Grace isn't magic that happens separate to their humanity. Their humanity is made to see and accept God's grace.