I was looking through my journal and saw some thoughts I wrote down three years ago, I wrote these before sinking into a very dim atheism, this entry was part of my last effort to hang on to the Christianity I had when I was LDS. I think I was grasping at whether it made sense at all to consider ourselves Christian disciples. Now I realize that it does not make sense to even to attempt Christian discipleship without more than a mere belief that you believe in Christ – a state of grace is necessary. I open them up for discussion to reveal something about how many faithful Mormons see the task of discipleship:
My Journal, September 1, 2012: Pascal mentions that things are different for Christians now because primitive Christians had to devote themselves to the kingdom of heaven, to forsake all safety and security, in essence, to throw their lives away. Becoming a Christian was about throwing your life away. It would destroy your career prospects, make you an enemy of the state, risk all of your life and property. It meant a hell of a lot. What this tells me is that Christianity is simply not for everybody. We simply cannot expect people to be Christians like this. It’s a very difficult task. But its always marvelous when we do see people approach life with this sort of abandon. It’s always a balance of feeling good about what you are doing and a being humble enough to recognize where you need to make drastic improvements, and faith enough to realize that the resources are available, the infinite goodness inside of you that God is able to draw upon. Saying that God does it for us is a way of helping us believe that it is possible for us to do it. And believing that this is possible is the most critical element in discipleship. Without a belief that it is possible to love others in a Christian way, discipleship seems a fools errand. It doesn’t matter where the goodness comes from, the most important idea is to accept that it is there and it is possible. Failure to be a Christian disciple begins with the belief that we simply cannot be the disciples that God wants.
My current take: This line of thinking is still very alive in me, it seems the path of Christian discipleship is still a “great tower” that takes plenty of resource. For many years it seems I was “counting the cost” in the dark, now I am doing the same thing in the light. Then, Christian discipleship seemed like the red pill that stuck you outside the crazy world. through a sort of self-crucifixion. Evangelical Christianity and Mormonism both seemed like the blue pill of clinging to an arbitrary dream of happiness.
Now Christ seems like the red pill that cuts through any illusion, yet consistently delivers joy. I find myself asking the same questions Joseph Smith asked himself: what now? The joy is consistent because it is merely the recognition of complete spiritual and intellectual freedom in Christ. When I was a Mormon I thought religion was merely spiritual practice, which included merely believing things that you knew were not “true” in any regular sense. It’s like redemption every moment rather than redemption every Sunday. In Christ it seems that I am actually free to accept the most reasonable position, even if this comes dangerously close to skepticism.
“In Christ it seems that I am actually free to accept the most reasonable position, even if this comes dangerously close to skepticism.”
What do you mean by this?
That’s a bit unnerving isn’t it?
What’s a bit unnerving?
OK. Not sure I understand what you mean by saying in Christ you are free to accept the most reasonable position. First, what is the freedom. Second, what is reasonable. Third, what does it mean to you to be in Christ.
Not looking for an argument (I promise:)), just clarification on what you mean by your concluding statement.
There is suffering in discipleship and the cross. The forms it takes depend on circumstances both individual and community. Joy comes when we embrace the cross, even with a dose of scepticism.
Jared…and anyone else interested in discipleship, ought give this a listen:
It will be worth your while.
This one (from last night) may be even better. And it’s only 11 min.:
Christian Discipleship…in a nutshell.
Why is “ditto” unnerving? What I meant was, my question is the same as slowcowboy’s original question.
I like what Gundek said.
I would agree that skepticism can be OK. Doubt is not necessarily a bad thing. As long as it is tempered with faith, it leads us to a deeper understanding of God. We should question. We should not take anything for granted. We should be pushed to know God better. A lot of these questions can originate from doubt or skepticism.
Also, the disciple will suffer. He will be confronted with things that cause him doubt. It won’t be easy, but as long as one looks towards the cross, he will find comfort.
I basically agree with you. I think your keynote is “Don’t take anything for granted. Test everything.” Gee, that sounds like 1 Thess. 5:21.
I’ve been trying to figure out how my “ditto” could have been unnerving. Perhaps I was discourteously blunt or crude. Accept my apology. Thanks for telling me how my comment came across so I can improve.
Cal, your ditto is unnerving because it meant you agreed with slowcowboy, and anytime you agree with someone, it should seriously unnerve them because you teach a false gospel taught by false prophets.
You’re kidding. Jared wasn’t unnerved because of THAT. Silly. . . .
In regard to a false gospel, are you saying Jesus is not the Son of God who died on a cross for our sins and that he is not one with the Father in purpose and spirit and that he does not bless those who turn their lives over to him? I thought you had become a Christian (???).
In case you missed it, Kullervo, I believe the LDS is Christian. Surely, you missed that. 😉
The Word of Faith is a false gospel and if you peddle it you’re a false teacher, Cal.
Wrong again. Sorry.
What I mean is YOU’RE wrong again. But you’ll learn with time. 🙂
Sorry Cal, I thought you dittoed the entire OP. I was on my phone at the time.
Jared, I did think of that possibility. I must remember when writing that it’s best to put too many words down than too few.