Shouldn’t discipling be beautiful?

“But it’s not about what I need, is it?”

The journey continues. Another blackboard. Another piece of chalk. And the thought that Love is not enough. My biggest hugest bestest Love will always be too small for God. The Love of God is just way too big for my little brain.

Or that it might just be God saying to me, “It’s not about what I need, Paul.” That too much of what we do, believe, preach is not what God needs. It is about what we need God to be. It is about us. Which might be very selfish. When we dress it up as what god needs. Very disingenuous.

An example.

Making disciples. I keep reading that phrase. I keep reading we have been charged with making disciples. It is the one thing Jesus commanded. I see it has been turned into a verb. It has become Discipling. It has become “Let’s go make disciples.” For me that phrase conjures up some blue chip team building exercise … For me that smacks of a go getting sales team. All trying to hit target to get the biggest bestest prize. “Let’s go discipling”

Don’t misunderstand. I have no wish to become boring here. It’s just that I find myself wondering if God cringes each time he hears that phrase. Watching his “me me me papa” children. “Watch me papa, watch me papa, me me me papa”. Watching all of his children. Each and every one of us. No favourites. No best – no worst. All of us together – just “his children.” Why should it be any different than just that? Does god “need” it – need us – to be different. Or is that our need.

The word “sacred” again. Popping up without invitation. Reappearing by itself. Each of us as sacred to god as the other. No “need” to be different. No need to be the same.

And I think of my own family. And the joy, the sheer unadulterated joy, when I saw one of my children wander up to another. Interrupt them. And ask. And the interrupted one would know. Would know the question was real. Somehow they always knew when it was real question. And they would answer. Really answer. In the same way it was asked. Beautiful.

Each of them did it to each of them (short pause while I run some wonderful memories prompted by that thought). It Is Beautiful.

It is beautiful. I was recently asked by someone “Is Jesus real? Is he real for you? How do you know?” And I knew it was a real question. I knew. Interrupting my making cups of tea for others. And my only answer was one that spoke her unspoken need. And answered her question. No more no less. It was beautiful. And the freakiest thing?

I have just realised that was her response to my answer: “That is so beautiful.”

(“Have you ever loved someone? Loved them so much you never want them to leave.” It seemed it was me speaking her language. His language. Without any effort. Any thought)

I am 56. That is the first and only time anyone has asked me that question. Directly. For real. Because they wanted to know. And will it make a difference? Will God chalk up just one tick against my name? “Paul: 1 … must try harder.” Because maybe that young person will never ever think about Jesus again. Maybe that person might become the most gifted person of her generation. Who knows? Why is it even worth knowing? Why do I need to know? Why does God need me to do His job? Why would I want to do his job?

Maybe it is just me. But doesn’t “discipling” too easily miss one very simple fact. We too easily dehumanise our own family. We might even be dehumanising ourselves. Because we are all God’s children. He has no favourites. Not even the go getting discipling ones. I think that this “discipling” stuff should be beautiful. Because it is “about” something truly beautiful. Us. God. Love.

Sacred. Now joined by a second word. Beautiful. And then a third word gatecrashes this party. Child.

I look up and note that both those two paragraphs are about children, young people. That is key. That is bible. That is Jesus. That is God. That simple acceptance of the moment in this moment. No science. No theology. No bible. Just love.

And there was me, on the point of giving up on love as the answer. Here it is again. And a knowing. No whispers this time. Just a knowing.

My brain is too small to comprehend God Love. So why fill that small space with anything other than as much love as will fit into it? Why take up space with Beliefs … Isms … Ologies … Why take up space memorising Bible … Verses to be used … To slice and dice … Why use this sacred space for anything else? Is that what god “needs” of us? Or is that what we need of us?

And the board is full again. That phrase really upside down “it’s not about what I need, is it” – it’s back to front – inside out.

And a final whisper as I pause to look – – – “Love … Is … Not … Need”
The Conversation continues ..
Little Monk added this – which I find incredibly helpful:

8 thoughts on “Shouldn’t discipling be beautiful?

  1. How gorgeous this is, Paul…

    I may have a speck on my glasses, though… for when I look upon your Blackboard… it seems the words are:

    And a final whisper as I pause to look – – – “Love … Is … Not … to… Need”

    O’ course, perhaps I just need to clean my glasses.

    Grace — LM


  2. Pingback: When One plus One equals One | The Postmodern Mystic

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