On Todd Hunter's blog (the national director of Alpha) here , Todd talks about radical change and the process of how people resist change. As I have been mentioning, I have been thinking a lot about AA and the AA community. At the funeral for a friend this weekend (see below), one AA man stood up and was talking about the men's house and the women's house where they live and he said, "The men sit on one side and the women on the other as is our tradition because we know that mixing it up too much is not good for us". As you probably know, the AA folks often live in community together, share most everything in common, have daily meetings, give away what they have (sobriety) to stay on track, share meals together in a corporate place...and are sensitive to the role of sexuality in getting people off track, so they separate the men and the women...Get the picture. Sounds a lot like the New Testament.
Lord, make your church like that.
Why do people trying to get sober live in community, meet daily etc. while the church doesn't very often at least? I think the answer is urgency.
The results of falling off the program could easily be deadly. The program has very tangible results, and the need to stay on track is vital. The knowledge of the need for change and the reality of the change that is taking place is evident. As evangelicals, we usually think we are OK. The absolute need for continual change is not perceived as urgent. Why is this so? It is because we are not looking nor convinced that we are called to live in a way that is very different than the way we are actually living. BUT let's look at reality. Are we called to struggle all our days with lust and self-loathing? Are we to live in regrets and prayerlessness? Are we to live in isolation and evangelistic ineffectiveness? Or are we called to urgent change?
True, for most of us, our lives will not end up on the street if we do not change like the alcoholic or addict, but we could lose our nation. We could miss the kingdom in our generation!! We could never learn the nature of kingdom living, or we could only learn a slight taste of it. Is this the story we are called to live? Or are we called to change, urgent change? When we are in the Lord's presence, we often see the vision and realize we need change, this is a good thing. We have been coddled with a psycho-babble gospel that teaches us to water down our repentance, but grace says "hope big", "dream big", and "believe big". Like your life depends on it!!! Only then, when we begin to perceive the reality of our urgent need for change, will we come to know that we need community and the daily corporate exercises of spiritual disciplines in order to enter the kingdom and fulfill our calling.