Sunday, May 26, 2002

Just for kicks, and because it still applies, here's a little thing I wrote on January 23, 2002:

God continues to move in my heart. I’m becoming more of a mystic by the day – whatever it means to be a mystic. All I know is that there is a stirring in my spirit that I don’t think I’ve had before. Perhaps I have, but not at this depth, and not for this long. It’s a gift, truly. But what a dissatisfying gift. I feel like I’ve been allowed to look into a holy place, but only through a distorted, foggy window. I can make out shapes and colors, but not faces and images. Maybe I just need to grow up in these mystical experiences and gifts before things come clearer, or maybe this is just how it is. I guess I’ll have to answer that one later. All I know is that I dare not chase after the mystical life and experience too vigorously lest I artificially create a world that isn’t there. I want to be drawn seductively by the Spirit of God into his holy place – I don’t want to try to barge my way in as if I had a secret recipe. If I did have a secret recipe, I’d probably try to sell it! This life (that is the mystical life) is not something that can happen by my own choosing, except by the choice to let God move me there. Submission is really the only way. It’s like wanting to taste chocolate, but not wanting to eat chocolate, because eating takes too much initiative and control of the experience.

The power of grace and redemption is enormous. Why do people resist it? Grace sounds too good to be true. Redemption sounds too painful to really pursue. The people of God want community with him and each other. I’m convinced of it. They want that safe place where they can let down their guard without fear of judgement. They want to know God forgives and can heal them of their brokenness. They want real friends who struggle the way they do. They want a depth of experience that has a bigger payoff than any promise of experience they’ve had before.

Brokenness is a frightening place, though. It is the place where you have to face your fears. The fear that what you’ve convinced yourself all along is wrong – that you don’t know better than God, that you can’t provide deep peace for your own soul, that people are incapable of living up to the trust you want to place in them, that money or food or sex or power will not satisfy. The fears go on and on, but ultimately, one must look those fears in the face and say, “Bring It On.” Brokenness is completely abandoning pride. I don’t know of a more frightening concept than that.

Without that, though, we will not experience community. God, in his great grace will not allow it. The deep things of him that you can find and experience with all your senses are too precious, too valuable, too costly.

Not two days ago I said that I will not stay in a place – a church – that makes a practice of patching peoples’ sin up and carrying on with business as usual. It turns my stomach to think of it. And yet, I fail to fully grasp the devastating consequences of that statement. If what I say is to be true, then I have yet to see and taste the life of community. We are all too proficient at patching things up – usually by trying to sew a new patch of cloth onto an old one.

New wine is for new wine skins. For people here and now to experience the “new” wine of community, they will have to throw away their old wine skins. They will have to be broken before a holy God. Some will not be able to handle that. Some will try to get away with something less than brokenness. Those who do get away with it jeopardize the rest of us. They are a danger to themselves, but also the body of Christ.

A radical experience with Hebrews 3:13 is needed. “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Community is the place where we encourage one another, and the result of that encouragement is protection – not merely protection from sin, but the deceitfulness of sin. Meditate on that. Chew on it. Be deeply fed by it, and then energized by it.

posted by Steve at 6:30 AM
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I'm Steve Lewis. This used to be my blogging home. My online home is now at When this blog was my active online home, I lived in Seattle. Now I live in London, UK. I follow Jesus (poorly most of the time), worship simply, read a lot, watch culture, go to school, listen to music, write, enjoy art, and drink a lot of coffee.
e-mail me:

seattle spots

victrola coffee
zoka coffee
university of washington
church of the apostles
quest church
sanctuary church
shoreline vineyard

sites i visit

off the map
nt wright

a few of the blogs in the feedreader

jason evans
joe boyd
kevin rains
alan creech
chris marshall
bill bean
eugene cho
jordon cooper
dwight friesen
john chandler
amy palmer
ryan bolger
rudy carrasco
ryan sharp
sings in the sunshine
rick bennett
scot mcknight
karen ward
alan hirsch
dan kimball
petey crowder

i'm reading it

colossians remixed
africa unchained

i finished reading it - 2007

generation me
jesus and the restoration of israel
god's continent
globalizing theology
gustavo gutierrez: essential writings
jesus and the eyewitnesses
garlands of grace
twenty poems to nourish your soul
the black swan
dancing in the streets
made to stick
signs in contemporary culture
hit the bullseye
the politics of jesus
readings in christian ethics
toward old testament ethics
the kite runner
principles of conduct
velvet elvis
the irresistable revolution
they like jesus, but not the church
the great omission
charisma: the gift of grace, and how it has been taken from us
the starfish and the spider
a perfect mess
the world cafe
the new faces of christianity
leaving church
journeying in faith
the creed
transforming mission
metaphors we live by
foolishness to the greeks
personal knowledge

states i've spent time: 2007

british columbia
oh yeah, denmark, too

i wrote it

managing conflict in the 'new world'
music review: over the rhine
film review: bonhoeffer
music review: fighting jacks
film review: the passion of the christ
how reality tv changes lives
the best tv article you've ever read
corks & caps: a wine lover's story of change
america's idols
random, disorganized thoughts about life after the katrina disaster
missional . . . plain and simple
on becoming post-gnostic

i blogged it

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