The quest for authenticity in my life is one that I think I’m constantly searching for. I want genuine change that isn’t just talk. I not only want my sins forgiven, but I want to stop committing the sins that keep popping up in my life. But the temptation is also there to let things slide. To chalk my anger, selfishness, pride to just being a sinner. In the evangelical world I think the emphasis can lean to heavily toward a “once and for all” view of forgiveness. At the “point of salvation” Christ has forgiven all your sins, both past, present, and future. Though there might be some truth in this from an eternal viewpoint, it doesn’t negate the fact that I need forgiveness everyday for sins and attitudes that I have everyday, and that I need to ask for God to continually work in me to recognize my sin and give me the grace to change. Anyway this is an excerpt from chapter one of “the illumined heart” that is asking the questions of why don’t our lives look differently as followers of Christ?
From Chapter One: The Central Question (or questions)
“… In God’s presence we discover ourselves able to love one another, to be vessels of heroic love, even toward our enemies, even unto death. We find all creation in harmony around us, as responsive and fruitful as the Garden was to Adam and Eve. The peace that passes understanding informs our every thought.
All this sounds pretty good, right? So why are we doing such a crummy job of it? Why are Christians so undistinguishable from the world? Why are our rates of dysfunction and heartbreak just as high? Why don’t we stand out in virtue and joy? Does anyone ever say, “We know they are his disciples, because the love one another?”
How come Christians who loved in times of bloody persecution were so heroic, while we who live in safety are fretful and pudgy? How could the earlier saints “pray constantly,” while our minds dawdle over trivialities? How could they fast so valiantly, and we feel deprived if there’s no cookie at the end of the in-flight meal?
How could the martyrs forgive their torturers, but my friend’s success make me pouty? What did previous generations of Christians know that we don’t? That’s what this book is about.” (pgs. 4-5)