“No corner of creation has been abandoned by God to sin and the devil. We pray, praise, and eat together in order to show the world that there is no corner of creation (even here!) where God’s will is not being done, even in those areas where God is not acknowledged as God. The world, sinful as it often is, is still God’s world where God’s will is being done” (William H. Willimon & Stanley Hauerwas, Lord, Teach Us: The Lord’s Prayer and the Christian Life, 68).
“We have just prayed, ‘your kingdom come,’ a petition full of hope. Now we are taught to say, ‘your will be done,’ a petition for patience. That the virtues of hope and patience should be so joined is not surprising for a people on a journey called kingdom. Indeed our hopes as Christians can make us dangerous if they are not schooled by patience” (William H. Willimon & Stanley Hauerwas, Lord, Teach Us: The Lord’s Prayer and the Christian Life, 65).
I’ve read mounds by Peter Leithart; he is a genuine polymath writer. Theology, check. Literature, check. Sociology, check. Cultural critic, check. History, check . . . but this is the first time that I am aware of where he dabbles in fashion.
“The Christian faith is eschatological, always leaning into the future, standing on tiptoes, eager to see what God is bringing to birth among us. We are created for no better purpose than the praise of God. This is our true destiny. Yet any fool can see that the world is not like that, at least not yet. So Christians, in the Lord’s Prayer, are busy leaning forward toward that day when all creation shall be fulfilled in one mighty prayer of praise” (William H. Willimon & Stanley Hauerwas, Lord, Teach Us: The Lord’s Prayer and the Christian Life, 57).
I’ve often talked about “leaning together into the Christian future.” Now I remember where I picked up that thought-and-phrase.
Also, note their optimism: “Yet any fool can see that the world is not like that, at least not yet. At least not yet, indeed.
- Christians are called to the renewal of their minds, e.g., “But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16 & Rom. 12:2).
- God uses “means” to accomplish this. We should not despise the “means” that God uses. Specifically, Phil. 4:8–Whatsoever is true/noble/right/pure/lovely/
admirable/excellent/praise- worthy . . . think about such things.
- The author suggest focusing your mind on such things by leveraging 1) Scripture and 2) Christian Literature.
- The thing to beware of when applying Phil 4:8 is Legalism. Don’t be a prude and don’t stick your head in the sand like an ostrich. Phil. 4:8 is applied to your life by doing more than merely controlling what you focus on. You discipline yourself regarding what you focus on and how you focus.
- Christians need to know how to Discern and Decide. This is wisdom. Know how to interrogate and analyze current events, your local community, a movie, a novel, the facts of your own life, etc.
- What you focus on, and How you focus, exercising Discernment and Decision-making, etc., all of this requires Disciplining our Minds.
I am aware of the wise warnings against using words like “all,” “every,” and “always” in what I say. Absolutizing one’s pronouncements is dangerous. But I’m going to do it anyway. Here it is: It is impossible for any Christian who spends the bulk of his evenings, month after month, week upon week, day in and day out watching the major TV networks or contemporary videos to have a Christian mind. This is always true of all Christians in every situation. A Biblical mental program cannot coexists with worldly programming. . . . Not watching TV will liberate so much time, it will become virtually impossible not to become a deeper person and a better Christian. . . . I am not suggesting a new legalism which forbids TV and the cinema. . . . But I am calling for believers to take control of their minds–what comes in and what goes out (p. 75).
You can never have a Christian mind without reading the Scriptures regularly because you cannot be profoundly influenced by that which you do not know (p. 77).
- Devotion begins with listening. Devotion is meditation that listens to God’s Word.
- Regarding Scripture: Like the righteous man that Psalm 1 describes — “Murmor it. Memorize it. Pray it. Say it. Share it” (p. 86).
- Where the rubber meets the road: “How much time do you generally spend in conversation with God?” (p. 93)
- Praying “in the Spirit” occurs through the indwelling Holy Ghost, see Rom. 8:26-27.
- Convicting questions — Have you learned the discipline of continual/persistent prayer? Do you have tenacity and persistence in praying for your family? For your church? Do you have a written prayer list for use during disciplined prayer?
- The following quote is a modest but excellent goal — the author recommends:
Better to commit yourself to a total of fifteen minutes and maintain it–with perhaps five minutes of Bible reading, five minutes of meditation, and five minutes of disciplined prayer. A regular time of devotion and prayer will become a habit, and the habit of prayer will give wings to your spiritual life (p. 105).
- The author highlights the meaning and importance of worship.
- See page 111 for a survey of worship in the Bible.
- Worship is to be God-centered.
- Worship is the priority of man’s life, e.g., What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
- The author says that worship takes discipline. “Many Christians have never though through the meaning and importance of worship” (p. 100).
- The author provides practical direction for prayer/preparation on Saturday evening, as well as on Sunday morning, for Lord’s Day Worship (see pages 118-119). God uses these spiritual disciplines to prepare us to worship God “in spirit and in truth.”
There is no getting around it: worship requires discipline. We are to worship God “in spirit and in truth,” and this is impossible without discipline. We must discipline ourselves to know God’s truth so we can worship Him in truth. We must discipline our human spirit, so that authentic affections pour in spirit from our hearts to God. We must discipline ourselves in preparation for corporate worship, and that does not begin with the thirty seconds after we have breathlessly sat down (p. 118).
“Baptism is a call to come be citizens of Israel, to become part of God’s weird way of saving the world” (William H. Willimon & Stanley Hauerwas, Lord, Teach Us: The Lord’s Prayer and the Christian Life, 54).
“Perhaps the elusiveness of the kingdom is why most of Jesus’ teaching was teaching about the kingdom. Imagine a sermon that begins: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:3-5). Blessed are those who are unemployed, blessed are those suffering terminal illness, blessed are those who are going through marital distress. The congregation does a doubletake. Blessed? Fortunate? Lucky? What kind of world is this? . . . In this topsy-turvy place, our values are stood up on their head. Little in this kingdom comes naturally. It comes because God is in charge and because we are invited to be part of God’s rule” (William H. Willimon & Stanley Hauerwas, Lord, Teach Us: The Lord’s Prayer and the Christian Life, 55-56).
“There may be some faiths that detach the individual believer from concern about earthly matters, who strive to rise above outward, visible concerns like swords and shields, wine and bread, politics and power. Christianity is not one of those religions. We want you, body and soul. Indeed, we believe that your body is your soul. So we’ve got opinions about the way you spend your money, invest your time, cast your ballot” (William H. Willimon & Stanley Hauerwas, Lord, Teach Us: The Lord’s Prayer and the Christian Life, 52-53).
“Our goal is not to fill you with enough spiritual hot air to float you a foot above the earth. Our goal is to teach you to pray in such a way that material matters like politics and bread will be for you spiritual matters” (William H. Willimon & Stanley Hauerwas, Lord, Teach Us: The Lord’s Prayer and the Christian Life, 50).