Jesus seemed to revisit the same ideas he wanted the disciples to catch over and over. That is something it seems we in America don't do well? We accumulate massive amounts of information by reading and moving on. Do we ever really assimilate what we need by living that way?
Over the past couple years I have read and listened to many people. Probably 10 different Christian authors and Theologians. Different folks from the other side of the road than I had lived my entire life on. The effect......my thinking began to be reshaped. As I allowed my myself to consider different ideas or ways of looking at things, many things happened. When I ran across something that made me squirm I just stuck with it. Going back to it often and comparing it to the words and the way of Jesus.
Through this process I realized much of my prior thinking was flawed. Walter Brueggemann has become one of my favorite Theologians. He made me very uncomfortable. I had come to see I needed my cage rattled. When I first read an article of his a couple years ago he actually made me angry and I set him aside. The spirit just kept bringing those thoughts he had expressed back to me. I went back to reconsider Brueggemann.
When we get stuck through extreme confidence of what we think is "the way" or we are just stuck because we are surrounded by agreeable people it is hard to even imagine another thought. I'm imagining new thoughts and I am only a shadow today of who I used to be. It is changing how I live in the world.
The predominate culture we find ourselves in has a numbing effect on us all. For those who are numb something must recapture their imagination. The question becomes: Will we heed the call to turn from that which has dulled our senses and has quenched our spirit, and in turn I believe caused us to Americanize the gospel and reduced it to something that is hurtful and destructive? Even when folks make a profession of faith we plug them into this encultured thinking and with that mindset I believe the gospel becomes unintelligible?
I find these words of Brueggemann to be of utmost importance.
This is from the book The Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggemann
He speaks of the culture and it's mindset as the royal consciousness.
"We also are children of royal consciousness. All of us, in one way or another, have deep commitments to it. So the first question is: How can we have enough freedom to imagine and articulate a real historical newness in our situation? That is not to ask, as Israel's prophets ever asked, if this freedom is realistic or politically practical or economically viable. To begin with such questions is to concede everything to the royal consciousness even before we begin. We need to ask not whether it is realistic or practical or viable but whether it is imaginable. We need to ask if our consciousness and imagination have been so assaulted and co-opted by the royal consciousness that we have been robbed of the courage or power to think an alternative thought."
Do we dare to believe in something other than what this world and it's economic, political and religious systems tell us?
"The royal consciousness leads people to despair about the power to move toward new life. It is the task of prophetic imagination and ministry to bring people to engage the promise of newness that is at work in our history with God."