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Friday, April 21, 2006

Random Pondering

OOPS: Updated at 1:24 pm to correct the link. Sorry bout' that

I'm reading "The Millennium Matrix" by M. Rex Miller. This is a book my pastor read and it piqued my interest so it's on loan to me. Let me just say I am going to have to buy it. It's almost like a text book in that there is so much information and I'm a book marker, always have been, no apologies, it just makes it VERY DIFFICULT to "borrow" books because I like to mark and note pages and passages.

I read through a passage yesterday that I want to share and then pose a question. The passage is titled "The Hunger for Authenticity". The premise is that the Gen-Xer's are seeking authenticity in church and in life as a whole. What I heard is: they aren't willing to "play church" even at the expense of their spiritual existence.

Mr. Miller was speaking with one of these Gen-Xer's informally. He had a short conversation with him and...well here are his words:

"He said that he was comfortable because I did not 'hype' him by portraying an image of having my act together. He appreciated that I did not open the Bible in order to leverage my perspective. We talked friendship, not formulas, and we did not end with any agenda accomplished."

I love this passage. It validates my imperfection. I am imperfect and it's seemed to be a source of contention in some formal "church" settings.

Mr. Miller goes on to say:

"Authenticity derives its power out of a clear sense of identity...Authentic cultures combine the qualities of reality (seeing things as they are) and authenticity (being who you really are) in order to connect with those unique qualities that define their identity. Once they grasp those qualities and harness them, these cultures quickly become beacon lights that attract others. When the church reclaims this wisdom, the world will come to its doors."

Well that gets me excited! Really it does. First, that my pastor is impassioned by this line of thinking enough that he would encourage my reading of it. Secondly, that there IS validation in my being who God made me to be, imperfections and all! I'm not trying to use this as an excuse to drop the F-bomb (which I do occasionally). Rather, I am excited because there is truth in authenticity that is not always found inside a church building.

Here are my questions: Is there a price for this authenticity (personal and/or cultural)?

and ~ What does authentic living look like to you?

Happy Friday!

9 comments:

the voice said...

The price for being authentic? I would think it would be your pride. My view on authentic living is that you are doing it when you are living true to the words of Jesus as they apply to you, and not living the way any other person tells you, be it your pastor, parent, friend or spouse. If you are truly living authenticly, you should have no guilt in your life. Does that make sense?

Queen Beth said...

That was powerful! It's taken me alot of years to accept myself as made just the way He wanted me to be made. Meaning, who I am is just right. After years of being told I had to "work" on this and "work" on that, I realized that it wasn't for others to fix me, but for God to fix what he wasn't happy with. Acceptance for who I am is finally becoming achievable.

Shalee said...

I second both you, the voice and queen beth. I also feel that the price of authenticity is being viewed differently and standing by your decisions that are based on God's Word. The world just doesn't get the "not my will, but God's" mentality because often they are fooled into seeing this place as a live for yourself world.

Sadly authenticity is not always accepted with fellow Christians. I just try to keep being the me that God made me (real and open) and if they have issues with it, they can take it up with me. After hearing them, I send them on to God.

Authentic living is being real with problems and joys, admitting faults or temptations, but being released from the burden of them because you understand (even if it is a minute comprehension) God's grace. It also means that no matter what you will, in the end, believe that you are safe in the Father's hands and there is an overwhelming sense of peace that comes with it.

(This authentic living doesn't mean that you are happy and serving all the time. It means that despite your ups and downs, highs and lows, God is seen in you, in church and out in the world. After all, Jesus went to the people; he didn't call them into the church and talk to them. He met in their homes, out on the road, in the fields and at the market. This is where you will find the harvest.)

Dismantle Queen said...

Wow!!! You have captured my attention, I have read this 3 times, I am stumped. This is challenging to me,I am going to work on this.

Kristen said...

Wow, this is heavy stuff for a Friday when my brain is already only functioning at half capacity. Authenticity, I believe, is being who you are regardless of what others believe you should be. The trick, I think, is knowing who you are in order to be authentic. Sometimes I feel as though I am, other times I do not.

I am a Gen-xer, and ironically, we have been discussing the whole "playing church" thing in Sunday school lately and the fact that the "older" (read, gen-xers parents age) people don't seem to want to let the young ones begin to take a more active role in the church because they feel we don't want to work and are not committed.

Anyway, this made me think, despite my distaste of that today. :-) Thanks!

HeyJules said...

Great post today! Let me just say that when I read the paragraph on what authentic living is I immediately thought of MY pastor and MY church. Now how cool is that?

The church I attend wants every single person that walks through its doors to be a contributor and to do so in a way that honors who they are and how God "gifted" them. Nobody gets told "you're too old/young" for anything. The kids on up help with services, take part in the classes, and have a say in what our church participates in.

As for authentic living and what it looks like to me...I guess I don't see it so much as I feel it. Am I lined up with God's dreams for me? Am I coming into my own in different areas of my life? Do I go to bed at night and have more things to be thankful for than things to complain about? Then that to me is living an authentic life.

kpjara said...

I loved all these responses. I love that we live in a time and place where we can FREELY talk about what this means and how it applies.

For me the cost is definitely "pride" as The Voice mentioned. It's been both freeing and a bit uncomfortable to hear God speak to me differently about specific Scripture then someone else...and then ACT on it the way He has spoken it to me.

great2beme said...

To me it means to be you no matter what others say. To so the things you no are right no matter what the outcome may be. My daughter says that when we pick on ourselves we are picking on God's work and who he created us to be the "REAL US" pretty insightful for a 15 year old. Pride is the cost and fear is the speed bump to getting there but some days we will and some days we won't. Now I better go and find "ME" :)

Morning Glory said...

Kim, I've been moving this post around and around in my mind trying to sort out what it says to me. It's really thought-provoking.

I think being authentic for me is living honestly. So much of my life was sincerely spent trying to look like I had it all together. I've learned that it's ok to have weaknesses and human feelings and hurts and pains, and to let others KNOW that I do. It somehow breaks down barriers when we realize that we all are going through a lot of the same things. If I can "own" my imperfections and lessons in life, I have a lot more to contribute to others in need.

I hope that makes sense. This is still rolling around in my brain and I'm not sure I got it yet.