A Passion for Change    

 

                                                        

 

 

 

Professor Bill Such, PhD

A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary

 

 

 

In Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements for the Course

Leadership Strategies for Cultural Transformation (IM 6500)

 

 

 

 

By

Norine Rae

 

 

 

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird:

 it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg.

We are like eggs at present.

And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg.

We must be hatched or go bad.
                                                                          By: C. S. Lewis              

 

Introduction

To bring about cultural change takes time and just as the C.S. Lewis discusses in his statement regarding a bird being hatched there is a struggle that takes place within the shell of the egg to weaken the shell and strengthen the bird. Even that is not enough for once the shell is broken the small bird must still learn to fly. To bring about change in culture the bird must recognize that it has the ability to fly by watching others and stepping out taking a leap of faith. She must learn about the elements around her and adapt to the environment as she ruffles her wings. Her passion must be greater than what she currently knows and desire to face the future with heart pounding and wings growing amidst the challenges around her.  If she is to fly high she must be willing to learn along the way and in her discovery adjust even modify so that she may soar. It is my hope to show in this paper my heart to soar and learn from Jesus as His disciple: for all is lost if the eaglet never hatches. Communion, passion and sanctification are necessary for eagles to bring forth change within culture.

Discipleship to Jesus: Communion, passion & sanctification

Just as the eyes of the small hatchling must adjust to the brightness of the sun in order to see clearly, disciples also have to learn to adjust to the Son’s brightness and truth within this sometimes hostile world. A disciple of Jesus, should be willing to obey His voice and surrender their plans to His (Jn 10:27).  Thus, having a teachable spirit willing to learn from Jesus’ example in the Gospel message is essential to every disciple. Jesus said to His disciples,

If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  "For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.”Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom (Mat 16:24 – 28).

Disciples choose to die to their old life and follow Him taking up the cross in an endeavor to bring kingdom to earth.[1]

Therefore, lives are freely surrendered and passion takes over as believers follow the Risen Christ. Stanley Hauerwas and William  Willimon state in Resident Alien, “The disciples went forward by looking back, by rejoicing in the sense of hope that comes from the realization that God does not leave us alone, and will not let us stay as we are. Through him, we really are getting somewhere.”  By sharing the stories of past victories from pain and defeat we can actually disciple others on their journey in flight. Training them to land and take off well is critical in the steps of flight.

The best example is the hope that set before the world through Scripture and communion with God. It is through communion with God that culture can be changed as individual’s hearts and lives are changed through revelation and sanctification one person at a time. Jesus knew this so He took time to be with the Father and then shared what he learned with the disciples and others. Jesus declared,

No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. "You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.”This I command you, that you love one another (Jhn 15:15).

As a friend and disciple of Jesus believers can be confident knowing  their appointment within culture and that they will bear fruit as they take the Gospel to the nations declaring His goodness (Matt 28:18-20). And what good is the Gospel if it is not delivered in love? Jesus’ life demonstrated love (passion) and we too, as aliens, should choose to love those who persecute us for the sake of the advancement kingdom. If believers do not walk in love the kingdom message is lost.  What is life without love? Surely without passion it is a clanging cymbal or void of life. As “friends of God” Saints do not have to be lonely as Hauerwas suggests for when believers choose to love there are always those in the family in Christ who will grasp even clutch for communion.[2]

The truth is, unless Saints abide in Christ our roots dry up and die. Disciples are called to cultivate the garden and to build in this world in which we live as spoken of in Andy Crouch’s book, Culture Making.[3]  There are those who fear breaking out of their shell for they find comfort in it. It is all they know, yet as they grow in truth the only possible solution is to break free. The scales of culture can grow as disciples expand their horizons by flying higher and allowing ourselves to see new horizons and the possibility for change.  It is exciting to see Godly influence within society knowing that Saints can affect others in a positive way as they live and think Christianly moving forth within the paradox of secular and sacred.  Believers can effectively change culture by making something of the world - trusting God in the ability to make the impossible – possible and transforming the world.[4]  

Transformation comes through love as shared by Walter Wink in The Powers That Be. The commandment to love as demonstrated by Christ is our challenge above all else. It may be a struggle for some to take action within society in a non-violence way.  Believers are called to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them (Matt 5:44). Again, it is may seem impossible, but Saints are able with Christ to choose to “… let go of our hatred and relax into God’s love” as Wink expressed. [5] To love is to forgive and disciples can choice to live as Christ transforming Culture by living a life of forgiveness and redemption thus bring forth transformation by pushing forward with the wind of the Spirit. With the Spirit assisting believers may fly to new heights and greater dimensions of His glory through kingdom living.

To live kingdom on earth Saint must believe in the miracle power of God which was demonstrated by Jesus Christ who gave us authority to bring change to this world. Hunter speaks of taking back territory in Universities, politics, etc… He says we can no longer ignore what is taking place in these institutions.[6]  As disciples of Jesus bringing forth the truth of the Gospel message to all areas of our society should be natural. There is hope in this world and that hope comes from the Saints standing for truth and flying above the storms, sharing revelation from Heaven. Humanity no longer need be deceived by vain imaginations as evil powers and principalities try to exploit the lost and those less fortunate.  As mature eagles Saints must watch out for the young and care for those in need showing them a more virtuous life: one redeemed with Christ.

 

Conclusion

As the eaglet is taught by its parent to fly, I have been taught by the Lord, and now desire to influence others. As a mentor, I will continue to learn as I look to my Father for direction and focus. Like all Saints, if I am to have any effect on culture I must always be willing to grow in the things of God as I am being transformed, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit (2 Cr 3:18).” 

Culture can indeed be transformed over time, but it takes individual’s willing to change from the inside out. To be effective believers must join in communion with God and others to impact culture in every public arena. With eyes fixed on Jesus and truth lived - together Saint can accomplish much from a position of passion and love. Thus, joining forces in kingdom living through sanctification and holiness trusting the power of God to manifest on earth as it is in heaven. Saints will than triumphantly change culture and fulfill their divine destiny.  No longer an egg:  Now soaring - teaching eaglets!  For this is my passion. And I hope the passion of every believer to live in the presence of God and faithfully, bring Heaven to earth through kingdom living.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

Crouch, Andy. Culture making : recovering our creative calling. Downers Grove  Ill.: IVP Books, 2008.

 

Hauerwas, Stanley. Resident aliens : life in the Christian colony. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1989.

 

Hunter, James. To change the world the irony, tragedy, and possibility of Christianity in the late modern world. New York :: Oxford University Press,, 2010.

 

Wink, Walter. The powers that be : theology for a new millennium. 1st Galilee trade pbk. ed. New York: Doubleday, 1999.

 

 

 



[1] Andy Crouch, Culture making : recovering our creative calling (Downers Grove  Ill.: IVP Books, 2008), 140–143.

[2] Stanley Hauerwas, Resident aliens : life in the Christian colony (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1989), 125–127.

[3] Crouch, Culture making, 44–45.

[4] Ibid., 189.

[5] Walter Wink, The powers that be : theology for a new millennium, 1st Galilee trade pbk. ed.(New York: Doubleday, 1999), 175.

[6] James Hunter, To change the world the irony, tragedy, and possibility of Christianity in the late modern world (New York : Oxford University Press,, 2010), 116–118.