Actually, doing this blog is my way of trying to act like I know what’s going on, that I’m “up” on things, etc. And in fact I do try to read several other blogs, try to keep up with things, try not to be left too far behind. However, I’m regularly reminded that with all the information out there, with the onslaught of (often) really good resources available, I’m just not able to keep up.
Case in point. I know about the Reformation 21 guys, at least somewhat. I’ve read their blogs from time to time, enjoyed much of it. But again, I’m just a bit slow, and so when I saw a book by Carl Trueman (of Westminster Seminary and a Ref21 blogger), I thought it looked like something I would enjoy reading. Especially when I saw the title: Fools Rush in Where Monkeys Fear to Tread: Taking Aim at Everyone.
Obviously a little satire going on here, and I like that sort of thing, so I got a copy for my Kindle (hey, does that make me hip and happenin’?). Imagine my surprise when it turns out the book is just a collection of essays and articles that Mr. Trueman had posted on the Ref 21 e-magazine. Even more to my surprise, though I’ve read several things there, I hadn’t read any of these.
All this is just an introduction to what I’m trying to get to here. I’ve been enjoying these articles, and one article in particular has been on my mind. In April of 2010 Mr. Trueman wrote and article entitled “An Unmessianic Sense of Non-Destiny.” Again, many or most of you may have read it. I hadn’t. But it’s great and worth the read.
In short, he is reminding us that in the church, it’s not about you. It’s not about the individual. Yes, God saves us individually and has an individual plan for each of us. But the overall plan of God focuses on the Body, not the individual. Yet, we in the church, especially in America, have this sense that it is indeed all about me.
In fact, much of our problems in the church stem from this “messianic” self-portrait; the idea that I’m at the center of God’s plan, that I’m special, that He has some amazing destiny just for me, and the rest of you are just along for the ride. This individualistic approach leads to all sorts of division and dissension when it rubs up against a host of others in the church with the same mindset. We need to be reminded that it’s all about Christ, not about me, not about you.
Again, I’m not saying God doesn’t care for us individually, that He doesn’t have specific plans for us, etc. It’s just that we need a good dose of perspective, one that comes from thoughts like these from Mr. Trueman:
My special destiny as a believer is to be part of the church; and it is the church that is the big player in God's wider plan, not me. That puts me, my uniqueness, my importance, my role, in definite perspective… the world turned for thousands of years before any of us showed up; it will continue turning long after we've gone, short of the parousia; and even if you, me, or the Christian next door are tonight hit by an asteroid, kidnapped by aliens, or sucked down the bathroom plughole, very little will actually change; even our loved ones will somehow find a way to carry on without us. We really are not that important.
Of course, I’m aware of the oxymoronic fact that I’m using the somewhat narcissistic medium of a personal blog to share these thoughts, as if anyone else cares what I think. But it’s helpful for me to put these things in writing, to remind myself if no one else.
Mr. Trueman’s entire article is well worth reading, as is the book collection for that matter. Maybe if we all caught a better glimpse of this simple truth, that it’s not about me, or you for that matter, the church might be a bit more unified and effective in the task we’ve been called to. Indeed, Soli Deo Gloria.