Lesson 9: A Christian Lifestyle

Now we are at the hard part. It is easy to criticize the Christian lifestyle of others. It is much harder to draw up one for ourselves. A lifestyle is the description of the way we live. Whether we are aware or not, it reflects our foundational beliefs.

To confess belief in God is not so much to state we believe a god exists but more that we have faith in the lifestyle associated with a particular god. Jesus points to this when he maintains others shall know we follow him, because we love one another. Luther does the same when he continually states we act in certain ways, because we “fear, love, and trust God above everything else”.

That makes it upsetting to read one survey after another reporting Christians do not live any differently than other groups. It is especially troublesome when they report many Christians support violence, torture, greed, waste, and other actions that many of us think are not consistent with Jesus’ teachings.

This does not mean that all Christians must live exactly the same, but they should certainly share some basic principles. My hope is we can use “comments” to collect features of a Christian lifestyle during August. If I can coax readers to post comments, I’ll build lessons on them. To get us started, let’s share responses to the lifestyle the Company at Kirkridge, a self-conscious ecumenical community, drew up for themselves about ten years ago.

1. Make a real, contemporary, Christian community your reference point.
2. Delink from the world’s value systems
3. Do nothing from prestige alone
4. Live well below your economic peers
5. Practice “fasting” or reducing ones needs or wants.
6. Choose productive, non-violent vocations
7. Live as tenants of a small fragile planet
8. Pay attention to beauty
9. Be generous
10. Avoid waste

Which ones do you like? Which ones do you question? Which would you delete? What would you add? When I go back over the list I am always reminded of Wolfgang Sachs’ observation that the major question in our time is “How much is enough?”

Okay, let’s get started. What does it mean to follow Jesus in our time and place?

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