Sunday, July 08, 2007

Cair Paravel



L to R: Peter (a neighbor; I used to babysit him when he was 4), Aslan (aka Papa Rooster, my husband), Lucy (our dear friend from the day she was born), and Susan (aka Blondechick14, my daughter)

Four thrones are waiting
For the promised kings to come,
Four thrones that are rightfully their due.
And if you prove worthy,
Worthy and true,
Sons of Adam, Daughters of Eve,
The four thrones are waiting for you.
The ancient prophecy
May soon now come to pass...
And you may fulfill your destiny
In Cair Paravel.

The other day at Target, I noticed a large sign for a weight loss product. It asked something like: "Are you ready to commit to the challenge?" The question stirred me, for a moment--and I have no need to lose weight! I thought of how much more effective this marketing approach is, compared to the empty promises of quick, easy attainment.

Jesus never promised his followers that the Christian life would be easy. Suffering, He did assure us, and a life of risk, of daring hope and blind trust--and a noble destiny He promises as well, to the faithful. What He calls us into is no cushy life, but a Challenge--an Adventure!

6 comments:

G's Cottage said...

But Jeanne, every evangelism program script and most altar invitations include either a direct statement or an allusion that problems evaporate, nothing bad happens and you have tons of friends. Then reality hits them up side of the head after the newcomers lunch is over. I have not been to your churches so maybe they are different. The point is that many people expect cushy because it is the bill of goods presented in the sales pitch. It is aided by our western cultural indoctrination that the correct choice will result in smooth-sailing whatever the scenario. Feel free to delete this if you feel it is too strongly worded.

At A Hen's Pace said...

Deb--

I agree--I think that one of the major problems of the American evangelical church, in general, is this "happiness" gospel.

Our (sending) church IS different in that people are much more open and honest about their struggles than in most churches, it seems. It may be because we had a very active healing ministry at a formative time, with two authors and conference speakers attending our church for years--they drew a lot of broken people who knew they needed help. Our senior pastors have always been honest about the reality of suffering--it's almost a buzzword in their teaching. That we all will suffer is a given; it's how to suffer rightly that we talk about a lot.

It's one of many reasons why we feel called to plant another church like it!

Jeanne

Anonymous said...

To get in on the discussion, I think that "happy" message comes through in some denominations more than others. Most of the invitations I hear in my denomination and on our Christian radio which features preachers from several groups, do not promise health/wealth, rather a new life and new relationship with God/Christ starting with forgiveness of sins, quite rightly. Pianomum

At A Hen's Pace said...

Mom, the "health and wealth gospel" is definitely tied to certain denominations, and it's not what I mean by the "happiness" gospel.

What Deb is talking about is the implication that often comes with the gospel message, that if you receive Jesus as your savior, all your problems will disappear. I definitely absorbed that message growing up--I remember as a teen going through what I considered to be some hard times and wondering why, if I was a Christian, I was having problems?

You don't often hear, in an altar call, that the Christian life will be filled with suffering and even persecution, but that there is nothing more exciting, more meaningful, more significant than the adventure of following Jesus.

I think the evangelical church is on a corrective path, and that generally, it's less that way than it used to be. Christian radio counseling shows have been a great forum for committed believers to discuss godly, healthy ways to handle trials and suffering. Unfortunately many churches and their related small groups are not places people can discuss their problems. (I hear this repeatedly from people who end up at our church.)

Jeanne

Anonymous said...

Jeanne:

I agree. We were just discussing this at church on Sunday. In fact, I find life easiest when my relationship with Christ is not where it needs to be. Usually, that is what snaps me back. I realize that I am smooth sailing and that my faith has not been tested lately. It's easy to drift. And yes -- I have noticed that salvation is sold as the easy road sometimes.

A little off the subject - and it is scary to admit - I find myself drifting from God sometimes when I know there is something that I need to pray about, but I know that God's resolution and my idea of a resolution are two different things. Sometimes I run ... knowing good and well that with his resolution might be some pain and suffering. But, he reminds me that I'd rather be in his plan, walking with him beside me, to carry some of that pain, than to walk alone.

Thanks for the post! I think I saw the same stuff at Target. And no -- you don't have ANY weight to lose.

Love,
Sis in law in Florida

At A Hen's Pace said...

Sis,

Thanks for chiming in. I think you and I are a lot alike!

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Jeanne