Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sweating over discipleship

Spoke at a seminar for Baptist Christians this morning on discipleship. About 60 or so came and listened, joined in with questions and then had lunch together.

It went well. William was translating for me and did an excellent job. I found myself slipping into a rhythm of speaking in sentences without sub-clauses. And while it felt a little stilted, I did feel myself able to focus better and not stray from the point buoyed along by my oratory or flights of fancy.

I do feel sheepish about teaching Sri Lankans about discipleship, however. it seems to me we've a lot to learn from their grasp of the Gospel and commitment to Jesus. I found the question and answer time very challenging and have come away with a lot to process.

What I was reminded of, however, is that there is a lot of nominalism in the church over here. There are still good numbers of people who go to church because it's the thing to do, what their family has always done, where they meet their friends, etc.

Time and again I was asked about how we help, encourage or cajole people to take Jesus more seriously. I said all the obvious things in answer but came away thinking that exactly the same issues beset us in the UK; our churches are awash with Sunday Christians who seemingly want nothing to do with Jesus during the rest of the week.

John was right in his letters to the seven churches in Revelation to stress that apathy was a bigger killer of Christian commitment than persecution. It was then. It is now. And it is no respecter of national boundaries or cultures.

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