Rearranging ALSO

I am cursed by over-optioning myself. I'm always thinking about possibilities. I could be doing this. Or that. I could have this. Or that. Barry Schwartz calls it the Paradox of Choice. It's the air we breathe in America. Our culture of limitless choices leaves us feeling unsatisfied. Of course, C.S. Lewis so brilliantly reminds us we have an existential desire for something which can never be satisfied by all of our option generating.

Followers of Jesus have signed up for a lifetime of unlearning the language of the dominant culture which seeks to shape us in its mold. Jesus invites us into a subversive way of life that questions the "You've heard it said" voices of tradition and presents us with the "But I tell you..."

Instead of the many "alsos" of our culture, I am trying to learn to focus my attention on the presence of God. John Piippo proposes the "A.S.L.O." framework in his book, Leading the Presence Driven Church. It's not a formula for success. It's a guide for walking in the way of Jesus.

Abide. Saturate in the Word. Listen. Obey.

Remain. Soak. Hear. Act.

Dwell. Meditate. Pay attention. Follow.

Apart from him, Jesus warns, we can do nothing. All of our chasing after the options and our fear of missing out will drive us insane. Only abiding will lead to a flourishing way of being and doing.

I recently heard someone say that the life of a disciple is to first belong, then be, then do. 

Belonging. Being. Doing.

It's not too far off of ASLO. If I focus on doing first, then I root my identity in something circumstantial, something transient, a worldly performance mindset. But, when I anchor myself in the Father and the truth that I belong to Him, then his lavish love shapes my being, and then I can move forward with the doing. 

Jesus shows us the way here. He went through the waters of baptism, a way of emptying and death and submission and was there blessed by his Father with these words: "You are my beloved Son. I am pleased with you!" From there, he emerged with his belonging secure and sojourned in the wilderness for forty days of abiding, saturating, fasting, prayer, testing and kingdom ministry preparation. His identity, his being, was tested and forged.

As the second Moses, he emerged from the wilderness testing and was ready to act - to bring the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. Healing and preaching. Miracles and proclamation. Blessing and teaching. Works and words. Death and resurrection.

This world has never been the same since. He continues to turn our world upside down. He did not come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

Yes, come, Lord Jesus. Let your presence purge my self-absorption and self-deception. Let me be an ASLO follower.


Popular Posts