Each month, our elders discuss a chapter from “Exiles” by Michael Frost. I enjoy chewing over a book slowly. Last meeting, we discussed chapter 4, which addresses our calling to be truly authentic in a world that tends to manufacture authenticity (like restaurants that pretend to be straight from the Australian outback). In that chapter, Frost lists 6 values that he believes need to be at the heart of any community that wants to live an authentic life for Christ. I encourage you to read over the list. Which fit you best? Which need growth? Is there anything you would add?
1. To seek an approach to spiritual growth that values inward transformation over external appearances.
2. To value a spirituality that seeks not to limit our God-given humanity, creativity, or individuality; to value diversity and difference over conformity and uniformity.
3. To enjoy from-the-heart, honest dialogues and avoid relationships marked by superficiality and hidden agendas.
4. To strive to be completely honest with God and appropriately transparent with others about our inmost thoughts, hopes, dreams, emotions, shortcomings, failings, transgressions and struggles.
5. To seek to welcome back mystery and paradox over easy explanations; to live with questions that have no easy answers.
6. To work to honestly recalibrate our lifestyles, diets, spending patterns and commitments to reflect our hope for a more just, equitable, and merciful society.
For myself, I think I’ve seen some measure of growth (some!) in 1, 5 and 6. I find values 1 and 4 deeply challenging. If I were to add to the list, it would something that more specifically speaks of drawing closer to Christ. You?