A Rule of Life: Faithfulness to God Above Culture

by Mary Ann Holtz on June 4th, 2013

At worship on June 2, 2013, Joe gave a talk inviting our Missio Dei community into a multi-week exploration of a Rule of Life as a path to living the Good Life. A Rule of Life is a set of very specific, concrete practices we might craft individually and as a community which will help us keep 4 things in focus and in balance: Prayer, Rest, Community, and Work. The author Joe is drawing from, Robert Benson, in his book A Good Life, says that if we can just learn how to keep all 4 of those things in focus and in balance, we’re headed more toward faithfulness to God than faithfulness to the culture.

The scripture we read on Sunday (Daniel, Chapter One) offers us an example of people who were committed to pursuing God's view of the Good Life, and resisting the culture's view. Daniel and his friends had a Rule of Life, a very specific way of structuring life, down to what they would eat and drink to help keep their lives in order in the midst of a culture that was totally headed in a different direction.

Our culture programs us to believe that upward-mobility, more and more, faster and faster, is the way to the good life. More money, more and quicker profits, more stuff, more freedom to do what we want, etc. We have begun to see big examples of the destructiveness of this cultural programming in the financial, food, energy, and climate change crises, all caused by this lie about what the good life is.

We are all influenced by that lie, yet we can learn from the natural world and from Jesus the way of faithfulness to God instead of to culture. All life in the natural world shows us God's rhythms, the up and down, back and forth: our heart beat and brain waves, the ocean tides, day and night. And Jesus shows the way through living the path of pouring himself out for others in obedience to the Loving God (Philippians 2:5-8) and teaching us to do likewise (Matthew 16:24, Matthew 10:39, John 12:20-26).

You might be thinking “this rule of life thing is really just not for me…this doesn’t appeal to me...I'm not able to live with a structure like this.” Here’s the thing: We are all living a rule of life whether we do it on purpose or not, and it is either building us up or tearing us down.

As a church community we’re going to take the next several weeks and examine the way we are living our lives, thinking about the Rule of Life we conform to when it comes to prayer, rest, community, and work. And to discern whether it is building us up or tearing us down. And to ask for the power of the Holy Spirit to follow the way of God, not the way of the culture as we seek to live the Good Life.


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