Okay. Can we talk for a bit? I’m out of practice with writing, so it will take me awhile to find my flow again. But I’m working on a sermon for Sunday and I’m sifting through my heart and brain (and all the tons of debris that live there), gathering fragments for a simple, useful, helpful, clear, not churchy, memorable, practical, both point AND process oriented, untricky, replicable definition of “disciple”.
We’ve talked about the idea of a disciple here for the last three years. There are several books on my Kindle and my shelves and my desk about disciples and discipleship and disciple-making. It is not for lack of material that I am wrestling this week. But perhaps the struggle that I have and that these many authors and organizations and ordinary people have is that there are so many words for a very simple thing.
I mean, for the first three years, a disciple of Jesus was someone who followed Jesus around, listened to what he said, argued with it, misunderstood it, and asked him for clarification about it. There was no political expectation, no perfection expectation. There was a huge learning expectation, a huge engagement expectation. There was uncertainty, skepticism, fear. There was failure.
As I thought about these first disciples this morning, I realized that they were always asking Jesus questions about what he meant. He was often pointing out what they didn’t understand and then explaining. I realized that I hardly ever hear people ask him what he means. I hear people asking for things, like healings and miracles, but the disciples didn’t so much. They were wanting to understand what he meant.
I wander what he’d say if we did that more?
I mean, maybe I should ask Jesus what he meant by “disciple.”