Living From A
Renewed Christian Script
By Frank Viola
Mike Morrell: “Perhaps you know Frank Viola as a prophetic voice lifting up Jesus Christ and God’s eternal purpose; perhaps you know him for his iconoclastic writings on church reform. Maybe you’re encountering his work for the first time. In any case, you’re in for a compelling treat with Revise Us Again. In ten easy-to-read chapters, Frank gently—but directly—invites us to revise our long-held ‘scripted’ assumptions about how God communicates to us, how Christians speak to one another, the work of the Holy Spirit in our midst today, and the content of the good news we proclaim to our friends and neighbors. The result is vintage Viola—a sacred-cow barbecue with little aftertaste. Highly recommended!”
http://youtu.be/gntAKRXfFeo (Book Trailer)
I've spent all of my adult life in some form of work that included working on writing and revising--letters, policies, pamphlets, reports, and books. So I thoroughly enjoyed the title and cover selected for Frank Viola's latest teaching text.
Perhaps it is my age, but I couldn't find one thing to which I didn't totally agree. What that means is that, at my age, it is somewhat easier to look back and recognize where and when you've not done what you would have wanted to do in a given situation. You've also had the time to stop and analyze what it is you truly believe about your Christian life. If you have not already done so, I highly recommend you take the opportunity to read Revise Us Again. Even if you have taken the time to "know thyself," this is still a wonderful, easy-to-read review--because we all need continuous renewal!
Viola begins by suggesting a revision of the Lord's Voice. Now, you will immediately realize as I did that what this is really saying is that we must consider how it is we "listen" for and then "share" the Lord's voice...
Here's where we fit...our background has provided a "lens" through which we have traditionally responded to the Lord's Voice. For example, here are a few examples for those who observe a stop sign.
A fundamentalist stops at the stop sign and waits for it to tell him to go. A Christian who follows the tradition of her denomination does not bother to read the sign, but she will stop if the car in front of her does. A Southern Baptist believes that God wants him to stop at the sign, but he will still be saved if he does not.
Of course, I picked out the ones that more closely reflected my own experiences; however, you will enjoy reading the other "silly" examples he uses to make us sit up and take notice.
Somewhere along in your life, if you've been a Christian for many years, you will have met one or more individuals who have said something like, "The Lord told me that your (whatever action that has caused the statement). The last time somebody said that to me, I responded, "I am hurt that you would say that my action is not from God..." (and then went on to discuss from there) Of course, it could be true that we do do things that offend God. But something that we do which offends an associate may be exactly what needed to be said in that circumstance. "The Lord helps us to revise our ears so that we may learn to hear the voice of the Shepherd through each one of His sheep." (p. 25)
Sometimes religion is used to hide behind. For instance, if you are asked to contribute extra toward a special activity your church or organization is planning. If your normal response is "I'll pray about it," most people will soon catch on that you don't intend to affirmatively respond. Are we using "Christian code language" for our own purposes?
I think the most important reminder for me was that we have an indwelling Christ. "Not I, but Christ" living in me. Can each of us truly say that our actions reflect Christ's spirit in me? I know I can't...If you also cannot, then this little gem will help! And how do we "deliberately [be] conscious of God's presence? By simply placing your attention upon Him." Using one of my favorite self-reminders, "be still and know..." (p. 77)
When I first started working on a college campus, I had an experience when "the dark night" arrived--when I could no longer sense His presence. Fortunately, I was able to talk with friends and realize that this was meant to show how others felt without the Holy Spirit. This is one of the important times about which you will learn! (p. 81)
Viola speaks on jealousy, envy, restoring God's spirit, the gifts of the spirit and challenges us by pointing out that "our" Christ may be toooooo small! (p. 129) If you were to ask me, and I hope you would, I would say Revise Us Again is a must-read! Highly recommended for new Christians as well as those of us who may have gotten set in our ways and need--revised!
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