That’s a quote by Nietzsche that was then used as a title for a book by Eugene Peterson. This is actually the book that introduced me to Peterson. I was familiar with the Nietzsche quote and was stunned to see it as a title on a Christian book. This book by Peterson was on the topic of discipleship. I don’t remember too many specifics from that book but the phrase has absolutely stuck with me in regards to discipleship.
I am blessed and honored to be discipling several men and women all of which are committed to this Long Obedience – something that our culture believes to be unlikely. I don’t know the number of times I’ve been told that people just won’t participate in anything that is more than a handful of weeks in commitment. I’ve come to a conclusion that this is a very true statement when what is being asked to be committed to is of little or no value. In our attempt to simplify discipleship in order to make it more accessible we’ve also made it less meaningful. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy that folks won’t be interested in a discipleship model that extends beyond a handful of weeks and/or meetings.
My heart is saddened by the condition of discipleship in the church. Too often we’ve made the idea of ‘new believers’ (converts) a synonym for disciples. This doesn’t seem to be the case in the Gospels – there were many folks who did not pursue a role of discipleship with Jesus…yet we can assume from the language of the scriptures that they were indeed believers.
What must we do to return the church to a place of discipleship? Slow down and prepare for A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.
Discipleship is worth it. Discipleship is something that has a cost. Discipleship is reorienting your life in order to more accurately reflect the character of the Christ.
I’m not sure that this post has any real ‘point’ other than we need something more than the current model of discipleship within our churches. I am blessed to be a part of a group of men and women who are striving for just that! I believe with effort and focus that they will change the Church.