Sometimes I miss really obvious things. I think it is because of familiarity. You know, you see or hear something over and over again and you miss the significance of something. For example, most of you would know the name Dick Butkus (pronounced by most people: Dick Buttkiss). He’s one of the best Chicago Bears of all time and a symbol of the smash mouth style the Bears have tried to have over the years. Well, about two years ago, after being a Bears fan for my whole life, it finally hit me just how unfortunate this guy’s name is. I mean, Dick Butkus!? It doesn’t get much worse that than eh? How would you have liked to be him in grade school and middle school. It makes me wonder, was he that tough because of his name? It’s kinda like that Johnny Cash song “The Boy Named Sue?” Son, we gave you this name so you could grow up to be a really tough football player.
The other day, I had another moment like that. I was talking with some friends and somehow we got talking about monk’s and that fact that they wear “habits.” It never really occurred to me that they call them habits because of the fact that monk’s from religious orders pattern their lives after a set of habits or practices. The garments they wear are a symbol of the kind of life they are trying to lead.
I’m pretty sure we underestimate the kinds of habits we are living. In fact, I’d say we are fairly unaware of the habits that are forming our lives. We’ve probably even become slaves to habits that are probably more formative to the way of our culture than they are formative to the way of Christ.
This is why I think its vital that we ask hard questions, as individuals and especially as communities of faith, about the habits that are forming our lives.
Alan Roxburgh and Scott Boren write in their super-helpful new book, Introducing the Missional Church,
“A local church is to be an embodiment of what God is calling all creation to be through the Spirit. As a sign, witness, and foretaste, local churches should live as a contrast society right in the middle of their neighborhoods. It does this by inviting its people to transform their lives by developing habits such as those related in the stories told above: practicing hospitality, learning to be present in the community and inviting those in their neighborhoods to taste and see what it means to be shaped by Jesus.”
What sorts of habits do you have in your life? Which ones are forming you in the way of Christ? Which ones are forming you in the way of the culture?
What sorts of habits are forming your church? Which ones are forming your life together in the way of Christ? Which ones are forming your life together in the way of the culture?