Stop Playing It Safe

29 thoughts on “Stop Playing It Safe”

  1. Following Jesus’s lead (which leads to the suffering you speak of above) puts one at odds with the world – and unfortunately at odds with many church goers. Most of our spiritual leaders (priest/pastors/vestry) don’t seem to lead this kind of life – where do we look for mentors/leaders when our churches aren’t at odds with the world? What does this kind of life look like? I have read of individuals who give a large portion of their income as alms, living modestly and showing us the possibilities of how we can live such a life. I have been thinking about stewardship. Giving of what I have has been an important part of my spiritual growth. We are called to tithe 10% – but our churches don’t use 10% of their income for mission and outreach. How can the church ask us to give when the church doesn’t? I have found that the suffering of giving more than is ‘wise’ by the standards of the world (of time, talent and treasure) leaves me tired and broke – but lets my soul sing. As Christians we are called to give our cloaks and shirts and everything we have. We need to hear this from the pulpit and in study groups. The church (people, not buildings) will not move toward a life more in line with Jesus’s teaching if we are not pushed and shown by example.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I don’t know the specifics of your situation, so I’m unable to say anything about that. Besides, it probably isn’t my place to do so and I don’t think you’re asking me to do that. But I can share a few of my basic principles. The Church is the people, not the building or the hierarchy. All the baptized are leaders. Not just the ordained. So if you’re looking for a leader to speak out, appoint yourself. The Church errs. It’s made of humans, even if energized and influenced by the divine. We need to change. Change is really hard. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to reach out.

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  2. Excellent advice Bishop Jake! I do try and will try to lead by example. But I find that the people who compose the church look to the ordained for guidance much more than the lay person. I have noticed over the years a move toward terminology that highlights the responsibilities of the lay person and I find that encouraging. But our churches are organized with a head of each congregation – the pastor or priest. Until the authority structure of the church changes (which in most churches will be a long time coming) I think most will look to the clergy for guidance. There will have to be a sea change for the people who are our church to look to their peers for guidance over their clergy. And I don’t see any movement on the part of the clergy or power structure to change that. But I am not in that power structure, so maybe I don’t see the changes that are being made. But every pebble makes a wave and we can all work toward making waves! 🙂

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    1. And lots of pebbles make lots of waves. I’ve told clergy and laity alike to remember the vision. We’re engaging God’s mission of restoration, healing, and reconciliation. Don’t wait for me. Get out there and be about it. Don’t be afraid of failure. What we think of as failures are just first drafts. If you never fail, you’re not trying anything new. Hang in there.

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      1. I haven’t said it, and thought I should. I find your blog posts challenging, thought provoking and welcome each one. I wouldn’t reply if I didn’t appreciate them. Thank you for your efforts in starting thought and your welcoming of dialogue. As an aside, I have failed often and spectacularly in life and after so many successes at failing I welcome them (grudgingly) as paths to growth. Thanks, Bishop. You make me glad to be Episcopal and in this diocese.

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  3. Thanks for this. A few days ago, I was coaching someone and he said to me, he doesn’t think there are many people with “narrow way” mindsets like I have (my platform is called The Narrow Gateway). I see narrow way x 100 in this blog post. So challenging. Scares the daylights out of me. But makes me feel a keen sense of my need for God and for His Spirit, as i do what He has called me to do in this world – pursue the narrow way that leads to life, and show the world the signposts to that way. Such a deep blog post. Can’t even begin to image what John Lewis’ life was like. What a sacrifice. All for the sake of the call.

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    1. Thank you for such kind words. As I looked at your blog again and read this comment a thought occurred to me. The way is narrow but grace is broad. Let’s keep walking!

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  4. Reblogged this on The Narrow Gateway and commented:
    Hi friends,

    Check out this post by Jake Owensby that so aptly captures what The Narrow Gateway is about and what we stand for. We are not trying to be revolutionary or to blaze a new trail. Jesus Christ Himself blazed the trail of life behind the narrow gateway. The apostles followed suit. We follow suit. We just want to follow Jesus and make a difference in the world by surrendering all and obeying Him even when it costs us.

    Be blessed by this one.

    Hugs,
    Toyin (Christian Life Coach and Founder of The Narrow Gateway)

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  5. A very good post. Makes me examine myself and my purpose in life. Following Jesus is hard. He told us about this. That’s why with every challenge I encounter in my faith , I always ask myself if my difficulties are worth it. And my answer is always yes. Thanks for this.

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  6. Your words are celestial music on this one. It’s been a challenging but uplifting day for me and this post is the cherry on top. Thank you for being you and lifting the praises of my Savior!

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    1. Phyllis, I’m glad that these words added a positive note to your day. It’s good to hear that your challenges led to such a positive place. Thanks for continuing to read and for taking the time to touch base. It’s good to be walking together.

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  7. Got it. Thanks.

    Sabrina Evans
    Director of Christian Formation
    Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma
    924 North Robinson
    Oklahoma City, OK 73102
    405 232 4820

    What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

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