The Default System: Part I

It has been one of my goals to visit this blog and update it more frequently.  Alongside with this I have signed up for Twitter and use it regularly and over there have come across Dallas Willard’s beautifully stated idea of the “Default System”

I love this idea, not only because of its simplicity but because embedded in this thought is that we all struggle with the “default system.” And as I will argue in a future post, there may be some legitimate reasons why we cannot just easily dismiss this “default.”  However, for this post I invite you to let Willard’s words be words of challenge, of redress and of recall.

The “default system”, Willard explains, is the idea that you can be a Christian without being a disciple.

 And my first reaction is of complete and utter agreement.  Indeed, have Anabaptist not preached this since the very first meeting in the early 1500’s.  Not only that, other streams of thought, including pietist and Wesleyan have struggled with the idea that there is more to Christianity then association and profession as Willard puts it succinctly.

And yet, the reality is that you and I most likely default back to the soteriology that Willard describes here.  Deep down, when life gets tough – and by that I mean: when following Jesus or only professing Jesus become two distinct options we can chose from – we come back to the idea that our Christianity is based on one prayer, one sentence, one decision.

Let me put in other words, I would often rather have my lips profess the love for a God which secures me an easy future – heaven – rather than to follow that same God as he invites me to start building this future here and now.

As Willard states: the question of who you and I are becoming does not have to come up, does it?

And yet, my work and my life’s goal is that of discipleship.  It is what I long for for my youth.  It is the DNA I wish my ministry is suffused with.  If asked: what do you want to accomplish in your youth ministry?; my answer would be:to realize that God is asking you to become something right there and right now, that God is working on you and on me right here and now.

In other words,

God cares about who you and I become because he is more than a heaven-dispenser if given the right kind of prayer

So the question I leave you with and the question I will continue to wrestle with, is where that leaves my life.  Do I live life as disciple?  Or do I live my life in that perversion of grace which tells me that I’m okay as long as I believe, profess that belief and hand with the right kind of people.


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