Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Field Of Discipleship




Let us consider a visual representation of the field of discipleship, the scope of its concerns.


Jesus calls disciples to come to him and be sent by him into the world.  This spectrum, along which the disciple moves back and forth, provides us with our first axis.


Jesus calls disciples into community and to a distinct part within that community.  Personhood exists within covenant relationships, within which we have a specific vocation or kingdom roles.  For Jesus himself, his personhood exists in unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and his mother, Mary; while his particular vocation is to be the Son (of God, of Man).  Paul writes about the Church as the Body of Christ, one body made up of distinct members, each of which play a part on which the body as a whole depends and which is meaningless in isolation/amputation.  So inextricably linked personhood (covenant relationships) and vocation (kingdom roles) provides us with our second axis.


We can now consider the field of discipleship as comprising four quadrants.





The bottom-left, framed by coming to Jesus and our personhood – come, and be – is concerned with the question: who am I chosen to be with?  (Biblical example: Jesus giving Mary and John to each other from the cross.)


The top-left, framed by coming to Jesus and our vocation – come, and do – is concerned with the question: what am I challenged to do?  (Biblical example: the disciples learn to do what Jesus does.)


The top-right, framed by our vocation and being sent by Jesus – go, and do – is concerned with the question: what am I given to contribute?  (Biblical example: Erastus was an urban director of public works.)


The bottom-right, framed by our personhood and being sent by Jesus – go, and be – is concerned with the question: where are we invited to go together?  (Biblical example: Paul and his team being led into Europe from Asia Minor.)


Each of these questions can relate to more permanent or more provisional, and more general or more specific, calls; and our response will involve attention to both character and competence (skills).



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