Recently, I inherited a new podcast called Exploring Faith, Pursuing Grace. It explored themes of deconstructing and processing the hosts’ upbringing in the Churches of Christ. Since taking over, I have shifted the focus to Reconstruction. That is, while we will be looking at some of the Church of Christ “issues,” we will mainly be attempting to articulate what my friend Brian calls a more generous orthodoxy. If you want to listen to the podcast for free, check out this link. If you want to get early access to the podcast and support server fees, equipment costs, or get my next cup of coffee, you can go to my gumroad account.
Back to the bit about pursuing grace. Since my friends Kevin and Lee started the podcast, I’ve never given much thought to the name besides the fact that it was kind of catchy and got to the point. Since taking it over, however, I’ve thought more about it, specifically the phrase “pursuing grace.”
What a great line, right?
I don’t know about you, but this is how I’ve felt for the past few years. “If I can just study enough then I can finally understand God’s grace. I’ve got to work hard at crucifying myself. I’ve got to read the right books and listen to the right podcasts. More, more, more!”
But then something funny happens.
Eventually, you get tired, so you take a break. You rest for a bit.
Then you find out something that should have been so obvious. Maybe you couldn’t see it because of how you were conditioned. Maybe it seemed too easy.
But what you come to realize is that grace pursues you.
All this time spent wondering what the right answers are. All this time spent debating your old self, your family, your preacher, or your friends. The hundreds of dollars you spent on books (sorry Laura). And the answer was right there the whole time.
The thing about pursuing grace is it often keeps you from experiencing grace.
Pursuing grace, however, leads you to realizing that it isn’t something that can be pursued. That’s not the game it’s playing. It’s not a prize to be won but a gift to be received. In Christ there is no (zero) condemnation.
And so in pursuing grace, we learn the art of surrendering control. We learn to turn that over to God as well.
What an obvious solution! Eternal life is a gift! We all know that, but how difficult it is to know that!
May we learn to slow down enough so that grace can catch up with us. May we submit to Jesus who draws all people to himself.
When I married I married into my husband’s family’s faith in the COC. I did not know until recently how inadequate their doctrine is regarding grace. I don’t ever recall a lesson taught about it. So they tie our salvation to a constant praying and repenting paradigm. This was very disturbing to me to learn I was a part of that kind of ministry. I look forward, eagerly, to your lessons.