Sunday, October 20, 2013

Discipleship

What is discipleship?

Is it following a leader in whose teachings you believe or with which you are in agreement? Is it emulating the leader of whom you are the disciple?  What does emulating their ways, their actions, their way of thinking look like?

If you emulate a leader, then you aim to think like that leader, as if you were them, moving the way they moved, as if it were you that believed what they do (it would be you believing). Wouldn't you then believe what they say, since you would (ideally) say the same? Would you repeat the words and have the mindset of a leader who is misguided, misleads others, speaks untruths, and has a god-complex? Hopefully not.

I think what this means is that an individual has one choice, whether to believe, when it comes to Jesus in particular. If he's a great leader, a visionary, a good man; if one leaves it at that, and concludes he's not the son of God (one in purpose, thus one in mindset; God & his will in fleshly form, with and of his purpose), then he must be a false teacher or witness. If he claims he is essentially one with God (because he lives his purpose and he has his mindset - he emulates his essence), and if it's not true, then there's no point in believing the other things he says. Why choose to believe parts of what a liar teaches?

Jesus was a great leader, a compassionate man, and an amazing & pure example of how to love; he lived life showing us how to love others, and how to live life while honoring God. Even those scholars who don't believe in Jesus as more than a man, and/or don't believe in God (or they aren't sure), they believe in Jesus' legitimate existence based in historical fact. This is because Jesus, like all other historical figures, leaves behind witnesses and places that fit into the timeline he was there. This is the same as others who's lives are recorded.

So, because he existed, then I think it's worth examining what he said, and deciding whether he lives a good life, one of an honest person. Whether the fruit that he bore was good, and according to his teachings. I think it's worth deciding, whether he's teaching truth or lies.

Then, if he's truthful, if one judges his life to be good and noble, then what did he say?
If we believe what he said, and how he lived to be good, and we want to live like him, then we must also learn to think like him. This brings us to a place, where we examine ourselves, what we believe, what we want to believe, and what inevitably we must believe if we believe him.

If we decide his life is worth following, and his attitude worth emulating, then we are his disciples. Teaching his ways is part of discipleship; living his life is part of being his discipleship.

Discipleship today looks like a person living a life that looks the life Jesus would live in todays world. I don't know many of us who can do that every day. But I do know it's worth doing our best, and aspiring to it. I do know that being his disciple means standing out, being different, and realizing that he offers simply a better way of doing things. He does this in a way that welcomes others, doesn't alienate them, gently corrects and shows what's good and better. He does this not by beating others down, or telling them they're bad, but by being different and living different, and inviting them to join him.

Discipleship is living in today's world, and doing it differently. Loving others, and never stopping.