THE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE

Kingdom Economy by Phil Nellis

This past weekend I was in Toronto for a conference called The Evolving Church:Kingdom Economy. The conference is put on by a friend of mine and some of his college buddies. The presenters at the conference were made up of an array of unique communicators. From the contemporary-Christian-singer-songwriter-ex-rock-star-turned-social-justice-advocate to deep-thinking-academic-theologians, the  speakers unpacked ideas surrounding the question “What does it look like to order our lives around the Kingdom of God?”

Overall, it was a great experience. I was challenged and encouraged by several of the sessions and workshops. I especially enjoyed Becky Garrison, Chris Seay, and Joyce Rees. Though if I’m honest, some of the content was hard for me to follow. Not to take anything away from the more academic presenters, I think I would have rather read their talks at my own pace, to let them sink in. At times, the 30 minute barrage of big words was a bit overwhelming.

One of the main reasons I decided to make the trip to the Great White North was because it would give me the opportunity to hear from one of my favorite authors, Brennan Manning. Unfortunately, Mr. Manning was dealing with some health issues that kept him from attending the conference. The folks at the conference did manage to set up a Skype call to interview him for a few minutes. For me, this simple three question interview was the highlight of the event.

from www.brennanmanning.com

Even though it was apparent that Mr. Manning was not in good health, his presentation came through like a lighthouse in a fog. The host asked him, “If you could share one thing with the church what would it be?” He answered without missing a beat, “Let yourself be loved by God. Not as you should be but as you are.” Simple. Profound. Life-giving.

It is with this foundation, the love of God, that everything else must find it’s meaning. Whether it’s feeding and clothing hungry children or ordering life around caring for Creation we must begin with love. When I was beginning to feel overwhelmed at the conference, I was reminded of this most important message. I am loved. Even if I’m not as deep of a thinker as David Dark or William Cavanaugh, I am loved. Even if I don’t know much about Canadians or Hockey, I am loved. As I learn to recieve this unconditional, all-consuming love of God, I will be able to rest in who I truly am. I think you will, too.

Thanks for the reminder, Mr. Manning. You have been a blessing in my life.

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  1. First of all, I’m jealous as all get out.

    Second of all, the important message you took away was the same message I took from the book you let me borrow. Thanks again.

    • Thanks, Brian. I thought of you when I was there. The conference would have been right up your alley. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book I lent you. I am looking forward to reading so more Manning myself.

  2. 2 greatest commands: Love God and love neighbor. Impossible without being loved. We love because we were first loved.

    Profound. Simple. But so hard for me to accept.

    Thanks for the reminder and for being at the conference.

    -Shaun
    (aka “contemporary-Christian-singer-songwriter-ex-rock-star-turned-social-justice-advocate” )

    • Thanks a lot for reading and writing, Shaun. It was a pleasure to hear your heart and story in your workshop. Thanks for the songs, too. I’ve especially enjoyed the time I’ve spent with your Twilight record.

    • Laura
    • April 13th, 2010

    I related to the part in your message because of you stating you were not a deep thinker,exactly how I feel! Maybe we are, but on a different level! It was all heart felt because of your favorite authors answer to the question-“If you could share one thing with the church what would it be?” He answered without missing a beat, “Let yourself be loved by God. Not as you should be but as you are.” So many times my ego, my opinion of my self is not good, I need to know I am perfect in God’s eyes, I am loved just how I am, and I need to love myself, just how I am right now!
    Thanks for the reminder Jason.
    Laura

    • Hi Laura, I’m glad that Brennan Manning’s words struck you. The foundation of love is the place where we need to start.

      I think I’m probably a little hard on myself when I say I am not a deep thinker. That probably comes from a place where I am comparing myself to others in some less than healthy ways. Thanks for your encouragement. I guess that’s the reason people go to conferences in the first place, to look at a topic from a different perspective and be challenged to think differently.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. God bless you, Laura!

  3. Shaun – like you, I struggle with the whole radical love biz. It is the one unique identifier in the Christian faith in that we have a personal and unconditional loving relationship with God. Much, much easier said than done.

    Brennan Manning is amazing. I’m sorry I missed his interview but someone needed to talk to me.

    • Becky, Thanks for stopping by. If Jesus taught that his “yoke is easy” and his “burden is light” what might be missing when we describe God’s love as “hard” or that we have to “struggle” with it? I can say that I’m not always living in that place either but when I catch a glimpse of that love, I sure want to go back for more.

      Peace and Blessings.

      P.S. Loved your talk and slide show! Thanks for bringing in some serious, lightness. Looking forward to reading the book I picked up.

  4. Loving people you despise is rough as all get out but nothing beats the feeling when a former enemy becomes a friend. It’s walking that walk that’s never easy. As I say somewhat tongue in cheek, Wormwood wins when we follow something other than the love of Christ.

  1. April 16th, 2010
  2. April 16th, 2010
  3. January 2nd, 2011
  4. April 5th, 2011
  5. November 3rd, 2011

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