I keep running into what seem to be two different streams of thought within the Christian faith. One stream seems to be about God-given vision, changing the world, and dedicating yourself to the pursuit of both. Blogs and books and sermons inspire Christians to aim their energy toward Doing Big Things… pursuing the dream God placed in them… because all are called to change the world. The assumption, then, is that the world can be changed and that it happens through the dreams God places in people’s hearts. Bruce Wilkinson’s ‘The Dream Giver’ falls into this stream a bit.
The other stream includes books and sermons about pursuing God and pursuing truth. These conversations seem to urge Christians to aim their effort, their attention, and their affection toward building their relationship with God… learning to pray, learning to listen, learning to notice God’s movement in the world around them. The assumption is that a person can be changed and that it happens through time spent in God’s presence. ‘Chasing Francis’ by Ian Morgan Cron is an amazing book I’ve just read that speaks to this beautifully.
I realize these two streams are not opposites or mutually exclusive. The streams themselves recognize this; the dream-pursuers know that the dream is only revealed when one spends time in God’s presence, and the relationship-pursuers recognize that purposeful action emerges out of a strengthened relationship with God. These are not two ‘camps’ at war. I hear more and more people wrestling with the first stream…. striving to pursue big dreams, desperate to start movements and ministries that will change the world. Which is good. It’s just that many of the people writing and speaking in the other stream seem to have lived in the first one for a while, which led to a crash of some kind, followed by a re-alignment of their perspective.
The book I’ve read most recently that illustrates this is ‘Me, Myself and Bob’ by Phil Vischer. (If you are a dedicated VeggieTales fan, check it out.) I think that most of us in this belief system would say that we believe fostering a relationship with God…. praying, listening, reading… is the foundation upon which anything else rests. But in the media we create I’ve noticed that for every one voice encouraging us to ‘abide’, there seem to be about three or four encouraging us to ‘run/strive/chase/pursue’. What do you think about this?