Following a good example
Motorcycle road racing was a passion of mine for a number of years. I loved being part of a team, solving the technical challenges, and stringing together a number of turns in a better way than I had previously. I also learned some lessons that I find are applicable in my walk as a Christian. When I was racing I found that by following another rider I could improve my own riding. I would find out where they were excelling—and where I was not as efficient—and emulate them.
There is much to gain from following another rider closely. However, there are dangers, too. When a rider gets too focused on the rider they are following, as opposed to the goal of riding around the track as smoothly and rapidly as possible, problems can happen. I have seen the rider that is leading make a mistake and run off track and have the rider behind follow him right off the track. Two bikes suffered from one mistake. The following rider had been targeting the lead rider instead of navigating the track for himself. This is called “target fixation,” and, as you can see, is not a good idea!
Being aware of what I am focusing on also applies to connecting with others along my Christian journey. As I focus on and appreciate the ways others are living out their discipleship, I can embrace areas where they are excelling and learn from them, even as I appreciate the way God is working in their life.
If I get focused on the person themselves, however, I find it far too easy to get caught up with personality issues instead of the wonderful spiritual qualities being expressed. I would rather delight in another’s peace and hide my brother’s failings than replicate those failings. (See Joseph Swain, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 126.) Ideally I don’t even want to accept those failings as part of anyone, as they’re never part of God’s inherently good child.
I am entering my final semester in a three-year seminary program. Then I plan on joining the United States Army as a military chaplain. The classroom and academic exercises of college are great opportunities to put into practice what I am learning in Christian Science for myself and others.
My growth in Christian Science is benefited when I strive to appreciate the Christian examples of my fellow students and staff. While I may not agree with the differing views of God that others embrace, I can appreciate the intelligence, compassion, and dedication they express. This doesn’t take anything away from my growth in Christian Scientist. In fact, I feel that this appreciation has inspired me to be a better Christian, and a better Christian Scientist. As an added benefit I think it will allow me to be a better chaplain, especially in the religiously pluralistic military environment.
Embracing the activity of Christ in other’s Christian walk has proved fruitful for me this past semester. On two different occasions I had meetings with professors where I was blessed by the meeting. As an added benefit I was able to provide healing ideas in response to needs that were shared by the professors. In both cases I prayed prior to the meeting to appreciate their Christian examples, to acknowledge God at work.
I also deeply cherish the experiences that I have had involving my own healings through Christian Science. The mutual benefits coming from those meetings with professors showed me that I can connect with others by appreciating where they are excelling without compromising my own beliefs. The target is simply to be the best disciple I can, and that is not dependent on others, but is blessed by others.
I have found that summits, like the one coming up in August 2012, are really awesome opportunities for sharing motivation and best practices as each of us individually strive to be better Christians. The last summit I attended left me awed by the immensely different ways people were expressing love for their neighbors and communities. I’d love to see lots of you at the August summit!Posted on Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Follow responses with the RSS feed
Topics: Progress | Tags: CSO Summit, Labor Day