Practicing the Way of Jesus

by Mark Votava

abstract sun's rays

Vulnerability and humility are things that I have to work at.  These are not easy values to embody, especially in a masculine culture of domination, control and technique.  But I truly believe that the heart of the gospel is complete vulnerability in everyday life.  Without vulnerability and humility, we cannot seek God.

As I live my life, I am desiring to have an openness to vulnerability and humility.  It seems to me that Jesus was extremely vulnerable and embodied humility in his lifetime.  And we are all called to do the same.  This is a way of life where we can bless the world we live in.

Here is a longing of my soul to embrace this vulnerability and humility:

Give us vulnerability so that we can be an expression of love in the world.  Let our egos yield to the deep humility within each of us.  Help us to see the power in vulnerability and humility.  Convince us that this is life-giving and will bring us so much freedom.

We do not want to be enslaved anymore by our own ignorance and pride.  Give us a spirit of openness, curiosity and wonder.  We long for this posture within us to explore greater depths of vulnerability.  Show us your vulnerability and humility.

This is the cry of our souls.  We long for this more than American progress.  We long for this more than anything else.  Help us to have the courage to live in humility and not be afraid.

  •  Demonstrating vulnerability

The body of Christ has to demonstrate vulnerability within our network of relationships in the parish.  Without the humility of vulnerability, there will be very little authentic relationship between us.  There will be very little human connection in everyday life.  We usually don’t like to share our pain, our brokenness, our struggles, our fears, our insecurities, our weaknesses, or our cluelessness.

  •  Some things we do not like to admit

We do not like to admit that our perceptions of things might be wrong.  We do not like to admit that we feel incomplete even though we have faith in God.  We do not like to admit that we need to let go of trying to control life and that we have trust issues.  We do not like to admit that sometimes we have no desire for God at all.

  •  The communal imagination needs vulnerability

We sometimes do not like to learn from or listen to others.  There is a real problem in our relationships if we cannot live into a freedom that promotes vulnerability.  The communal imagination needs vulnerability to be alive among us.

  •  Having our brokenness exposed

Innovative local practitioner Mark Scandrette states so clearly, “The kind of belonging and transformation that is promised through practicing the way of Jesus requires us to be vulnerable with each other and to work through the difficulties that result from having our brokenness exposed.

  •  A demonstration of humility

We are shaped through how we practice vulnerability with one another.  The way of Jesus leads us there.  We realize that we need one another.  Our weakness and brokenness become revealed through our relationships in the parish.  Our spirituality becomes no longer a show of piety, but instead becomes a demonstration of humility through practicing vulnerability in everyday life.

  •  Where there is vulnerability, there is humility

Where there is vulnerability, there is humility.  Where there is humility, the life of Christ is living within us.  It can be hard to let ourselves be exposed for who we really are in all of our pain, but it is a practice that the body of Christ must take seriously if we want to be relational in the local context we inhabit.

  •  When we are weak, we are strong

“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

  •  There is no colonialism with vulnerability

When we demonstrate some humility and practice vulnerability with one anothe, that is when we are most fully walking in the Spirit of Christ.  When we are weak and vulnerable, that is when we experience God’s power within us.  A theology of place can only be lived into through vulnerability.  There is no colonialism with vulnerability because it will help us not to impose our way of life on anyone and lead us instead through living into our questions about the mystery of life.

  •  There is no colonialism with humility

There is no colonialism with humility because it will lead us into deeper honesty around connecting with others through our struggles.  There is no colonialism when we learn to listen and expose our own brokenness to others through our vulnerability.  The place we inhabit will require that we be vulnerable if we want to stay there for any length of time.  Our relationships will demand it if we seek to live in humility with one another.

How can we show vulnerability in our spirituality together?