Time to Be In Earnest ~ BitterSweetLife

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Time to Be In Earnest

Normally, Thursday morning finds me sitting with a couple friends in a café. We drink coffee, talk about the Bible and admit the past week’s moral lapses. Uh…sounds fun, you say. Fortunately, we divulge the previous week's victories too. Shorthand for this interlude is “accountability.” We're there to help each other stay on-task. We want to live determinedly for Christ, and we don’t want to pull punches—so we recruit each other for help. Not everyone has the guts for it, but such good-but-painful authenticity is invaluable.

Left to ourselves, we can invent a creative motive for anything. It only becomes ludicrous when someone else laughs at it. All alone, we can default into reprehensive habits and cycles. Someone else may need to remind us we can get off the ride.

Recently, though, I’ve been absent from our weekly talks. Lindsay and I have a “work schedule” that’s constantly in flux, and between ferrying her to a subbing assignment and rushing to make my first class, the accountability time has fallen in the cracks. In the final analysis, eating won out over regular spiritual tune-ups.

With the arrival of summer, this problem will resolve itself. In the meantime, though, I’m highly conscious of the value of the Thursday morning sessions—crucial, but often overlooked. Asking questions like How much money can we afford to lose for the sake of accountability? has a way clarifying things.

If you seriously want to know Christ, you learn to be transparent. You develop heart-honesty—with God, with yourself, with a few close friends. Accountability is not for everyone—but that’s like saying that good health is not for everyone. Serious Christ-followers need a time to be in earnest.

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Rodney Olsen said...

I meet with 3 other guys once every two weeks on a Wednesday afternoon.

Asking each other those searching questions can be tough but it's essential.

We also enjoy the opportunity to pray for each other, especially focussing on those areas we've found tough or where we've fallen down in the past couple of weeks.

tequilita said...

examining your conscience is such a multi-layered, interesting thing. it is essential. that you and your friends lean on each other only makes it that much richer.

sheryl said...

i quote a once very wise green man:
"ogres are like onions."
"what? they stink?"
"no, no... stupid donkey. we have layers."
amen for friends who peel off stupid, stinky, smelly layers.
and for stupid donkeys who don't get metaphors.

Ariel said...

Thanks for the thoughts. Something I value about accountability is the way it externalizes faith. "Good conscience" can seem such an inward, personal struggle until we verbalize it. Talking about "the good fight" emphasizes its realness.

Anonymous said...

All interesting thoughts. I've always had a hard time with the group accountability thing, finding it easier to rely on a person or two, but not in a mutual group thing.
I'd had a hard time, up until recently, finding someone who was not just interested in discussing the Bible as something merely academic. It's unfortunate that many of my friends at my Christian high school seem to approach it that way.

Ariel said...

You make a good point, Kevin. I think it would be really hard and a bit risky to extend a "circle of reliance" beyond 3-4 people. Just wouldn't work well, the dynamic wouldn't be there.

It's a sad reality that so many "students of the Bible" can't seem to find time to read it in their off hours.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife