To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”Christian discipleship is a relationship of imitation and reproduction. To be a Christian is to be a “Little Christ.” We are ultimately disciples of Jesus, but, since the Twelve, we follow by proxy. Discipleship is to follow someone as they follow Christ. And there are as many ways to follow God as there are ways to interpret Scripture. A thousand people will express love a thousand different ways, none better or worse than another. We were created so uniquely for good reason.
To imitate any man so closely is to imitate their weaknesses as well as their strengths. To emulate their world view, their approach to devotion, their perspectives on doctrine, their lifestyle and their heart. By necessity, grace blankets men’s shortcomings to draw together imperfect people with incongruous hearts. But, if fortunate enough to be presented with a choice in the matter, be a disciple of someone with a similar heart. Even better, find someone who has the character and qualities that you want for yourself, and follow them so closely that the dust kicked up by their feet becomes a second skin.
I am having to live with a difficult decision in a similar vein, to leave a community which I love because of incongruous directions. Leaving these people whom I love very much leaves jagged edges and splinters in the rift. Aside from them, there is little left that retains me. This community is a hermit crab shell which I have outgrown. It was home to me and I will forever remember fondly of it, but it will never quite fit the way that it used to. My heart is resting on distant shores and new beginnings. Still looking for a shell that fits.