Tuesday, April 20, 2021

A New Name!

Seven years ago when I started this blog, I sought input from friends on the name. Among some of the ideas I put forward were "Noggin Toaster," "Hopeful Heretic," and "Yearning for Home." At the end of the day, "Hopeful Heretic" proved to be the most popular--though not without a significant dissenter. A friend cautioned against labeling myself a heretic, referencing G. K. Chesterton's thoughts on the word. I considered the objection, but decided to go forward with the name. It proved fairly catchy and for a long time I was happy with it.

Fast forward to today. My faith has evolved since then. I've been rediscovering orthodoxy, learning the Christian roots of my faith. I've opened the Book of Common Prayer, tasted the Lord's Supper, walked the seasons of Lent and Advent. I've been introduced to Christian scholarship both ancient and modern and traced the fascinating history of our religion. I still have so much to learn, but this I know: I no longer wish to label myself a heretic. I am a Christian through and through.

For certain, I have certain particularities (as any member of a denomination does). I am still a seventh day Sabbatarian, a follower of the old calendar (Passover, Sukkot, etc.), a proponent of holiness code, and believer in digging into the Hebrew roots of our faith. But, I must emphasize, these are periphery. My faith is centered squarely on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His work on the cross.

There's much more I could go into, but I'll leave that for later blog entries. For now, let's get into the reasoning behind the new name.

I decided to simplify quite a bit. "Ordinary Disciple" expresses what the blog is about without getting too fancy or boxing the theme in too tightly. It's a personal blog for sharing my learning and adventures (especially as they relate to this journey of faith), starting conversations, and letting my creative side out. In some ways it's back to basics. The word "disciple" takes me way back to when I first made a commitment to follow after Jesus always. I keep a list of the major things God has taught me over the years and the word "discipleship" sits at the very top of that list.

I chose the word "Ordinary" as an adjective because, truth be told, I struggle with pride. Pride and public platforms do not always mix well. So, it's a reminder to myself of my place in this story (I'm reminded of a Christianity Today article I read so long ago about how God does His best work through small churches, away from the oversight and control of any one man). I hope that it will be an encouragement as well, a reminder that even in the midst of pressures to "make a difference" and "change the world," our calling is simply to follow Jesus wherever He leads. A reminder that we can rest in Him.

While I've left behind the label "heretic", I have by no means left behind hope. Not in the slightest. Sometimes the journey takes us through turns and bends that we do not expect and the path ahead can sometimes seem hazy. But through it all, we can hold tight to this promise: 

"He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?...Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raise--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trubulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or dange, or sword?...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 9:32-39)

So, dear reader, even as I grow and learn, my purpose in this blog remains largely the same. I hope that my writings will inspire, encourage, and challenge you in your walk as God does His work in you and me. I still don't have all the answers (and never will). I'm just a fellow disciple and sojourner like you. But, we're all in this together. Let us hold to faith, pursue love, and rejoice in hope as we run after our God and seek His Kingdom. It's just a long way home.

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