Introducing “The Everyday Awakening”

Introducing “The Everyday Awakening” January 4, 2012

I’m excited to introduce The Everyday Awakening—a blog about the revival that’s happening where you are.

My first job at twenty-one was as a journalist. I learned to write for others by writing stories about faith and politics for an early webzine. I’ve never stopped writing stories about how faith inspires people to engage the world in creative ways. But my main writing for the past six years has been in books and the occasional commentary for magazines and blogs.

But I’m launching The Everyday Awakening because there’s an under-reported story about how faith is inspiring small experiments in a radically new way of life. These experiments in truth are interrupting the bad news we read about in the church and in our world. And they are awakening hope in communities around the world.

America has a tradition of Great Awakenings—times when we remember the Spirit blowing across our land and demonstrating God’s power in people’s lives. These revivals have renewed the church in our culture, giving rise to new denominations and swelling the ranks of the faithful. They’ve also pricked the conscience of this nation’s soul, sparking reform movements from the abolitionists of the 19th century to the “What Would Jesus Do?” campaign of the early 20th century to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 60’s. Our history teaches us to hope for a Great Awakening.

We have good reason for this hope. The God whom we know in Jesus has not abandoned us.

But the awakening that happens when the Spirit blows across our lives does not have to be “great”—at least, not if “great” means crowds of people filing into open fields or stadiums to hear talented communicators articulate the good news for our day. When Peter, “filled with the Holy Spirit,” testified to God’s power in the early days of the Christian movement, he wasn’t noticed because of his communication savvy. People listened to Peter because they saw signs of hope in the new community he and John were part of. What they noted was that he and his friends had “been with Jesus.” They had been given power to lead a different kind of life (see Acts 4:-13).

So maybe we’re not waiting for the next Great Awakening. Maybe we don’t need another George Whitfield or Charles Finney, a Dwight Moody or Billy Graham. Maybe the Spirit is already breathing new life into the church and into God’s good world through the everyday awakenings that are happenings all around.

In hundreds—maybe thousands—of little communities that are mostly overlooked, people are being stirred by the Spirit to lead a different kind of life. It’s a life that doesn’t make sense if the gospel isn’t true. But because these people have been with Jesus—because they’ve somehow gotten the truth of God’s story deep down in their bones—their life does make sense.

Indeed, the way of Jesus is now the only way of living that makes any sense at all.

To see your life from this vantage point is to see a whole new world of possibility. It’s like waking up from a bad dream to realize the thing that most scared you—the thing that just a moment before was as real as the price of gas—was only an illusion.

The way things are is not the way things have to be.

There is a new creation all around us.

It’s an everyday awakening that can happen anywhere. When it does, you know you’ve found what you were looking for. You don’t have to go somewhere else to find the answer. Your desperate search is over because God has met you where you are.

The Everyday Awakening is one attempt to chronicle this movement of the Spirit in our world today. I’ll report on signs of hope I see in regular “feature” stories, invite personal stories from movement participants in “testimonies,” and offer a weekly “Front Porch” meditation from the little corner of God’s quiet revolution where I live at Rutba House in Walltown.

I hope these dispatches are good news to you. And I hope you’ll help spread the word.

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