by Rev. Dr. Daniel C. Wilburn
What are you reading these days? Christians should be the smartest most educated people on the planet. We must because we are missional – we are called to change the planet, to bring peace, generosity, sacrifice, reconciliation, understanding, and love. We are called to prepare all people’s of the earth for the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the kingdom of heaven on earth. If prepared properly each person on the planet will exclaim, “This is what I dreamed about my entire life… peace, wholeness, success, fulfillment, and flourishing.” Books help transform the mind. Reading broadens our vision. Books give us knowledge, and reflection makes us wise.
The book I have begun to write is about the biblical exodus journey as metaphor of the human journey. (1st) Everyone begins in a comfortable slavery in Egypt. (2nd) We escape through a Red Sea, a baptism of sorts, and find ourselves not at home or in the Promised Land but in a desert wilderness, lost, angry, complaining, confused, and stuck. (3rd) If we persevere and rediscover God, then we arrive at the East bank of the Jordan river waiting to crossover into a land where we must “wait for rain from heaven” (Deuteronomy 11:11).
Not only is this three stage journey the journey of everyone’s life, but this is how we mature in prayer. Everyone prays. Atheists pray. Regardless of whether or not a person believes in God or not has nothing to do with the (ontological) reality of God and their relationship or belief that a relationship with God is impossible or a moot point. In Egypt the Hebrews had only a distant myth of YHWH (the Lord). In the desert they complained about God and attempted to renounce God. They didn’t really talk directly with God – they argued with Moses, the blamed God through Moses. The Hebrews found themselves in a strange place, a wilderness where they desired God and yet rejected God, and where God desired the Hebrews, but rejected them. Read Numbers chapter 11, aptly named, because the Hebrew people were bankrupt! Finally, through crisis they learn to wait for rain from heaven. All of us must eventually grow silent and wait. Silence is the first language of heaven. And we have to learn this language if we want to be citizens of heaven now and in the future.
My book is for Lakelanders. It is for those who are willing to reflect on this Egypt- Desert-Promised Land journey. The book is a description of the traditional spirituality of the early Christians as prescriptive for us today. Categorically the book is located in the “Christian Spirituality” section at the bookstore – if there are any bookstores left. It will take me a year or more to accomplish this book, and I will have to see if any publisher will pick it up. Doesn’t matter really. We will use it as the basis for our contemplative retreating at Lakeland. Lakeland has a discipleship pathway called Milestones, and this book is the curriculum for the “Inward Journey” Milestone.
All the sirs or madams can read my book, it took me years to write, won’t you have a look?