As we see it, Christ-centered 3-C contemplative activists are followers of Jesus who have decided to forsake the westernized 3-B corporate approach to Christianity (read more about the 3-B’s here), while embracing a singular desire to live fruitful, Christ-honoring lives; a simple and sustainable faith that is rooted and balanced in three key spiritual disciplines associated with both Jesus of Nazareth and the life of the early church.
ommunion with Christ: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11: 28-30 (MsgB)
ommunity with others: “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence. This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” Matthew 22: 37-40 (MsgB)
ommission into our world: “God authorized and commanded Me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 18-20 (MsgB)
Here at The Contemplative Activist, our desire is to encourage pastors, church leaders, and laypeople alike to step out of the 3-B traffic, where (B)uildings, (B)ucks, and (B)utts in the seats define our ministry success, and re-align ourselves with these life-giving 3-C’s. We invite you to join us in that journey (read more)!
Henri Nouwen, in his book A Spirituality of Living, discusses, in length, these three life-giving spiritual disciplines found in the balanced life and ministry of Jesus…
“Now it happened in those days that Jesus went onto the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. When day came, He summoned His disciples and picked out twelve of them and called them apostles…He then came down with them and stopped at a piece of level ground where there was a large gathering of His disciples. There was a great crowd of people from all parts of Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear Him and be cured of their diseases. And people tormented by unclean spirits were also cured. Everyone in the crowd was trying to touch Him because power came out of Him that cured them all (Luke 6:12-19).”
“This is a beautiful story that moves from night to morning to afternoon. Jesus spent the night in solitude with God. In the morning, He gathered His apostles around Him and formed community. In the afternoon, with His apostles, He went out and preached the Word and healed the sick. Notice the order – from solitude to community to ministry. The night is for solitude; the morning for community; the afternoon for ministry. So often in ministry, I have wanted to do it by myself. If it didn’t work, I went to others and said, ‘Please!’ searching for a community to help me. If that didn’t work, maybe I’d start praying. But the order that Jesus teaches us is the reverse. It begins by being with God in solitude (Communion); then it creates a fellowship, a community of people with whom the mission is being lived (Community); and finally this community goes out together to heal and to proclaim good news (Commission). I believe you can look at (these) three disciplines by which we create space for God. If we create space in which God can act and speak, something surprising will happen. You and I are called to these disciplines if we want to be disciples.”
Note: We’ve taken Nouwen’s terminology for Jesus’ three key disciplines (solitude, community, and ministry) and simplified them into a memorable trio of 3-C’s, we call, Communion, Community, and Commission.