Fans, Followers or Disciples?
Fans, followers, disciples
Experience of cancer: return of exhaustion and depression suffered earlier. challenged down to the core. On the surface, we managed. The structure of my life held. Relationships flourished. I coped quite well. Within and beneath that structure, rock had become sand. Everything had been shaken. Everything rattled. Nothing left unchanged. Sense of myself, who I was, what gave me life, made my work life-giving, for me and others, what my life was for…. Beginning of a hidden, private, spiritual struggle. To discover why the foundations of my Self had shaken, and how I could re-establish them on firmer ground.
I had thought I knew where I had come from, what I was doing, where I was going. Suddenly, it felt as if I did not know at all. Was I a fan, a follower or a disciple?
Fans - admiring his work, collecting the merchandise, happy to associate with other fans, keen to share the gossip, willing to wear the T-shirt, display the logo.
Followers - attending every event, always in the front row, offering time as a volunteer, arranging events with and for the fans, sharing with other followers the special sense of belonging to the inside circle, knowing which internet sites have the latest news, contributing to the on-line communities, tracking down the hard-to-find material, ordering in stuff from abroad, translating it for newcomers who don’t know the language, interpreting events for those who are not as knowledgeable.
Or are you a disciple? Someone who is learning to do what X does. Do you get out on the pitch, or up on the stage. Not only look the part - the hair, the clothes, the shoes, the accessories - but act the part, too. Does your devotion simply take up time and money, or do you let your devotion form your character, your relationships, your priorities?
We attach ourselves to strong personalities, charismatic leaders, exciting characters -whether on stage, screen or pitch - because they enlarge our sense of who we are, what we belong to and what is possible. They help us to “live on a larger map”.
Disciples go further, deeper, for longer and are the most profoundly changed by the encounter with God and with themselves:
Asking the deeper questions.
Being willing to let it matter more.
Allowing ourselves to be challenged and changed
Being willing to let our actions count for something.
Allow ourselves to be challenged down to the core, and including the core. Not just the superficial things. But the very things which have formed us.