Friday, May 14, 2010

The "Game With Minutes"

I first became aware of Frank Laubach's "Game With Minutes" through reading Richard Foster. Now, as I'm reading Greg Boyd's Present Perfect, Greg suggests trying Laubach's "game" as a way of practicing the presence of God.

The game's challenge is this: try to bring Christ to mind at least one second of each and every minute within a designated hour. Laubach suggests choosing "an uncomplicated hour" to do this. Boyd writes: "The basic idea is that we need to become accustomed to remembering Christ when our mind has little to do before we can learn how to remember Christ with any consistency in situations that require more attention." (38)

Playing a game like this can be used by God to overcome the secular mentality deep within us. When we are brainwashed by the secular worldview "we habitually exclude [God] from our awareness. Because of this we go about our day-to-day lives as functional atheists... So thoroughly are we brainwashed by the secular mind-set that the very suggestion that we could routinely experience the world in a way that includes God strikes us as impossible." (29)

If we were like branches continually connected to Jesus the True Vine then Laubach's "game" would be silly. It would be like saying "Let's play a game where we breathe every few seconds." Or: "Let's play a game and pretend the Pope is Catholic." In other words we wouldn't need to play Laubach's game since we'd be fully God-connected 24/7. But is that possible? Boyd, following in the footsteps of many Jesus-followers before him, thinks it is, or is at least approachable. The reason is: constant God-awareness is the normal Christian life.

Rather than wait for special God-moments to come, God is present in every moment, in every "now." Because God is present now and in every moment, we can surrender ourselves in every moment to God. We don't have to wait for special worship services to do this. Indeed, to wait for the next worship service to come around shows that we're living more in the prevailing secular world than in the Kingdom of God.

Boyd writes: "As foreign as it is to contemporary Western Christianity, and as impossible as it may seem to many contemporary Christians, practicing the presence of God lies at the foundation of "mere Christianity."" (37) And: "Branches don't visit a vine once in a while on special occasions. Rather, branches are permanently attached to their source of life. So too, followers of Jesus are to take up permanent residence in Christ, remaining attached to him at all times as their source of their Life." (34)

This challenge can only be met one moment at a time.
Right now is the time to surrender.
Right now is the time to seek first the Kingdom of God.
Right now is the time to remain in Christ.
Right now is the time to live in the Spirit.
Right now is the time to pray.
Right now is the time to take every moment captive.
As Jesus taught, tomorrow will worry about itself. (Matthew 6:34; cf. Boyd, 37)