The Grace & Truth Matrix - Part 4
Updated: Mar 16
by GravityLeadership - https://gravityleadership.com/author/gravity-leadership/
In a Kairos Cohort we start by exploring 7 paradigms for finding our center. This is the way of seeing the world as Jesus seemed to see it: God is present and at work in the world, calling all creation back into unity with himself is the first one. With this paradigm in place, we move on to the next phase of finding our center: learning to dwell in the posture of Jesus. If paradigm is the big picture, posture is how we embody this paradigm in our everyday lives. If paradigm is a way of “seeing” the world, posture is a way of “being” in the world. We are called to not only see things the way Jesus does but to be in our world the way Jesus is.
(Part 4) Grace and Truth Together: Call In
We create the first three cultures in our own strength. They are cultures of flesh. (Flesh is a biblical term that simply refers to what we can accomplish through human effort alone.) They are modes of living focused on self, where we use others; and they are devoid of love (as Jesus defines it). What we see in Jesus’ life, however, is a very different posture toward others. It’s full of grace and truth. Out of a deep motivation of selfless love, he is committed to radical grace AND truth-telling, truth-listening, and truth-living. We call it a Call In culture.
What Grace Is
Grace is not just pardon for the poor sinner but “participation in the divine nature.” Grace is God himself, the communication in which he gives himself to man as the divinizing favour which he is himself. Here God’s work is really himself, since it is he who is imparted. – Karl Rahner
Instead of the shadow-grace of Hang Out culture (nervously managing relationships), we express Jesus-grace, which is all about reaching out toward others to connect with them and be with them.
Grace wasn’t invented to deal with sin, although we often talk about it in our churches this way. Grace existed within the Trinity before the world was created because grace is God’s giving of himself in relationship. Grace is God’s empowering presence that reaches out to connect. Grace is God’s desire to be with us. It is the gift of relationship.
Grace has to do with presence. It seeks to connect and be with others in deep, meaningful, covenantal relationships. Grace says, “I see you, I hear you, I am with you, I am glad to be here, you matter.” A Call In culture is marked by increasing connection, joy, and freedom in relationships.
What Truth Is
Likewise, instead of the shadow-truth of Call Out culture (pointing out what’s wrong), we express Jesus-truth, which sees more than what’s wrong and sets people free. Shadow truth (Call Out) uses “truth” as a weapon; its goal is to win, prove oneself right, and divide and conquer. Shadow-truth is experienced as a heavy burden, an “ought” or a “should” that overpowers and controls behavior or compels external conformity in the name of “righteousness.”
Jesus-truth is all about seeing people as God sees them (not just what’s wrong with them), and calling them in love to live out their true identity in Christ. Jesus truth is vision, empowerment, enlivening hope that calls people into God’s kingdom. Truth is about naming and living in reality as God sees it. In a Call In culture, truth is employed as an instrument of salvation, setting others free from the bondage of performance. Jesus-truth calls people into embracing God’s vision for their lives, proclaiming what life under the reign of Jesus looks like.
We connect with others and call them into the divine union in which we ourselves are learning to be centered, encouraging them to embrace their agency in the kingdom. Call In culture empowers others to embrace their God-given identity and join him in his work.
“Just as grace is the relational aspect of God’s character, truth is the structural aspect of his character.” – Henry Cloud
“Love is to be with someone and for someone unto something greater. Or put another way, presence, advocacy, and then direction.” – Scot McKnight
A new kind of culture
Call In is something altogether different from both Call Out and Hang Out. You can’t simply “add some truth” to Hang Out and get Call In, because the “grace” of a Hang-Out Culture isn’t Jesus-grace. Likewise you can’t “add some grace” to Call-Out and get Call In, because the “truth” of Call Out isn’t Jesus-truth.
Instead, it’s like learning a completely new language. A conversion is needed. We need to rethink everything we thought we knew about grace and truth and sit at the feet of Jesus and watch him work. We take his yoke and learn from him how to walk in this new way of life and leadership, the way of love.
Look for joy
This post only scratches the surface of this tool, and much more will get fleshed out in the context of our Kairos Cohort, but let’s end with an observation about joy.
The Apostle Paul said that the kingdom of God is a matter of “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17). This is a good description of Call In, where we experience righteousness and peace together, and because it’s empowered by the Holy Spirit and not our flesh, we experience joy in the midst of it.
The counterfeit cultures, on the other hand, are “flesh” cultures, in which we attempt to bring about something good in our own strength. Call Out seeks righteousness in its own strength, destroying peace in the process, and because it can never achieve this righteousness, it ends in joyless striving. Likewise, Hang Out seeks peace in its own strength, destroying righteousness in the process, and because it can never achieve this peace, it ends in joyless managing. Check Out does not strive for either righteousness or peace because it is too concerned about self-preservation, and it does not deliver either joy or rest. The lack of joy is a defining characteristic of all three non-love cultures.
However, when we give ourselves over to the love of God in Christ, full of grace and truth, we begin to build a kingdom culture of righteousness and peace together, which results in joy in the Holy Spirit because it’s empowered by the Spirit.
So one of the ways to tell if you’re living in a culture that’s not full of grace and truth is a lack of joy. A Call In culture will produce an abundance of joy.
Calling a toddler into the kingdom
So here’s how the story of Cece and the tatoes turned out: That evening, after a half-hour of desperately trying Hang Out, Call Out, and Check Out to Just. Get. Her. To. Eat. The. Tatoes. So. We. Can. Have. Dessert... something came over me: I decided I would try and believe in her more than she did.
I sat right next to her and looked her in the eyes and said, “Cece I know you don’t like tatoes. I completely understand. And that’s okay, you don’t HAVE to like them. Can I tell you a secrete (and I got really close to her ear so only she could hear): Mommy cooks a lot of food that Daddy doesn’t like, too.” I told her all the foods that Mommy cooks that I didn’t like. I got the side-eye from Mommy ’cause I think she knew what was up, but I pressed on. (Notice the connecting and empathizing... that’s grace.)
I continued, “But tatoes are what’s for dinner. And we eat what’s for dinner. Now, I want to eat dessert with you tonight. I don’t want you to miss out on the delicious chocolate cake that you’re excited about. I want you to have good things. And even though you don’t like tatoes, they are good for you. (Notice the maintaining of boundaries... that’s truth.)
“Cece—look at me—I BELIEVE in you. You are a strong, courageous little girl and you can do this! I know you can! (I named several hard things Cece had done in the last few days where she proved to everyone how strong and courageous she is.) Youcan eat these four bites of tatoes and then enjoy your dessert. You don’t think you can, BUT YOU CAN! You have all the power and choice here. You need to believe in yourself as much as I believe in you and you can do it.”
(Grace and truth together... calling her into relationship AND responsibility...) It took another 20 minutes, but Cece finished those 4 bites. After each bite we celebrated. (Our 8 year old got into the act as well, partially because he knew he wasn’t getting dessert until she finished her dinner.)
STOP AND REFLECT:
What parts of this story do you identify as Jesus-grace?
How about Jesus-truth?
Do you seen anything that is both?
How are these postures different than shadow-grace and shadow-truth?
Growing in grace and truth
This tool helps us to diagnose when we are living in one of the “flesh” quadrants. This can be extremely helpful because a large part of the process of spiritual formation is simply “catching yourself in the act,” i.e. noticing when you slip out of the awareness of God’s presence.
The only way any of us can begin to walk in grace and truth is to be filled with the love of God in Christ. Jesus makes it clear to his disciples and to us that we cannot “drum up” this kind of life by trying harder, exerting more willpower, or learning a new technique. It only comes as we “abide” in him, like a branch abides in a vine.
As we learn to live in his love, our defenses come down and we become open to receiving grace. As we do so, grace begins toflow into and through our lives to those around us. From this place of grace, we begin to tell the truth about ourselves. We stop hiding; we come out into the open and start walking in the light, and there we find that the truth, rather than binding and enslaving us, actually sets us free.
Questions for reflection:
Where do you see these cultures in your life? Your home, marriage, workplace, small group, church setting: are you living in a Hang Out, Check Out, Call Out, or Call In culture?
What would you say was the dominant culture in the family you grew up in?How do you know? In what specific ways has that impacted the culture(s) you create now?
Have you experienced a healthy Call In culture in the past? What was it like?What are some of the artifacts (elements) of this culture you can identify? Who was responsible for creating an environment of grace and truth? What can you learn from her/him?
Resources for further learning
A Fellowship of Differents: Showing the World God’s Design for Life Together (https://www.amazon.com/Fellowship-Differents-Showing-Design- Together/dp/0310531470/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1509633694&sr=8-1&keywords=a+fellowship+of+differents), by Scot McKnight, especially Part 1 (Grace) and Part 2 (Love)
Nonviolent Communication: Life Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships (https://www.amazon.com/Nonviolent-Communication-Language-Life-Changing- Relationships/dp/189200528X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1509633775&sr=1-1&keywords=nonviolent+communication+marshall+rosenberg), by Marshall B. Rosenberg
Changes that Heal: How to Understand Your Past to Ensure a Healthier Future (https://www.amazon.com/Changes-That-Heal-Understand- Healthier/dp/0310606306/), by Dr. Henry Cloud
Families Where Grace Is in Place: Building a Home Free of Manipulation, Legalism, and Shame(https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0764207938/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=bensblog04-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0764207938&linkId=88cddf6040b8ac648750ea90cb769d1d), by Jeff Fan Vonderan