So here we are at the beginning of a journey. Four years ago the LORD dropped the idea for the Sustainable Traditions project into our heads and hearts and now today we have begun to build by hand a vision that is beyond us.

My wife Pam and I use to not think about consequences or challenge culturally accepted norms. We were relatively normal suburbanites driven by the tide of convenience and comfort- in our lifestyle, our faith, in every aspect of who we were. I guess the shift didn’t happen in a flash. It slowly dawned like waking up gradually on a cold morning. Now, here and there we have sensed the not-so-gentle foot of JESUS kicking us out from under the covers. In fact, I think the journey for us has been more marked by those times. Times where suddenly the Comforter came and stripped us of our comforts.

Wake up O Sleeper and the Messiah Will Shine On You

Wake up sleepy heads!

All through scripture GOD is calling to us to wake up. In our self-centered sleepwalk we dream our own dreams- be they American or otherwise. We dream of pleasure, fame, respect, love, acceptance, knowledge, safety, revenge. And though all deeply legitimate desires none can satisfy when we pursue them with our spiritual eyes closed. It’s like trying to sit down to a feast in our night-time dreams and waking up saying: ‘Why don’t I feel satisfied?’ Accept often we don’t wake up and don’t discern that we are caught up in our own dreams.

For a long time the LORD troubled me with the story of Peter betraying Jesus. The one where in boldness Peter declares his undying allegiance to Jesus and then at the rooster’s crow later Peter in fear for his life denies any devotion or association to the condemned Messiah. For awhile I think it was a guilt issue for me- have I betrayed Jesus!? But it was an abstract sense of perceived rejection by GOD. It was a fruitless sense of guilt. Even as a Christian growing up in the church I slept in rejection, religiosity, hypocrisy, fear…none of them leading me to what I really longed for. But then I began to see what He was calling me to- a brilliant, living friendship with Him, my Creator.

I admit I’m not fully awake, but this project, Sustainable Traditions, is a little invitation to all us sleepy-heads out there: wake up to the love of GOD, wake up to the consequences of our selfish living, wake up to loving your neighbors…and your enemies, wake up to caring for GOD’s creation, wake up to giving yourself to the poor and marginalized, wake up to the shackles of convenience, wake up to community, wake up to repenting (and it being life-giving instead of being full of guilt), wake up to our love of money and then wake up to a new, radical generosity, wake up to spiritual disciplines that are born of passionate love for GOD and not fear of The Fire, wake up to the crisis, wake up to GOD’s answers, wake up to the questions, wake up to a re-integrated, de-compartmentalized life, wake up to simplicity, wake up to joy, wake up to an embodied, incarnational whole-life Christian faith, wake up to the journey, wake up to the not-so-gentle foot of Jesus kicking us out of the bed of our fear and comfort and calling us to follow Him.

I should stop here. This whole website is after all here to be a soapbox as we journey towards waking. This is a conversation that many of you are already living. I’ll end with this:

“..everything exposed by the light becomes visible,  for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is…” -Ephesians 5: 13-17

J. Fowler

J. Fowler is the website editor and co-founder, along with his wife Pamela, of the Sustainable Traditions project. The Fowlers live with their seven children on a farm near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

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