By Lauren Burns
My brother refuses to shop at the Citadel Outlets in Los Angeles. This colossal complex is complete with everything a mall-goer could dream of: Armani, Old Navy, Jamba Juice, and two 30-foot statues of Lamassu - an Assyrian protective deity. Lamassu’s winged bull body faces the 5 Freeway in all its glory - the mall’s guardian and enchanter.
On each drive up the 5, I’d have an itch to pull off and enter the Citadel gates. (In all reality, it’s just a shopping center that kind of looks like Babylon.) But my brother’s staunch conviction would make me pause. “Lauren, these statues give me weird vibes,” he’d say in California-speak.
While my brother might have deterred my entrance from this temple of seemingly glorified consumerism, Capital Fellows week 6 has left me with a question: How many other temples have I joyfully entered in this season, temples that woefully deter my pilgrimage with Christ?
This week, Bill Fullilove, one of our professors, and John Kyle, the director of the Capital Fellows program, exposed the grand impedance in our scripture reading and rest practices. This impedance - idolatry. Not busyness, or poor sleeping habits, or (in the case of scripture reading) lack of historical context, but the indulgent worship of man-made gods that satisfy us in some way, somehow.
Yes, while things like busyness and poor sleeping habits impede our ability to rest and read scripture, they are little “i” impedances. Idolatry is the big “i,” because the aim of both spiritual disciplines is to know our Father better. And the greatest hindrance to knowing God (in a “yadá,” experiential way) is spiritual adultery.
My pilgrimage with Christ has lacked no little bouts of spiritual adultery. As we start the sixth week of Capital Fellows, I feel I’ve caught myself mid-hammer, as I subconsciously proceed to re-erect the 30-foot idols of my heart - vanity, recognition, and security.
The author of Hebrews reminds his listeners to not harden their hearts if they hear the LORD’s voice. He warns that disobedience was the cause of the Israelites’ inability to truly rest (Hebrews 3:15-19). I can say, on behalf of this fellows class, that we (like the Hebrew listeners) long to enter true rest. And we long for real transformation, as we read Scripture.
If you’re reading this blog, pray for us Capital Fellows. We have 30-foot idols in our hearts, and our own chiseling tools seem too weak to fully knock them down. Pray that we’d look to Jesus, the great high priest who passed through the heavens (Hebrews 4:14), who claimed victory over all deities on the cross - Lamassu included.
Pictures from the Week
Outside Cornerstone School, before the rain storm!
Visiting other Fellows in Maryland
Absorbing so much of Kingdom Seminar, I'm starting to look like the professor!
Know a Potential Capital Fellow?
We are actively building Season Seventeen! If you know a college senior or recent graduate that would benefit from this program, please let them know about our upcoming informational webinars. About Capital Fellows. Capital Fellows is an advanced leadership and discipleship program for recent college graduates. Through graduate courses, a paid internship, one-on-one mentoring and many leadership and community service opportunities, fellows develop and apply their gifts in real-world situations while learning to integrate a Christian worldview into all areas of life. Capital Fellows is a unique opportunity to live and work in the Washington DC area and to be an active member of a supportive community that seeks to serve the city with the love of Christ. It is also a unique opportunity to get hands-on experience in the workplace while deeply exploring God’s design for us as workers and contributors to human flourishing.
Pray for the Capital Fellows
Thank you for praying for the Capital Fellows each week!
The Capital Fellows are starting in on two projects this week: the infamous "Daniel" paper and MCODE assessments. The Daniel paper is an opportunity to reflect on what it means to live in exile, as Daniel did during the Babylonian Empire. The MCODE is a personality assessment that gives insight into inner motivations. Both of these tools, and many other things about this program, help fellows to go deeper in their knowledge of God and of themselves. Please pray for them as they discover, grow, and prepare for lives of servant leadership in the workplace, church, and society.
Want to pray for the Capital Fellows in an ongoing way? Download this handy prayer guide for your phone or tablet.
About The Fellows Initiative
Capital Fellows is part of a network of similar programs across the country. This network is called The Fellows Initiative. There are 34 Fellows programs in TFI, roughly 3,000 alumni living around the world, and more Fellows programs on the way.
If you know a church in the US or Canada that would benefit from joining TFI by launching a new Fellows program. Please contact TFI by visiting their website.
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