Horace Bushnell: Our unconscious influence is our chief influence

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You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14

“The Bible calls the good man’s life a light; and it is the nature of light to flow out spontaneously in all directions, and fill the world unconsciously with its beams. So the Christian shines it would say, not so much because he will, as because he is a luminous object. Not that the active influence of Christians is made of no account in the figure, but only that this symbol of light has its propriety in the fact that their unconscious influence is the chief influence, and has the precedence in its power over the world. The outward endeavors made by good men or bad to sway others, they call their influence; whereas it is, in fact, but a fraction, and, in most cases, but a very small fraction of the good or evil that flows out of their lives.”

Horace Bushnell in Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers, compiled by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert (New York: Wilbur B. Ketcham, 1895) 350.

What if we lived as though the chief influence of our lives is who and what we are and not what we do. This is good for me to think about as I walk the fields of North Dakota with my friend, John Roswech. The irony of the Christian faith is that our unconscious influence is our chief influence.

Do we live as though this is true? How can we nurture the ‘being’ aspect to our faith? I am realizing that is part of the reason God gave me the opportunity to go hunting this weekend. To just ‘be’ with the Lord, and of course our dog, Joy St. Clare, and Sammy’s dog, Hope St. Teresa.