Yes! Finally Hope when you are exhausted from “Tea Party Jesus”
The tribes I journey with, wrestle and ache to bring to the church the reality that we’ve reduced the Bible to Hokus Pokus words – that we’ve reduced following, being like, sacrificing our own rationale, worldly wisdom, mores of our culture to become Kingdom people who live so differently from our dying society that the fragrance of life is powerful – overwhelming. We propose a Gospel of life – one that compels and consumes our lives to be like Him – radically like Him as we sacrificially give up “the American, Brit, Aussie, Kiwi, Canook dream” to be citizens of the Kingdom. No more “comfort, safety and security”. No more matierialism, consumption, multiple-choice, my rights” lifestyles – but servants – servants of the Most High God; servants to the people He came to serve and loves right where they are now – as should we – loving them enough to love them hard that they might “taste & see”…. We do not oft remember that salt is only used infused into food, not often alone. It makes food tasty. He told us to be salt.
We have a huge challenge in the church today… we’ve got an entire civilization of churches in western culture of the US and the British Dominions composed of consumer converts… a Jesus that is there to make their lives better, on their terms… one where becoming His is reduced to saying some words… as if some magic spell is conversion.
It’s driven us to experiment and birth Communitas. It’s driven us to sell out our lives and our porfessions to be missionaries, knowing that it would cost us – that many of our supporters would stop sending in that money, that new members would not be able to raise support. What is crazy to most people caring for their families, was so compelling that we HAD TO do this – God Himself sent us.
FINALLY – what we have been saying – along with all those numbers amongst the ne0-monastics, the new-friars, the missional community (that is actually centered in mission), and the guys contributing to thought leadership – like Mike Frost, Alan and Deb Hirsch, along with guys like Neil Cole and David Gibbons, is beginning to take root. Consider two sunbeams of hope that give me great joy:
Dallas Willard opens in a Forward [I usually skip forwards as too many words trying to convince me that what I am about to read is worth the price I paid for it], that is compelling and as good as anyone could introduce a book, set up the situation begging to be answered.
Dallas says, “How do we present the radical message of Christ in a church that has catered to the religious demands of the nominally committed? In other words, if we have gathered people into congregations by appeasing their appetites and desires, how can we help them deal with the fact that their problems in life and character-even in church”-are primarily caused by living to get what they want? How can the cross and self-denial become the central fact in a prosperous, consumer culture? How can discipleship to Jesus-in a sense recognizable from the Bible, with the spiritual transformation it brings-be the mode of operation in a thriving North American congregation?”
If you skipped over what I just quoted, stop and read it- it’s catalytic and powerful! Now consider not just reading this book, but allowing it to be a tool of spiritual formation for you – that could deconstruct your entire framework of being a Christian – that could wreck you from ever being the same leader again…. it could compel you to leave your own proverbial nets to actually sell out your life to follow Him in the most radical way you’ve considered since you embraced Him. I know – the veneer of life wore off long ago… or has it!
Now consider this video – it is crazy nuts and great. This mainline evangelical pastor has a hope filled exhortation that got me so excited I began composing this blog. Enjoy!
My friend, Mike Frost said this, “You can speak in tongues until the cows come home; you can get your reformed theology right until the cows come home. If you are filled with the Holy Spirit of God, you are breathing the Missio Dei in your entire life – living that people know Him, and walk with Him.”
Now, thirsty for more? If you have time, watch this, from Mike. I know him. I’ve heard him talk about this a dozen or more times in person. It still leaves me encouraged and convicted and compelled!
Okay, I’m not selling anything with what I am about to write. I simply want to make resources available to you and to call you to lay your head on that rock pillow, go to sleep and wrestle all night with the Angel of the Lord. May you lose!
Confused? Thirsty and no cup to drink from? I leave this with you:
1. Could God be calling you to live as an apostolic, incarnational missionary, who lives to be forgotten? Could He be calling you to do something like we’re doing – whether it be here, or with another community, order, movement?
2. Could God be calling you to totally rewire your framework, knowing that you may lose all of your present friends because you are talking crazy? We’ve called people to do that when they embraced Christ for years… now, are you ready?
We’re glad to support you. Part of our calling is helping saints and churches wrestle these very issues. Drop us a line.