Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Business As Usual

I was reading another blog today and as I read the author's most recent entry it struck me how much this Christian leader harped on success, business principles, over-coming personal hurdles, and the power of positive thinking.

When, do you suppose, that the church became a business? That we measured our success and effectiveness in by buildings, dollars, and personal achievements? Paul writes in his letters that all his "achievements" he considered "scoobalah" (the translation of which would offend my most sensitive readers)... so why are we running systems that propagate and celebrate this type of thing?

Jesus says that he had no place to lay his head, he was not welcome in his own hometown or even among his family for awhile, he gets thrown out of temple, and drives people away when he preaches... so, if we are supposed to be little Jesus' as "Christians" why does our brand look so different?

Now I have no problem with business and, am in fact, a Libertarian but business should be conducted in a wildly different way than being a messenger of God.

Religion and business have little to do with knowing Jesus.

One would wonder that if so many "Christian" and "church" leaders are spending so much time talking about their structures and ways of finding success it may because they have so little to say about a Man they do not know...

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Perscuted By Pharisees

As I have begun to engage in a dialogue that questions structure and religion because it does not seem to be part of Jesus' mission I have been shocked at the people who have been critically of the missional/emergent/emerging church and (on the other hand) floored at the people who- after being engaged in the structure for some time- are looking around saying, "Wait a minute. This is not what we signed up for."

While reading this morning I came up this quote from Alan Hirsch in his book The Forgotten Ways:

I believe that hte reason for the strong response in our critics is that they actually [do] 'get the message' about missional church but [do not] like it because, in this case, it called them out of a religion of quiet moments in quiet places (or passive entertainment) and into liminality and engagement." p. 223

Precisely said. It is an upsetting of a very stable, unmoving apple cart that is more interested in maintaining their positions, jobs, and power than teaching and living Jesus. Was it not the Apostle Paul who said, "If any man preaches any other Gospel than Jesus let him be damned,"? Then we should question why so many people both inside and outside the church are clinging feverishly to the hope that their good deeds will outweigh the bad ones- when it is plain both from Scripture and our own expereinces in this life that we cannot.

This being the fundamental difference between Christ followers and all religous structures: we cannot be righteous before a righteous and holy God, therefore we must trust His Way to pay our debt.

As I talked to my wife Sarah I lamented how shocked and saddened I was when seemingly well-meaning Christian came against this message of "follow Jesus" because (and this is seriously a quote from one of them), "[If we tell people to just follow the Bible and Jesus]... it will give them too much freedom." (emphasis mine). Seriously. Too much freedom. Isn't it in John chapter 8 that Jesus says that to believe in the Son is to be set free, truly free.

"The main stimulus for the renewal of Christianity will come from teh bottom and the edge, from the sectors of the Christian wolrd that are on the margins." -Harvey Cox, Religion in the Secular City