Thursday, December 3, 2009

Antithesis of Jesus

The more I read the gospels, the more I am bothered. Over the last 2-3 months, our Staff has been hanging out in Mark. To steal Pastor TC's words, "I feel further from the Lord, the more I study Mark. I have more questions than answers. I revere him and love him more than ever before." That captures it for me.

Jesus was profoundly mysterious in some of what he said and did in his earthly ministry. At the same time, he was masterfully strategic and thoroughly intentional! Here's a big thing growing in me recently. The more I learn Jesus, the more dumbfounded I become about current "church" practices and tactics. In fact, I want to take it as far as to say, I am seeing places where the church today (yes, my church, CCF!! and many other ones too) are doing the exact opposite of Jesus.
  1. Jesus traveled around from place to place. We stay put in one town and building. (unless we are on vacation)
  2. Jesus talked about the Father and ministered everywhere he went. We rarely talk about the Lord and minster practically nowhere but in the church building 90 minutes a week.
  3. Jesus said go! We say come!
  4. Jesus believed that sacred place was the heart of a man, where God dwells. We seem to believe that sacred space is our church for 90 minutes each Sunday morning, where God dwells.
  5. Jesus cast out demons left and right. Most of us wouldn't know a demon if we fell over one. Much less believe we can cast one out.
  6. Jesus healed with confident authority rooted in the Father. We pray with reserved doubt thinking that the results are somehow rooted in us!
  7. Jesus attracted massive crowds. We beg people to come and are disappointed in our attendance.
  8. Jesus spent his every day focused on the will of the Father. We spend our lives focused on us, our families, our jobs, our mortgages, our, our, our, our...
  9. Jesus took risks and did and said mind blowing things. We play it safe like pros.
Alright, let me stop...I could keep going, but I think you get my point.

Is all this just ok? He was Jesus, we are not, so let's go on with our life? Or should this bother us? And should we look to change it? What do you think?


Ben Rainey said...

Noah, there are some legitimate points that you bring up here, but some others I'm not sure about. I think that trying to overlay the 1st century practices of Jesus onto 21st century America is a bad idea. If Jesus were to have shown up in 21st century America, I doubt that the gospels would read the same. The plot would be the same, but much of the details would be different.

Noah said...

I like what you offer here Ben! And I think that you are right. I have said, that Jesus would be leveraging culture and language and tactics of our day. However, it would be POWERFUL and revolutionary. To me, that is inarguable. And my problem is that I am not seeing the equivalent (or "greater things") power that I see in Jesus at work in us today. I know people feel differently, but I am left wanting. Maybe I need to run in a new circle. ;-)

Ben Rainey said...

Yes, I didn't intend to say there would be any less supernatural, miraculous power demonstrated by Christ. I too am hungry for more of the Holy Spirit's power.