April 17, 2005 10:08:45 PM

things: thoughts and mainly critiques.

1. what is my faith without it being radical? the modern day readers who find the Scriptures comforting and warming to the spirit have narrowed God down to a do-it-yourself spirituality – to a network television program about angels and miracles. when i read the end of Luke chapter 9 I see Jesus’ baffling evangelistic techniques. here are some loose paraphrases “sure if you want to follow know that I am homeless with no place to sleep. so you want to follow me well you have to forget about your dying father. you’d like follow me, well you gotta leave those friends who are calling you away from me. you’d like to follow me, you must know that if you put your hand to the plow then you can’t look back – you can’t live with one foot in and one foot out of my kingdom – this is an exclusive membership that costs everything.”

now he didn’t mean this symbolically – because from reading i see real people walking away not being able to be saved. Jesus’ evangelistic tactics such in today’s “purpose driven church” standards – or marketing fueled techniques to get people into a building we now falsely call the church. if its not symbolic then jesus must have really been pretty radical – and i don’t mean that it takes a radical to add a single piece of knowledge to his or her head saying “i believe that Jesus died for my sins.” no, that is not radical. what is radical is refusing to buy nice things when you know you can have them via credit cards, not doing things because you know in the long run they are not healthy for you spiritually even though everyone around you says your “entitled to them,” not having a tv, owning no car – let alone a gas guzzling yacht on wheels. what is radical is to live a life filled with prayer to an unseen God, a life of disciplines, prudence, temperance, living a life of peace as opposed to violence, giving your sandwich to a bag lady you saw drinking a beer yesterday. letting scripture transform the way you live is radical. questioning culture, media, the powers that be to follow a homeless shepherd from Galilee – in hopes of him starting a revolution with no guns, no money, no status, and a bunch of rowdy sailors – no that is radical.

2. extreme makeover – Christ edition. watching the extreme makeover home edition has been something that emily and i have recently enjoyed doing, but as i become more aware of the overwhelming impact of TV on my and my wife’s self-perception i have noticed things that are better left unsaid. but i’ll say one thing, for such a nice heartwarming show, as the home edition it teaches one very untheological and non-christian point (though we might expect this to be true from the powers of Disney/ABC) – beautiful and expensive things are the fulfillment of people’s dreams and have the opportunity to become the hope for those devastated by loss. it is an anti-sojourner theology – that by my acquiring things and a wonderful home, that no one in their right mind would ever leave, i can be healed from the struggles of life. this mentality definitely considers the central community outcry of complete dependency on the Lord “give us this day our daily bread” null. what if the church were to show abc how to do it right? by rebuilding not only a house but also lives through the love and power of the holy spirit?

3. republicans and democrats: recently i realized i find it sad that i can categorize churches by their political preference – as though political preference has not become a broader bigger, more influence umbrella than any theological umbrella in the world. and further that many people i know would never consider going to another church outside of that political preference – irregardless of how true to God’s word that church really is. is this worrisome? that culture is transforming the church so much? show the church be that predictable – should it have such an earthbound allegiance (i realize this is what the power of the “pledge of allegience’s” rhetoric hopes to teach us)? then we begin to consider how many political options were open for Christ, and how he subverted every single one of them…the homeless shepherd revolutionary. dang it.

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Wess

...is the William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.