Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Christianity or Jesus?

“SPEAKING OF JESUS”: the art of not-evangelism. By Carl Medearis

This book was about telling others about Jesus, not Christianity. The author having lived in Lebanon for a number of years, seen the problem of speaking of Christianity and thus realized he had to shed “Christianity” and begin with Jesus. Whereas Christianity is seen in a negative light Jesus is seen more positive. That problem is also here with us in the United States. As the author quotes Don Miller (author of ’Blue Like Jazz’), “ask 10 people what Christianity is and you will get 10 different answers.”
The authors’ contention that the word ‘Christianity’ has come to mean almost anything except who Jesus really is. He feels that we should not even try to defend the term but ignore it. We need to get people’s attention back to Jesus and his life.

I totally agree with the author that we need to be speaking and pointing others to Jesus rather than Christianity. I had a problem with the authors downplaying of the death and resurrection of Jesus. The author wants to talk about Jesus life and almost ignore his death and resurrection. The problem here is that if Jesus did not die and rise from the dead his life and teachings will become meaningless. I don’t feel that people are interested in a good man or a good prophet as much as they are in a risen Savior. We cannot forget that it was his death and resurrection that makes his life worth studying.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Faith of Leap

The Faith of Leap: Embracing a Theology of Risk, Adventure & Courage by Michael Frost & Alan Hirsch

The authors, with help from many outside sources, have succeeded in writing to encourage the church that they need to throw off their pursuit for safety and security and begin living “…the ongoing risky, actional, extravagant way of life “ that should characterize followers of Jesus. They contend that this type of life calls for courage which is learned through community. The authors call this communitas- a collective of people who find meaningful life together as a result of their shared mission. As the authors point to the need for communitas, we as individuals do not lost our uniqueness. For the authors encourage that there is a mission that we pursue as individuals, such as on our job, as well as in community/church.

As stated by the authors, the church has four key functions: mission, community, discipleship and worship. “Mission is the practical demonstration, whether by speech or by action, of the glorious lordship of Jesus. It is where we get to create little foretastes of the kingdom of Jesus…”
They say that mission should be the catalyst that energizes the other 3 functions and they build their case from a theological, sociological and practical viewpoint. They say that, “when mission is allowed to be the catalytic function, the other elements of ecclesia (church) are not in any way diminished; they are in fact enhanced.”
A few other quotes they give in this regard which I liked,”…just worshipping God on Sundays and midweek fellowships alone does not produce disciples-because if it did actually work, then there would be no crisis of discipleship in the church.”
Another quote, “Let’s stop kidding ourselves-there are too many instances of Christians worshiping sublimely every Sunday, but never making and impact beyond the congregation, never experiencing the powerful beauty of communitas, never going deeper in discipleship. We think this is precisely because the catalyzing experience of missional adventure and risk are removed from the equation.”

They close the book with some examples of where missional risk has been put to practice and is working.
This book is filled with good material and many good quotes. It needs to be read by all church leaders, discussed and then put into practice. The only thing I would have liked to have read is an example or two where churches and their leaders have attempted to make their church more missional and failed. All together this is by far one of the better books I have read about the church in a while. 5 stars