Sunday, November 02, 2008

Rediscovering Jesus - Hirsh and Frost

This comes from the introduction of Alan Hirsh and Michael Frost's upcoming book Re: Jesus

Surely the challenge for the church today is to be taken captive by the agenda of Jesus, rather than seeking to mold him to fit our agendas, no matter how noble they might be. We acknowledge that we can never truly claim to know him completely. We all bring our biases to the task. But we believe it is inherent in the faith to keep trying and to never give up on this holy quest. The challenge before us is to let Jesus be Jesus and to allow ourselves to be caught up in his extraordinary mission for the world.

Whether it is the grand ecclesiastical project of the institutionalchurches, epitomized by the ostentatious excess of the Vatican, or the tawdry grab for the hearts and minds of the aspirational middle class by prosperity style Pentecostalism, the Christian movement has been subverted. Like a forgotten nativity scene in a shopping mall dominated by Santa Claus, reindeer,elves, Disney characters, tinsel, baubles, and fake snow, the biblical Jesus is hard to find. But Jesus is still calling us to come and join him in a far more reckless and exciting adventure than that of mere church attendance.

When allowed to be as he appears in the pages of Scripture, Jesus will not lead us to hatred, violence, greed, excess, earthly power, or material wealth. Instead, he will call us to a genuinely biblical and existential faith that believes in him, not simply believing in belief, as in many expressions of evangelicalism. It requires an ongoing encounter with Jesus. This will raise issues in the ways of knowing that bring about true spiritual transformation.

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