Two years ago I had a paradigm shift in my faith when I read Brian Zahnd’s Beauty Will Save The World. As I wrote then “I suddenly had my ‘spiritual mojo’ back!” In hindsight now I realize that for years my theology was often times at odds with my faith. It created a dissonance in my Christian walk which made me quite happy to remain sitting quiet in the back of a church service as opposed to up front teaching.
But Zahnd’s book was quickly followed by as slew of other like minded writers; N.T Wright, Greg Boyd, Rob Bell, Peter Rollins, Paul Ellis, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Jay Bakker, Mike Lloyd. These teachers, and a handful of others, helped me to see God’s plan for his sons, daughters, and this world were far bigger and better than my previous theology had perceived.
Suddenly “Mediocre News” became “Good News” again!
The Political Church
I realized much of the American Christian model, when everything is stripped away, is sharing pretty mediocre news with people… and, understandably, getting pretty mediocre results. In America, by and large, the church sacrificed its prophetic voice years ago for political influence and in the process successfully alienated a generation of young people on the horizon.
We bemoaned the secularization of society blaming the atheists, humanists, and gays for it when in fact, the greatest catalyst for America’s turn from Christianity has been the behavior of it’s church.
* The church saw Jesus as a culture to be defended rather than a love to be shared
* The church chose a political team to support rather than supporting the duly elected
* The church became the behavior referees better known for calling a “foul” than announcing “Good News”
And as the church increasingly becomes more irrelevant and ignored by the average American, we are now becoming experts in claiming “persecution” and “victim” status. Our “rights” are suddenly being violated.
Think for a moment where we would be if Jesus had started claiming his rights were being violated? Hard to even imagine…
Instead when Christ was offered political power by the devil (in the wilderness) or by the people (to make him King) he rejected it both times.
Sadly the church has not!
Theology, Faith…and Hell
Then there is hell. There is a funny meme going around Facebook showing Jesus at the door knocking. It says:
It’s Jesus, let me in!
I have to save you…
From what I’m going to do to you if you don’t let me in.
Now, that is a little cheeky but it highlights the underpinning of mainstream evangelical Christianity; the threat of eternal damnation. What better sales motivation is there than “If you don’t buy our product…you’ll burn in hell!”
How many people have “received” Jesus with a metaphorical shotgun to their head? How can we share an unconditional love that is rooted in fear?
Because then it isn’t love…
So you can see my dilemma. My mouth couldn’t speak anymore. I suspected my “good news” wasn’t all together that good. When I got asked to speak somewhere I made a polite excuse why I was unavailable. I preferred instead to hang out in the back row of Sunday service remaining incognito.
Now…you can’t shut me up. I have GOOD NEWS to share again.
God loves you…you are his child, and you don’t have to be afraid!
I speak anywhere…anytime. If I’m on vacation and get asked to speak…I speak. Just this week I got asked to share at a young adults event. I don’t know anything about it but I just said, “Yes!” What I do know is there will be people there that need to know how much God loves them.
Funny how I changed when the “Good News” became “Good” again!