The other day I was talking to a friend... okay I was arguing with a guy on Twitter. We were speaking about structures, and ecclessiology (what the church is meant to be like), and we were not agreeing on most things. He pictured me as a bit of a renegade church planter, unbound by rules and regulations, and not having to worry about lineage and legacy of an historical church. At least I think that is how he pictured me. And if he did, it is pretty correct for the most part. But anyways, we got to a certain part of the discussion and he uttered this phrase, "I am gifted and skilled in making the most of what I am given, I'm not a revolutionary"
Now my first desire was to fire back, "well thats too bad, because Jesus was" But I have actually censored myself from time to time. So I took a minute to reflect on that statement and my reaction. The truth is, I am a revolutionary. I love Che, and Malcolm X, and Gandhi, and I want to be like that when I grow up. I have lived as a revolutionary in my communities, and churches, and I generally feel like the systems should not be slowly redeemed, but burned to the ground. Lets start a fresh with some new blood, some new structure and a refusal to get in bed with the worlds systems of management and leadership. Yeah, thats me. And I have learned over the years that we tend to put our ideas onto Jesus. This is actually quite normal, though wrong.
But what about the statement, I am not a revolutionary. In the context of following Jesus, what does that mean? I wondered, and still wonder. I see Jesus as a revolutionary. In fact the more I learn about Jesus, and his historical setting, the more I see him as a revolutionary. But to the religious systems of the day, to the perceptions of God, and even towards the interaction with government even hostile government. If we aren't naturally geared towards revolution, does that mean our following Jesus is meant to be different? How does every joint supply? How can those that aren't so quick to jump into the unknown follow this crazy Jesus?
Well, I think the best thing to do is to ask, what does this pondering require of me, and my attitude... so I will leave that til last :)
First, what about him? Well, I think he needs to be willing to risk, and jump into the unknown sometimes. I think he needs to be revolutionary, when the systems and structures continue to oppress people, or keep them stupid or compliant. He has to let the radical Jesus push him out of his comfort zone.
Now me, and I need to let him be who he is. I need to allow people like him to temper my fire, and avoid injuring a bunch of people who need a more gentle plan. I need to be humble and submitted as is all of our callings. I am not always right, though I think I am. And even when I am right, I need to respect others and their paths towards the truth. I need to stop being a new emerging monastic radical discipleship pharisee.
But I don't want to, self satisfaction is quite addicting