Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ten Things I would say to the Church (if they listened to me)

1. Love God, love one another, love your neighbor, everyone is your neighbor. The message of Jesus is that we are to love everyone as if they are the most important people in our life. Even family dynamics should not get in the way of our love for others

2. What you do (orthopraxy) is as important, if not more important as what you believe (orthodoxy) We need to be people that follow Jesus example, and teachings, even if we don't completely understand everything. Remember Paul said we see through a distorted glass, with dark tint now. Anyone who has it all figured out is a bit of an ego maniac (like me)

3. Stop trying to get the world to come into your church, and get your church (the people of God's kingdom community) to get into the world. The answer to the worlds problem, including its lack of Christ, is Christ in the world. We are to follow Jesus into the places inhabited by the poor and broken and despised, not call them to us.

4. Christ is the center of our faith, not the bible. For sure the bible tells us of Christ, and this is its function. But we must start our hermeneutic with Christ, we must start our discipleship with Christ, we must start our dogma with Christ. For Christ alone is the author and finisher, the beginning and end, the way the truth and the life, the exact representation of God. The bible game (tm) does not work. (the bible game is he who has the most scriptures with their addresses, taken out of context to support their argument wins) We are to be disciples of the WORD, with the word, illuminates by the Spirit of Jesus.

5. The church is not to reflect the worlds hierarchical structure. Israel sinned in asking for a king "like the other nations have" By being married to this structure we both create a system that infantalizes some, elevates others, and becomes the sin of our age (consumerism). Every joint supplies, and all gifts are used when we stop the top down ministry, and embrace the egalitarian nature of God's kingdom.

6. Bigger is not better Jesus was so explicit about this it hurts. The kingdom of God is like a bit of hidden leaven. The kingdom of God is like a tiny little mustard seed. Jesus never neglected the masses, but he never trusted himself to them. We need not do great things, but small things with great love- Mother Teresa

7. In following Jesus we continue in his path, his ascension provided a comma, not a period. What am I talking about? Jesus fought against the religious leaders and structures that marginalized people for being sick, being female, and for being heretics. We don't stop there, but we continue to follow his lead. We don't say, well this is what Jesus said and accomplished for equality for women, so we will accept that but no further. We should be on the cutting edge of empowering the disempowered. We should be fighting for the rights of those that are oppressed, even if they are (gasp) muslim, gay, or drug addicts. Following Jesus means continuing the revolution, not considering it done.

8. There is no such thing as a Christian nation, and even if there was America was never it. The church married to the state is the destruction of the church. Our kingdom is not of this world.

9. There is, with absolutely no doubt, a bias in the gospels towards the poor and the marginalized. The church needs to locate itself with this in mind. Not to reach down from a place of power, but to recognize itself, as neighbor, friend, and fellow desperately needy, follower of God

10. Love God, love one another, love your neighbor, everyone is your neighbor. The message of Jesus is that we are to love everyone as if they are the most important people in our life. Even family dynamics should not get in the way of our love for others. (oh did I say this already? yeah I suppose I did) The way of the cross is a way that says, "I love you so much I will give my life and death for you, all of you"

please understand that I am the church too, so I say this to my self as well



seaotter said...

Again, I clicked on this expecting something I could argue with, but you went and posted a bunch of solid facts. I dig this one, too, Rev.

john jensen said...

so why have you adopted the role of antagonist? I have enough trouble with strangers I don't want to argue with my friends... especially when they are smarter and more well spoken than I

Anonymous said...

Amen and amen. Wow. Sometimes I feel like I am the only one who feels this way about all these things. Are there really others out there?

Mary said...

My goodness. You are so right. You basically posted a lot of what I have been thinking about for the past couple of days. Keep on writing, brother!

Greg said...

I love it! We are the church and we are listening. As for the "others?" Each according to the light they have been given. Truth spreads and grows. Excellent.

FrSean said...

Could not have said it better myself John.

MelB said...

Nice. Glad I found this now I can stop thinking about how to say it! The church game - omishatternerves - OVER IT.

gord said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Comment deleted said...

This post has been removed by the author.

Anonymous said...

Well done. Thanks for this!

john jensen said...

Not sure why Gord deleted his post but it was a good question which summed up is: if only Jesus is important what about the rest of the canon? Are only the gospels important?

I completely accept the authority and necessity of all of scripture. My point is that Christ as portrayed in the gospels is the clearest understanding of God. Therefore everything in scripture must be submitted to and under Jesus

What we see in scripture is the context, the culture, the embodiment (church) and ultimate victory of Christ. Scripture must be viewed as the covenant of God as fulfilled by Christ

So practically, instead of taking the entirety of scripture and using it to interpret the entirety of scripture, we understand the entirety of scripture in light of Jesus' life teachings death and resurrection. It is the elevation of Christ in our interpretation over the bible itself. And though this will not make a uniform hermeneutic I believe it will go far to eliminating the ten thousands of "interpretations" all believed to be the correct one


gord said...

Thanks for the answer John. I deleted my comment as after i re-read it I thought it sounded a bit confrontational, which isn't what I was going for.

Thanks again for the reply!

seaotter said...

I don't think I've "adopted the role" of antagonist. I like to think that antagonism and I just found each other and it was a good fit.

All jokes aside, I think the modern church has some positives, and I was ready to stick up for them on the assumption that this might be broad-stroke condemnation of everything the church has come to be. But it wasn't and I the only point I can really argue with is the one where you say I am smarter and more well spoken, because we both know that isn't true.

Bageera said...

This group of issues have been with the "Body" since Acts 2. Not a new thing. In fact Solomon wisely said that that there is nothing new under the sun. Every generation sees God teaching the young and reminding the old of His Kingdom that His Son is the way, the Truth, and the Life. Some then, want to complicate it with traditions, opinions, and personal spiritual agendas.

I like these ten tenants John, and the Spirit which drives them. You my friend are in the zone. Greetings from Cambodia.

john jensen said...

Keep watch for an article on the man who just posted above me "bageera" or as I know him Dave Everitt changed my life forever and is a modern day saint. Love ya mate


laduke13 said...

"What We Believe"

castaway said...

Thank you ... solid stuff ... Driscoll is a light-weight posing as a heavy-weight.