Thursday, September 29, 2005



embodiment of the gospel through communal interpretation and witness will not fit easily within the identity and vision of most congregations. Influenced by their Christendom hangover which includes demands for service and relevance (to individuals and/or to society), the church has allowed its life, ministry, and mission to be defined by something other than the gospel. All too easily we forget that according to human wisdom the message of a crucified savior is not good news but a stumbling block and foolishness. Thus as the church declares the gospel in the midst of the brokenness of the world, it must both engage and critique the concerns and ways of the world.

Participating in God's mission does not preclude or discount humanitarian activities, but it does challenge the church to clarify how the core of its identity—the gospel of Jesus Christ—both shapes and is shaped by these undertakings.

I don't have a reflection on this today as much as a questions t0 stimulate thought.... feel free to engage or add your own.

1. What does engaging the world look like for American Christians?

2. If the American church is so tied to the powerful of society (just look at how the rel. right uses it's faith as leverage in politics) then where is space for the "prophetic voice" in our culture?

3. If the church is so interwoven into the fabric of society through governmental politics (ie rel. right) how can we be in a place where we can critique our part of the world?

I know I picked on the rel. right a little bit in this. This isn't to say that there aren't other Christians who are in places of power. Our living in the US puts us in a place of power. I use the rel. right as an example because they use their influence in America in such a way that others either don't or do not have the clout to do. As far as Prophetic Christianity goes- I'm thinking that the closest organized prophetic voice out there is the Sojourner's Community- who critiques both the right and left. It can critique both sides because it's role of PARTICIPATION is not one of power but of siding with and speaking from the margins.

It is my opinion that participating from the margins is as close to the Jesus Ethic as we might get as a culture. I dunno.... any thoughts?


Zoomdaddy said...

My initial thought was that somehow she was making a distinction between community and mission. But I re-read it and I see her point. To mistake her warning as a critique on mission is to miss the point. I think she's spot on in identifying the challenges we as Western Christians face. How much ground have we conceded to the world in the quest to connect with culture and be "relevant"? Is that necessarily the Church's responsibility? I'm not saying we should try to make the Gospel inaccessible, but we need to be aware of the otherness of our Christian testimony before we try to squelch it and make it just one more story in the cultural pantheon.

St.Phransus said...

dude, that is a great point. I think that when we reduce ourselves to look, act, model our worship, to look relevant to the culture around- we've coopted our uniqueness. On the other hand sometimes we tend to show fear in expressing that OUR story (in our eyes) is more TRUTHFUL than any other story (worldview). I would expect that any other religion would say the same thing.

It's ok to embrace our peculiarity. We can still be inviting and open without watering down who we are as a people.

thanks zoom.