Thursday, December 13, 2007

sprinkle a little Jesus in...

Here's a quote from Shane Claiborne out of his book, "The Irresistible Revolution." This book had (and continues to have) a dramatic impact on my faith and the shaping of The Well.

“If you ask most people what Christians believe, they can tell you, “Christians believe that Jesus is God’s Son and that Jesus rose from the dead.” But if you ask the average person how Christians live, they are struck silent. We have not shown the world another way of doing life. Christians pretty much live like everybody else; they just sprinkle a little Jesus in along the way. And doctrine is not very attractive, even if it’s true. Few people are interested in a religion that has nothing to say to the world and offers them only life after death, when what people are really wondering is whether there is life before death.

As my teacher Tony Campolo used to ask, 'Even if there were no heaven and there were no hell, would you still follow Jesus? Would you follow him for the life, joy, and fulfillment he gives you right now?'"

Some good thoughts here, I think. Do you agree with Shane that we have not shown the world another way of doing life? And how would you respond to Tony Campolo's questions?


Mark Bradshaw said...

That book is so challenging, as is Shane & co.

In response to Tony's question, until recently I don't know that my answer would've been yes. Maybe it takes time to taste and see how good it is? Or maybe it's just harder for people who already start so well off to realize how badly they still need God. It's not always so obvious. Some people never get that.

I think I agree with Shane's comment that people haven't seen a different life style. Well, at least I haven't seen it, and I'm an insider, a member of comfort-Christianity. Frankly, I'm pretty interested to see it. I think that's what makes Shane so interesting, and terrifying. I love to see what he's doing. I'm scared to death to do it.

Anonymous said...

I must say that I agree that most Christians don't live a life that is any different than the comfy "get more stuff" life that today's culture promotes and even pressures us to live. My fear (and personal experience) is that a deeper problem is that in most cases, Christians are taught that the stuff that we acquire is different than the stuff that non-christians have because God is actually "blessing" us with it...for being good Christians. So we continue to live the consumer life believing that it's okay because these are God's rewards to us and he wants us to have our stuff.

I do believe that God blesses us...even financially. I've definitely been financially blessed. But it does me a lot of good to remember the Bibilical truth that God blesses us so that we may bless others. So when I'm feeling particularly "blessed" and am tempted to squander those blessings on myself and even my family and friends, I remind myself that God wants/commands me to bless those who have real needs...and there's no shortage of opportunities to bless someone in need.
If this is what Christians were taught from the beginning about what it means to be "blessed" then I believe we would be showing the world another way of doing life, and changing it at the same time.

Ryan S. Poe said...

To Mark: I'm really interested in hearing what you think a different lifestyle looks like. I mean...what is it that causes you to be "scared to death"? You must have something in mind.

Ryan S. Poe said...

To anonymous: I agree entirely. So, if it must be shown from "the beginning", then what does that look like, in your opinion? And what is it going to take for Christians to change their ways?