During class we discussed the similarities and differences between Shane Claiborne’s and Naomi Klein’s books. During discussion, a few points stood out to me. They may or may not have been discussed directly, but here are some of the things the discussion made me consider:
- Jesus’ model of ministry seemed to be one of focusing on outsiders – those outside of favor, outside of the religious elite. The early church seemed to spend a good amount of time focusing on the needs of the early believers. Both are good, but it shows the tendency we have to start focusing inward as soon as we begin to gather.
- Jesus focused both on acts of love and a knowledge of God. He met people where they were and journeyed with them in that relationship, challenging them in both areas.
- There seem to really be two extremes in church life today (related to the above point). There are those who are all about telling truth to others to get them to become like “us”. Then, there are those who really seem to be reacting to that first group who tend to shy away from or completely reject the ideas of truth and only speak of serving others and journeying with them in a spiritual process. The first alone is inconsiderate and inexcusable. The second alone is reactionary and false. Jesus seemed to live out a great value in both. He had a high standard for action and love, but he also had a high standard for repentance and truth. Just because the church has majored on one and all but forgotten the other for too long doesn’t mean we should now swing to the other extreme.
- The church needs to be known for what they are for, not what they are against. Jesus spoke about and focused on the coming kingdom. He spent much less time correcting the evils of the day. We are called to embody truth here and now. That means spending more time creating alternative societites of truth and love and less time critiquing and chastising the world for acting like the world. Jesus’ focus seems to be leading people to a relationship more than correcting behavior.
- An interesting quote I’m still ‘pondering’: “It is more important to follow the way of life that Jesus espoused than any belief system.” It’s true: Jesus’ main call was “follow me.” Some of that included belief, though. What’s clear, though, is that the Christian life is usually caught rather than taught. We’re called to journey toward Christ, and we’re called on that journey together. That means a church body should really include people on all parts of that journey – even people who are just starting out, asking questions, and testing the water. Does your body of Christ followers allow space for people to ask those questions?
- The Lord’s Prayer is plural. Our walk is a lot more corporate than most Americans are comfortable with. We weren’t meant to live this life alone.