“We are sitcom people serving the God of epic novels.”
– Jared Wilson, Your Jesus is Too Safe
Just read a great and heart-felt post by Jared Wilson. I recommend you read the whole thing. Here’s an excerpt.
Hey, how about we don’t “hope” that to happen, but we just actually do it? If the Jesus in your preaching is subliminal, you’re failing. I don’t care how many people are in your church or buy your books or watch your videos. An implied Jesus is a FAIL.
And this is why this shade of the emerging thing — and I know I can’t lump them all in together; in some eyes, I’m a part of the emerging church and so is Mark Driscoll and so are McCoy and Thorn up there in Chi-town and so is Neil Cole, et.al. — is really just our Boomers’ seeker church metrosexualized. And why many of the seeker church guys are now embracing this shade of the emerging thing. It’s their deal, only cooler. The feel-good legalism is still there and Jesus makes cameo appearances. That’s an ecclesiological reconstruction FAIL. (Thank you, Jim Belcher.)
Jesus doesn’t need you or me to be embarrassed for him or his followers. He doesn’t need our help. We don’t have to butter people up before we bring him out. He’s not a time share or Amway or something.
If I get hit by a bus just after preaching a Jesusless exhortation to hold hands and be sweet to change the world with positivity, you have my permission to wish the bus had hit me before I preached.
Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! And woe to you too, Rob Bell.
Jared Wilson on social justice and false dichotomies:
The first thing that comes to mind when I hear about the current Christian fascination with social justice – which I’m a fan of – is that seeing these issues with Jesus’ eyes means seeing eternity with them too, beyond the problem that is literally before us. I talked with a guy recently who serves at a soup kitchen for the homeless and he was really sort of annoyed by a preacher who was coming in and preaching the gospel. My friend was saying, “Why would you preach about hell to homeless people? They know more about hell than we do.” And maybe they do. But why would you want to feed a guy a meal for a day but leave him lost for eternity. Maybe that preacher’s delivery was a little rough around the edges. Maybe he lacked sensitivity. I don’t know. But I do know this either/or stuff is killing us and setting up false dichotomies that plenty of younger Christians are willing to ecclesiologically impale themselves upon.
I think if we saw the problems of the world the way Jesus saw them, we would both be moved by compassion to wanting to feed, clothe, heal, and fix and also moved by compassion to wanting to share the bread of life as well. If you’re Jesus, you know man doesn’t live on bread alone.
This was part of an interview he gave for the Your Jesus is Too Safe blog tour. Check it out.
The Your Jesus is Too Safe blog tour starts on Monday. Lots of great bloggers will be reviewing Jared’s book or conducting interviews with him.
Maybe you’re having trouble with forgiveness because you’ve been badly burned by someone. Someone has abused you, offended you, cheated on you, or wronged you in some way. Maybe there’s a huge chasm between you and someone you love (or want to love). You understand intellectually that you ought to forgive, but the idea is so painful because of what this person has done to you. Your spirit is willing but your flesh is weak. You may have thought at some point while reading this chapter, That’s easy for you to say. You don’t know what I’ve been through.
You’re right; I probably don’t know what you’ve been through. But that emotion you’re feeling right now, that weight, that discomfort you feel when you ponder the gravity of forgiving such huge wrongs against you, is a taste of the scandal of grace.
I’m not sure I can even express this strongly enough: grace is scandalous. It’s unbelievable. It’s weird. It’s nonsensical. It disturbs us and confuses us. It burns.
But it heals.
Jared C. Wilson, Your Jesus is Too Safe, Chapter 3: Jesus the Forgiver
Let’s be frank: if you find the message of Jesus easy to digest, you’d better check the label on the box. You may be consuming a diluted version of Christianity. The message of Jesus – that he himself is life and you can’t get it anywhere else, least of all in yourself – is the hardest message we could ever hear, because it goes completely against our perceptions and conceptions, our prejudices and our opinions. It goes radically against the bent of our souls.
– Jared Wilson, Your Jesus is Too Safe, Chapter 1.
4. Re-focus your doubts toward your own failings and inability. Doubt yourself, in other words.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
— 1 Corinthians 1:25
This is counter-intuitive to some, and it sounds like bad advice in this age of “Believe in yourself” and self-help and the therapeutic gospel of human potential, but we will not believe God more fully until we despair of ourselves more fully.
In this sense, the counter-attack is not to “stop doubting God” — telling someone awash in doubt to simply “stop doubting” is like telling a drowning man to thrash harder — but to start doubting yourself. It is telling a drowning man to stop thrashing, to doubt his own ability to thrash his way into safety. And in fact, when a drowning man relaxes and stops “fighting,” giving up trust in his ability to save himself, his rescuer is better able to swim him to safety.
If you think God can’t be trusted, think about yourself. How together are you? How well do YOU have it figured out? How in control are you? How are your plans coming together for a great life? How is “following your heart,” which is deceitful above al things, working out for you?
If we are honest with ourselves, we will realize our utter dependence and feebleness. And when we doubt ourselves, we are ready to trust God.
He must become greater; I must become less.
— John 3:30
Hey, today, why not pray that God will overfill your cup with grace. So when Uncle So-and-so is picking on you, when Grandma is comparing you with your more successful cousin, when Mom or Dad is doing that passive aggressive thing about why you don’t come home more often (when you happen to be home right now! gosh! :-), endure. Endure and respond with love.
Make it your little secret. Inside you will feel like you’re winning a secret battle.
Vomit grace all over the table, horn-o’-plenty centerpiece and all. Be Jesus at that table and overturn it with kindness.
From Jared’s Thanksgiving encouragement post. Go read the whole thing.