Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Do I Want To Be A Christian?


I have been struggling with the term "Christian". I know where it came from and I know why it exists. But somehow it just doesn't seem quite right to me. I'm a child of God and I believe that Jesus is his son, The Messiah. This article, which I found on my friend's blog: http://www.blogtherefuge.blogspot.com/, puts into words what I've been thinking about.
this is written by jim henderson, the director of off the map & author of jim & casper go to church as part of january's issue of idealab, their monthly ezine. we liked it so much we thought we'd pass it on to refuge readers, too. enjoy.
In 1543 Nicolas Copernicus published his treatise De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (The Revolution of Celestial Spheres) and ushered into popular discourse the phrase “Copernican Revolution.” This Copernican Revolution pitted one powerful paradigm – it’s all about us, against another – it’s all about something outside of us.
When paradigms collide it can make for lots of excitement and provoke tons of resistance from those holding a vested interest in maintaining the status quo… As Tom Friedman the Pulitzer winning journalist once commented “those with power never think about it but those without power think about it all the time”.
The unfortunate truth about history (thus far) is that when it comes to powerful paradigm change, the church has often been on the side of the resisters. Peter Drucker said, “Every few hundred years in Western society there occurs a sharp transformation. Within a few short decades, society rearranges itself… We are currently living through such a transformation.” Apparently, Drucker believed that we’re currently living through a cultural transformation unlike anything that has happened since the 18th Century. That would include the American Revolution, the Civil War, World Wars I and II, the atomic bomb and even the Beatles!
What if there’s a Copernican Revolution going on and we don’t “see” it, what if we’re on the wrong side again? Exploiting Discontinuity Napoleon made a name for himself by doing two things, (1) He chose to sneak up on his enemies instead fighting them head on and (2) he actually killed people. Prior to this, warfare in Europe was more like a professional sport. Generals were like attorneys. Feudal lords would hire the best Generals to lead their private armies into a battle where no one actually fought very similar to our judicial system where most cases are negotiated rather than litigated. Each General would attempt to gain an advantageous position on his opponent in anticipation that the loser would “sue” for an end to the war/game. No one wanted to waste their resources so once it became clear who would most likely win – they would break out the wine glasses, sit down and negotiate an agreement. By choosing to kill people Napoleon exploited the discontinuity and became the ruler of France (for awhile).
How can we exploit the discontinuity in our world and use it to advance this opportunity to free Jesus from the stranglehold religion has placed on him and once again take him public?
Why Do We Follow Culture
Where did the Jesus movement lose its edge? How did we get in bed with power? Where did we learn to follow rather than lead culture? Where is Jesus in this thing we call Christianity? How did we get into the religion business anyway? Where could you take Jesus to church and not feel like you had to explain it to him? In Transforming Mission, David Bosch writes “Jesus had no intention of founding a new religion” Somewhere along the line the Jesus Movement got into the religion business. This is so commonly accepted that I rarely hear it questioned and yet Jesus never said one thing about his movement adopting the world religions business model. What he did do was talk obsessively about advancing his movement (a.k.a. kingdom) How did it happen that we went into the business of church and religion?What happened to the Jesus Movement?How did Jesus the Savior subsume Jesus the Servant?Why do we Christians typically react to changes in culture rather than lead them? Free Jesus.
Off The Map is the organization I started seven years ago to help take Jesus public again. Free Jesus! Sounds arrogant doesn’t it? But if Drucker and Bosch are correct then this is a great time to attempt such a rescue. In case you didn’t get the memo…Jesus is not part of the public dialog on spirituality – We’ve ceded that ground to the Dali Lama, Wayne Dyer, Tony Robbins and Oprah.
What if Jesus was once again public property?What if following in the way of Jesus involved more than right beliefs? What if followers of Jesus led this movement and took the spirituality of serving public? What if Jesus was seen as the founder of a movement that serves others – instead of one that judges others? What if the Jesus movement got out of the beliefs business and back into the serving business where it all started?
Free Jesus!


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