Thursday, November 16, 2006

I'm growing weary of the argument that Jesus' advice via the Sermon on the Mount isn't applicable to our situation because the politics of his day were so different from ours, i.e., since democracy wasn't available to him, all he could do to confront injustice was to teach his disciples to counter Roman Imperial rule by turning the other cheek. If first-century Palestine had enjoyed a democratic form of government, then Jesus' teaching surely would have been different: join the political fray, get elected, and do some good for a change.

I beg to differ.

Jesus could have joined the party of the Pharisees (even he admits he's closer to their teaching than any of the other sects, see Matt. 23), endeared himself to the movers and shakers in Jerusalem (remember, he showed great promise when he was a wee, little lad, Lu. 2:41ff), get elected to the Sanhedrin (think of how much help Nicodemus would have been to Jesus' political career!), and effect the kingdom of God by working within the system.

But he didn't do that. Why not? To many Americans, it would appear that he missed his chance to "make a difference" in the world. But, that's okay. Even he said his kingdom is not of this world. When are we going to learn?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

First attempt at adding my voice to the dissonance in hopes of finding clarity.

How are we supposed to follow a man who lived 2,000 years ago?

Too often Christian discipleship is defined by what we're against: counter culture. This is the way of the world; therefore, in order to follow Jesus, we must be anti-status quo. But, I want to be for something.

What I'm proposing (nothing new, really) is that we begin with the gospels and see how each writer makes a disciple of his reader. In other words, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were written not only to get readers to believe in Jesus; they were written to show believers how to follow Jesus.

How does Matthew's story make a disciple of you? How is that different from Mark? What is the literary effect of Luke's story? And, now for something completely different, how does John make disciples out of his readers?

These are the questions that interest me.

I think we've lost the power of the gospel story. Instead, we rely upon list makers to tell us what we're supposed to do. So, I compare my list with your list (they never agree) and judgment comes.

Jesus never made a list. He preferred telling stories, and then he said, "You figure it out." That should tell us something.