I don’t remember how many times in my life I have reached the conclusion that the more it seems I know, the more I seem to realize how little I “know”. It is as if knowledge is never ending and that we will never have a basket full of it—in this life at least.
And each time I have had that particular thought about knowing how little I really know, I have truly felt like I understood what I was thinking. Tonight, as I was reading a book by Carl Raschke entitled “GloboChrist” I was literally overwhelmed with the vast body of knowledge that surrounds our every waking moment like the air that envelops our very being.
Why, just the casual study of how our language has developed over the millenia could consume the next twenty five or thirty years of our waking moments. For instance, did you know that a noun names a person, place, thing, quality, action or idea according to the Perrin-Smith “Handbook of Current English”—itself a tome of over 590 pages of info about the words and sentences that we use everyday and no doubt have taken very much for granted since that 4th grade English class in 1958 (insert year here).
But that, in and of itself, is just a pleasant side trip when juxtaposed against the substance of the GLOBOCHRIST book and its’ story of how the great commission is taking a postmodern turn.
But pomo or no pomo (postmodern), understanding the mystery of the gospel has got me in its’ grip—I am beginning to see just how much of it there really is to see and how little I know in comparison to how much I realize there is to go. But I am not dismayed—rather intrigued by the journey itself and all the stops and starts it has taken over the past 25 years.
It is almost as if I am a man who has eaten vanilla ice cream for many years and then one day begins to really taste the fullness of the flavors that make it what it is—this very sensory revelation doesn’t take away from what has been but instantly adds to what is and what very well will be.
Take the “Incarnation”—a noun which simply means, “…the embodiment of God in human form as Jesus”. As Christians, we believe in the divinity of Christ and the doctrinal truths that surround this belief. Yet believing it and understanding what this means for the global church is another matter in and of itself.
Simply put, “Christ in us” is what will transform us and the world and not the buildings and programs we have built around this belief. These things (buildings and programs) are not inconsequential but are not the substance of “things hoped for”.
What follows this thought for me is the fact that what we export must be trans-cultural and not an American idea of what the world needs.
I have been dismayed in the past, by how—when Americans take the gospel message (the good news) to other people groups—a very American idea of what the church should look like is usually is what transpires. Rather than focusing on the “indwelling” Christ and letting the culture shape that experience, it is often the other way around.
Now of course, I could be totally off base here simply because I have not actually been to all the nooks and crannies where the gospel message has been preached. But if what I have read (and experientially know about American culturalization) is true, we like to take our McDonalds with us rather than the other way around. I mean I thought the whole point of going to Europe was to experience the way other people live their lives. That means eating in their restaurants and using their transportation, etc.
One of my frustrations with even writing about this is, because of my free-flowing nature and lack of outlining discipline, I may not have totally made the point that I set out to make, which is—the power of the gospel and why it is still so very relevant today—is all about the incarnation plain and simple.
So at least I have a place to hang out and explore during these first few months of 2009. And hopefully you will come along for the ride as well.
Let me share some thoughts after reading this and your earlier post on ‘passion’. The incarnation – “Christ in us” is a reflection of the “Tree of Life”. The vast body of knowledge is a reflection of the “Tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. I agree that the understanding of the mystery of the gospel is taking a pomo turn – and has nothing to do with buildings or programs. You have suggested that Americans like to take their McDonalds with them – I would replace Americans with Evangelicals!You commented earlier about being passionate. I am a very unemotional type of person – but I have been vaguely aware of that treasure in earthen vessels for some 50 years, but its only really in the last 3-4 years that it has begun to take on an entirely new meaning.I do know what it was like to have a job where I couldn’t wait to get in in the morning and time generally flew – I was a computer programmer with my own long term project!I now know what it is to be passionate – strongly motivated – a good sense of what I am meant to be doing – asking questions and encouraging people to think for themselves!We are all on unique journeys. Those of us who are aware of being called now are each seeing a small part of the overall picture.Many people have spent their lives in and around the ‘room of good intentions’. It’s not for me to question why Father in His wisdom has allowed this over the years, but there is a better way – ‘the room of grace’ – and more and more people are being drawn away from the churches they may have attended for many years.My blog is an introduction to the journey I have been on – the topic ‘True Faced with God’ will explain the significance of what I have written above.Maybe we can share our rides.
Your thoughts are always welcome here. And riding with others is the only way to travel. I had a link to your site a while back but can’t seem to find it. Maybe you can leave it again.
I included the blog address as the web site address when I replied – http://oldpete66.blogspot.comThe blog has been completely rewritten – only relatively minor tidying up of the web site
People like to have something to do. So we construct buildings and programs. Maybe they’re useful for a while. After a generation or two, or even a millenium, some tearing down must take place; the old structures hinder more than they help. That’s the wineskins principle of which Christ spoke.Probably the greatest deconstructionist in all of Christendom was Martin Luther. But then look what happened. Another institution was subsequently built upon the deconstructionist foundation that he had (unwittingly) laid.It’s what we humans do. All the buzz of activity keeps us busy, well-fed, out of trouble for awhile.And then there’s the McDonald’s effect that you mention–oh, it’s definetely in the mix, always has been. Check out 1 Cor 11:13-16 and decide for yourself whether Paul was reflecting some cultural prejudices (pertaining to hair length.)Nevertheless, our Sovereign Lord is able to work through all of that, in spite of our misplaced cultural baggages. Such is the power of our God.I mean, he managed to get the message of his grace to me, several thousand miles and millenia away from where the event actually happened, in spite of Nero’s persecution, Constantine’s conquests and meddling with church doctrine, the popes’ misjudgements, the Inquisition, Crusades, Nazis, Jim Jones, greedy preachers, overbuilt cathedrals, charlatan televangelists, manipulative fivefolders, false apostles, Aryans, Arians, misplaced building funds, and every other stripe of human error.We all export a little of our own prejudice in our presentation of the Gospel. But God can get through it. You don’t need to worry about him.I do hear your admonition, though. We need to be careful minimalists.Thanks for sharing. C
That’s the best asnwer of all time! JMHO
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