I just finished reading “Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises and a Revolution of Hope” by Brian McLaren and I have been thinking (and talking- sorry team!) about it nonstop. What is so exciting about this book is that it asks a lot of the same questions about the church, salvation and what it means to be a “Christian”. There is one page in the book that I found particularly inspiring- and I am going to copy it all out here- for two reasons…one, everyone should read this book. You can even buy it here-two, if I write it out it’s a bit like studying or burning it into my brian.
Here we go….
The sub-section is titled A Group of People Who Could Change Everything – and THIS my friends, is the very best definition of “church” that I have seen…
” A community of people who begin to wake up to the covert curriculum in which they swim each day and would want to band together to share their insights about it. They would help one another not be sucked in, mot be massaged into passivity, not to be malformed by this powerful educational process occurring in a multimedia classroom without walls or vacations. They would remind one another of the alternative framing story they had come to believe was good, beautiful, and true, and they would seek, together, to live by this alternative framing story, the radical good news.
The would develop practices of spiritual formation so they and their children for generations to come would be able to learn, live, and grow as a part of the solution, not part of the problem; as agents of healing, not as carriers of the disease; as revolutionaries seeking to dismantle and subvert the suicidal system, not as functionaries and drones seeking to serve and preserve it.
The would understand that at every moment, their identity as revolutionaries remains under assault; the gravity of compromise pulls and drags to hunch their backs, slacken their step, and lower their gaze. They would be on guard for ways that they themselves could sabotage themselves-by becoming preoccupied with trivia, or by working from the system’s logic and values when trying to fight the system, or by slipping into dual narratives as the Pharisees and religious scholars in Jesus’ day did, or by substituting talk for action or activity for fruitfulness.
So through word and deed, song and ritual, holiday and daily practice, they would seek to be the revolution they wished to see in the world, and they would work to spread the vision and extend the invitation to others to join their revolution in every way they could.
A group of people like this, functioning in a difficult environment dominated by a hostile system with a covert curriculum, would make lots of mistakes and need continual renewal. But it would be worth the effort and and sacrifice- as long as it understood its sacred and unique role as the bearers of revolutionary good news, the message of hope: another world is possible, available now for all who believe.
This kind of group would be the current expression of Jesus’ original band of disciples. It would be an exciting thing to be a part of: a community that forms disciples who work for the liberation and healing of the world, based on Jesus’ good news of the kingdom of God.
Groups like this wouldn’t need building, pipe organs, rock bands, layers of institutional structure, video projectors, parking lots, and so on…although having these things wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, and could possibly be useful. What they would need would be simple: a passion to understand Jesus and his message and a commitment to live out that understanding in a world in which everything must change.”- Brian McLaren p. 291, 292.