Provoke This

I brought Brian McLaren’s Everything Must Change with me on this week’s trip back to Tampa. It’s a good deep thought-provoking read for me so far. Here’s an "opening salvo across the bow" for me from this morning:

"… a message purporting to be the best news in the world should be doing better than this. The religion’s results are not commensurate with the bold claims it makes. Truly good news, they feel, would confront systemic injustice, target significant global dysfunctions, and provide hope and resources for making a better world…" (p. 34)

The gist of these opening pages and chapters, for me anyway, has been that this "gospel" has been practically little more than fire insurance, more concerned with the afterlife soul than the right-now-life person. Reading the sentences above, some would point out a social gospel, a liberal left-leaning thing that’s to be avoided. But I feel like what’s been going on has been harmful: by focusing on one facet of Jesus while ignoring this other, we’ve sold Him short, sold the real Gospel short.

What gets me is that I have these questions, others have these questions, and as we seek the Lord we come to different conclusions than "what we’ve grown up with". And because of that, part of me feels quilty for going against the grain. But I can’t escape the reality that my spirituality has needed for some time to grow into something more than my own personal fire insurance. Making a difference in the world, in the real lives of real people around me – that’s something different. And if the claims of Christ are to be taken seriously, minus all the stuff we’ve added onto them over the course of human history, then everything changes from this point forward.

Hmm. Really, these aren’t questions or doubts. I don’t think I have the "feeling guilty" part anymore. Instead, I’m starting to ask the simpler question: "what am I to do with this?" I have some friends who are already moving in that direction, so I want to find ways to join in on that. Some folks are moving that direction alongside. And others have no idea what I’m talking about. And that’s okay. I’ve been newly provoked to be real about it, not just asking the questions but moving into whatever state of life this is bringing to the front. It’s not just this book – I could map out a book-experience-tune-movie-book-movie-experience-etc kind of path from where I’ve been to where I see myself moving.

Instead of being paralyzed with fear and worry over where I might be losing faith, I’m feeling energized this morning to hold onto the faithfulness of God to keep me in Him.


4 thoughts on “Provoke This

  1. Rick says:

    Just curious, Maryann – why “bravo”?

  2. Steve says:

    I’m going to say “bravo” as well. This is all well-said. I think this touches on an important facet of being a Christian–“What do you do with it?” Jesus talks of the servant given 10 talents–what did he do with it? To whom much is given, much is required. I especially like what you said about touching people’s lives. It’s not about going door to door, it’s meeting people where they are and helping them to see the truth.
    Nice post.

  3. Rick says:

    I can live with “bravo”, just so’s we know we’re still working through this to make something meaningful and worth pursuing. Thanks, and ho ho ho 🙂

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