Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Are you a New Testament Christian?


Is it your goal to live as close as possible to the way the early church lived?
Are you making sure you don't eat any food offered to idols, wearing a head covering (if you are a woman), or treating your slaves well (if you are their master), or obeying your master (if you are a slave)? Are you making sure that women are silent in your church and have no place of authority?
Or is that pretty much entirely missing the point?

It's easy to see the specific things the Bible talks about. Some things that may well have been really important to people two thousand years ago. But don't enter into life much today.
It's harder to get down into what is below the surface. It takes more energy, more thought, more heart. It takes being willing to find out what God is like.
Instead of finding a verse that might fit your favorite theory, it involves truly digging.
You might discover that the God you have created isn't at all like the one you discover. You might discover that God is much more loving than you figured. That he loves a much wider assortment of people than you want him to.
Take a look as Jesus. Tell me one group of people that he didn't love. That he didn't accept. That he had any harsh words for.
Well, yes, there is one group. But you might not want to look to close at them. You might recognize a bit of your self-righteous side.
But you won't find any kind of segregation, any 'insiders' and 'outsiders'.

Back to trying to live like a first century Christian.
The world doesn't need someone who is out of touch with their reality. If people are going to be attracted to Jesus, it will be through people who understand life today. Who have discovered that the message of Jesus has something to say in today's world.
That this Jesus who showed he loved everyone 2000 years ago still has that kind of inclusive love today.
That he still says; “Neither do I condemn you.”
And that his followers echo that sentiment.

8 comments:

Luke said...

just got done reading Marcus Borg's new book. it's pretty tight, have you checked it out yet?

Al said...

Oh no, another author I haven't found yet! What is the name of the book?

Luke said...

Jesus: uncovering the life, teachings, and relevance of a religious revolutionary.

read the epilogue first, and if that suits ya, read the rest. it's comprehensive and AWESOME.

RAWK!

Peter said...

Yeah, you've gotta check out Borg, Al. He's challenging - much more overtly liberal than a lot of our Emergent friends - but he's got some serious historian-cred.

Luke, he's got a new FICTION novel coming out later this month, about a liberal seminary professor struggling with conservative pastoral students. I think it's his attempt at a "New Kind of Christian" style book. I'm intrigued.

Al, great post! I hear you, bro. We simply aren't ABLE to "go back"...

Al said...

Well, boys, I ran into Borg's 'the heart of christianity' (2003) a couple days ago at a used bookstore, and have read the first 3 chapters.
I'm definitely liking it!

Luke said...

i'm looking forward to that book! thanks for the heads up Pete.

chris said...

Take a look as Jesus. Tell me one group of people that he didn't love. That he didn't accept. That he had any harsh words for.
Well, yes, there is one group. But you might not want to look to close at them. You might recognize a bit of your self-righteous side.
But you won't find any kind of segregation, any 'insiders' and 'outsiders'.

So unlike Christianity, a religion that is supposed to be based on the teaching of Jesus!

Al said...

Luke and Pete:
I'm just about finished Borg's fiction--Putting away childish things. It's a good read, the fiction setting works well. And I thought of both of you as I read it--seminary, and all.

BTW, Luke, I thought I had some kind of email or something for you, but can't find anything--and your blog is unreachable. if you read this, can you get in touch? Thanks!

 

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