The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

The way Jesus talks, now.

with 2 comments

I’ve been trying to think something for quite a while. Today, I found it on the EmergentMalaysia blog. Thanks, EmergentMalaysia!

Emergent MalaysiaThere, in an interview with (the ubiquitous) Brian McLaren, I read these words:

What I see happening around the world could be summarised like this: Where pre-modern people are entering the modern world, Christianity is thriving and growing. Where people are living in modernity, Christianity is somewhat stable, or even stagnant. Where modern people are moving into postmodernity, the Church hardly exists.

So that leaves me with two dominant impressions… Firstly, where Christianity is growing most rapidly, it tends to be a form a pentecostalism associated with modernist American … methodologies. This form of Christianity has much to commend it, but it has notable weaknesses. It tends to make converts, not disciples. It tends to focus on individual salvation, individual health, and personal prosperity, not personal and global transformation. It is often described as an inch deep and a mile wide, with more hype than substance. Many of us fear that the rapid growth will be followed by a rapid descent into nominalism or even secularism – like the seeds in Jesus’ parable.

And here are my “two dominant impressions:”

First, I must resist the temptation to simply duplicate the efforts of others. That way through which people perceive Jesus Christ on one continent – no matter how “successful” it seems – may be a wholly inappropriate path for me. I have much to learn from them, but it may be more about recognizing my own cultural paradigms than simply adapting others.

Second, I must puzzle out the challenges that sit squarely before me.

Perhaps our task in the west – rather than laboring to preserve the remaining dinosaurs of modernism – is to figure out how Jesus speaks to our post-modern neighbors, and join with that voice. McLaren again:

By modernist I mean that they reflect the values and assumptions and ways of modern Western civilisation – ways of organising information and people; conducting inquiry and argument; educating, motivating, and so on.

Is it not the challenge of the church (or let me say more simply, is it not my challenge) to learn how to live the love of God in a new way? Is it not my challenge to experience, talk about, and live out the reality of Jesus in the “ways of organizing information … conducting inquiry and argument; educating, motivating…” of the civilization in which I now live? Is not much of what offends about the gospel as we know it merely cultural arrogance, rather than the obvious priorities of Jesus Christ? Is not our task to listen humbly to the conversation around us?

So much to learn!
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Written by Monte

February 8, 2007 at 1:54 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Sure did – thanks very much!


    February 13, 2007 at 12:28 pm

  2. I’m delighted to see Brian’s interview posted on the emergentMalaysia site helped your own thinking process.

    Sivin Kit

    February 13, 2007 at 12:18 pm

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