Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Anti the antichrist church: Sacrifice, failure, margins, holiness

"The Jesus Way: A Conversation on the Ways that Jesus is the Way," the third voluminous volume in Peterson's "spiritual theology" series is out.

The way of Jesus (and our way as we hotlink to it), he offers, is the way of sacrifice; the way of failure; the way of margins, and the way of holiness.


Can you imagine what Jwesus might do if we actually start believing this countercultural heretical truth?

I don't have the book yet (accepting late birthday gifts, though(:....). Some quotes I have culled online, this first batch from Jim Gardner's blog:

"Jesus is an alternative to the dominant ways of the world, not a supplement to them" (2).

"The North American church at present is conspicuous for replacing the Jesus way with the American way" (5).

"We cannot pick and choose ways and means that are more to our liking. The popularized acronym WWJD ("What would Jesus do?") is not quite accurate. The question must be, "How does Jesus do it" (8)?

"The way Jesus leads and the way that I follow Jesus are symbiotic. And this symbiosis is not treated with sufficient seriousness and depth in the Christian community of North Am
"The Jesus Way: A Conversation on the Ways that Jesus is the Wayerica" (8).

"Ways and means that are removed or abstracted from Jesus and the Scriptures that give witness to him amount sooner or later to a betrayal of Jesus. In this kingdom-of-God world, the person that we follow is the primary shaping influences on the person that we become (emphasis mine), Christians follow Jesus" (15).

"...the Christian way cannot be programmed, cannot be guaranteed: faith means that we put our trust in God — and we don’t know how he will work out our salvation, only that it is our salvation that he is working out. Which frees us of anything.

The fatal thing is to reduce faith to an explanation. It is not an explanation, it is a passion. To tell the story of Abraham is to enter a narrative that throws self-help, self-certification, self-discipline — all our paltry self-hyphenations — into a junkyard of rusted-out definitions.

Faith has to do with marrying Invisible and Visible. When we engage in an act of faith we give up control, we give up sensory (sight, hearing, etc.) confirmation of reality; we give up insisting on head-knowledge as our primary means of orientation in life…. we choose no longer to operate strictly on the basis of hard-earned knowledge, glorious as it is, but over a lifetime to embrace the mystery that ‘must dazzle gradually / Or every man go blind’.

The way of Jesus is not a sequence of exceptions to the ordinary, but a way of living deeply and fully with the people here and now, in the place we find ourselves.

But the temptation is to reduce people, ourselves and others, to self-defined needs or culture-defined needs, which always, in the long run, end up being sin-defined needs — and use Jesus to do it. . . . The devil wants us to use Jesus . . . to run our families, our neighborhoods, our schools, our governments as efficiently and properly as we can, but with no love or forgiveness. Every man and woman reduced to a function.


The American way with its penchant for catchy slogans and stirring visions denegrates the local, and its programmatic ways of dealing with people eroded the personal, replacing intimacies with functions. The North American church at present is conspicuous for replacing the Jesus Way with the American way. (p.5)

It didn't take long for Christian brothers and sisters to develop consumer congregations...Given the conditions prevailing in our culture, this is the best and most effective way to develop large and prosperous congregations. Americans lead the world in showing people how to do it. There is only one thing wrong: this is not the way Jesus brings us into conformity with the life of Jesus and brings us in the way of Jesus' salvation. This is not the way in which we become less and Jesus becomes more. This is not the way our sacrificed lives become available to others in justice and service. The cultivation of consumer spirituality is the antithesis of the sacrificial "deny yourself" congregation. A consumer church is an anitchrist church. (p.6)

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