Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Provocative reading!

I'm still reading Total Church. It's still a great (and sometimes challenging) book. If you have ever wished the church could look more like what the New Testament describes, this is an important book for you to be reading! I've asked our financial person, who also happens to be in charge of ordering books, to get several copies -- so with any luck we will soon have several in our bookstore.

Here's a taste from early in the book, page 35, where the authors quote from Chris Wright's The Mission of God, another book that challenges us to see things from God's perspective. This might mean:

  • We ask, "Where does God fit into the story of my life?," when the real question is "Where does my little life fit into this great story of God's mission?
  • We want to be driven by a purpose that has been tailored just right for our own individual lives, when we should be seeing the purpose of all life, including our own, wrapped up in the great mission of God for the whole of creation.
  • We talk about "applying the Bible to our lives." What would it mean to apply our lives to the Bible instead, assuming the Bible to be the reality -- the real story -- to which we are called to conform ourselves?
  • We wrestle with "making the gospel relevant to the world." But in this story, God is about the business of transforming the world to fit the shape of the gospel.
  • We argue about what can legitimately be included in the mission that God expects from the church, when we should ask what kind of church God wants for the whole range of his mission.
  • I may wonder what kind of mission God has for me, when I should be asking what kind of me God wants for his mission.
If those statements and questions don't get you thinking, I don't know what will. This stuff flies directly in the face of our private, westernized version of Christianity and calls us back to honestly acting as if God is sovereign.

Good stuff.

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