Friday, August 26, 2005
The next core value of the Open Door is Transformation.
Does anybody else wish they had their old Transformers from when they were kids? I sure do, those were the coolest toys! The only name I remember is Optimun Prime, he was like the leader of the transformers. I had a whole bunch of them. I also had a few of the smaller, and in my oppinion less impressive, Gobots. Gobots were cool, but they just weren't nearly as cool as the big Optimus Prime, or the other big metal Transformers.
Transformation: We embrace change in our lives and strive to follow God as we continue on the journey to which He has called us. We desire our lives, neighborhoods and culture to be altered and healed by the work of God in our midst.
I think transformation is a huge part of what the gospel is about. Look at Jesus and his action in the lives of individuals. Throughout the gospels Jesus transformed people's lives. His ministry brought radical transformation in the lives of all those who had faith in him and in God. Jesus healed the sick, made tax collectors into leaders of the Jesus movement, he even made zealots and tax collectors eat at the table with one another. Jesus brought transformation and change into the lives of the people he came in contact with.
Today I think we believe transformation comes when we work hard to become more pious. I think this can be a good thing, it takes work to read scripture, make time for prayer, and learn to tithe. But we're missing the point if we don't beleive Jesus is still the one who acts in our lives and here in history. The power of Jesus still has the power to transform people's lives.
I believe the Spirit of Jesus actively works through the body of Christ today. To me, that's a big deal. Jesus is actively doing the work of transformation through his body, the church. So often I think we lose faith that Jesus is really at work, transforming lives, and to think that transformation can come to cultures is even a further "unrealistic hope".
Most Christians beleive Jesus transforms individual lives pretty effectively, but their eschatology (understanding of the end times) leads to either a low Christology or a low soteriology (understanding of God's salvation). It seems many American Christians beleive the world is radically out of control and so we focus all of our cares on individual spirituality. They don't really beleive Jesus can do, or cares to do, much for this world and all it's craziness. I consider that a low Christology. Other Christians believe the world is very evil and therefor will eventually be completely destroyed by Jesus/God in the end. I think this eschatology leads to a low soteriology, a low understanding of what it means that Jesus is the Savior of the world.
I, and many others, are seeking a very high understanding of Jesus and a very high understanding of the ability that Jesus has to bring salvation to all aspects of creation. I'm not saying that all pathways lead to Jesus or to salvation, but I am saying that I desire a broader understanding of the salvation and transformation that Jesus is bringing through the fulfillment of his kingdom.
This is why I want to be missional and be a part of a missional community: I beleive Jesus will use the church to bring about his kingdom which through his historic action will bring transformation to all of a broken and sin-ravaged world.
Like I've said before, Isaiah 65 and Revelation 19 lead me to have an "unrealistic hope" in the transformational power of our savior.