Life, Faith and Urban Farming

The life and happenings of an unconventional pastor and urban farmer living in the city with a family of five.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Low Christology and a Pet Peeve

Call me insane, but I only went one trimester before auditing a class at the seminary. After graduating last spring I had planned to audit more classes since I'm living so close by, I didn't expect it would be this soon. Dr. Purves, one of my favorite profs to take classes from, is teaching a class on Celtic Christianity. This is a topic he is close to, he speaks with a great Scottish accent, but he says he's not at all an expert on the subject. I'm sure I'll post a lot on this class. Celtic Christianity is a fascinating subject to study. Today I want to just mention something Dr. Purves said in a post-class conversation with Marlaena, BJ and me. We were talking about the connections between Celtic Christianity and the emerging missional church. Dr. Purves said that from what he's seen he thinks the missional church's christology is not radical enough. He basically thinks the missional church is trying to do, do, do, while forgetting to look for what Jesus is doing. It's not about us doing, but us pointing toward and joining in on what Jesus is doing. Anyway I thought it was interesting.

Then, on the way home (still at my parents in the North Hills) I was flipping through the radio stations. I heard a woman Chrisian talk show host insisting that we need to "be Jesus" to some people in need. I hate it when people say we need to go out and "be Jesus." What does that mean?! I know most poeple would say they just mean they want to do the work of Jesus or something, but I think our language is very important. If we say we want to be Jesus, or need to be Jesus, we're also saying that Jesus himself either doesn't exist, is dead, or is just not doing anything. Christians need a living and active christology. Do we really believe Jesus and the Holy Spirit are doing anything in people's lives? Is Jesus just an ideal person to live like and an idea to believe in to gain eternal life. It is not your job to BE Jesus and it's not mine either, and thank God for that! It's our job to point to Jesus' work in people's lives and to join in his work, always naming it for what it is.


Anonymous said...

Ah, so that's why we're doing every single call to worship and prayer from the Celtic Prayerbook!

Semantics can be tricky. I haven't decided yet on WWJD as it has been pointed out that by two separate people that either it supposes that "what would he do?" means he's not doing stuff, OR you have to understand the subjunctive "what would he do in this situation?"

Keep blogging. I'm reading!

Fascinating thought that the emergent church isn't being radical enough...

Beverly said...

Very thoughtful post. I think we are better letting others 'be Jesus' to us... it is a totally different state of mind. To see God in all the sons and daughters of God is to contribute to the healing of our fragmented illusion of separation. It is a less haughty perspective.

Tiber Jumper said...

Whatsover you do to the least of these , that you've done unto me. so we actually see Jesus in the Street Vent man, the beggar, the thief etc

Anonymous said...

I would tend to agree that the "Emergent Church" isn't radical enough. But I don't think that this is limited to the Emergent Church. Radically following Christ is simply to uncomfortable. Many churches are dead as doorknobs and the others serve as holier than thou social clubs. Few really reach out to the community in any way. Any church that is truly preaching the Word of God and the redemption through Christ can be a very radical force. Even mainline or 'normal' Evangelical churches can be highly effective if they truly embrace the Gospel and live in Christ and live out what Jesus taught. We need to both 'do stuff' and be aware of what Jesus is doing with or without us.