As I continue reading Mark Scandrette's "Soul Graffitti" I'm realizing that we are in a cultural setting of great theological tension. This post is an aside from my reading of this book. I love the book. It's mostly Mark telling stories that describe life as a follower of Jesus and an artist, a new monastic, a dad, a long time Christian, an activist, and lots more. One theological point that I've made over and over is Mark's ability to talk about what Jesus actually did and actually said and also think of Jesus' action in the present tense. It's great to know what Jesus said and try to do it, but I don't think we can be successful without Jesus acting now in and through us. I'm convinced that Mark would agree.
Mark Scandrette, myself, and most emergents are coming out of and reacting against an evangelical church that focused way too heavily on a Jesus who felt very present, probably too present. The evangelical Jesus could be felt in worship as a personal good feeling, he could be sung about as one who holds me and hugs me. The radical and disturbing Jesus of the first century could often be lost in evangelical individualism and the desire to have a "personal relationship" with Jesus who "lives in my heart". This is the theological tension we're in now, the tension of finding a way through the modernistic extremes of liberal theology and evangelical theology to find something that holds the best of both. What did Jesus really teach and say, how can we imitate that, and also what is Jesus doing today and how can we follow?
This said, this is one of my favorite books of recent years. It makes me want to STOP READING and just live as a passionate follow of Jesus.