Troubling Questions About Jesus
Indeed. The key question offered by McLaren in this chapter, in my opinion, is this:
What if Jesus' secret message reveals a secret plan? What if he didn't come to start a new religion-but rather came to start a political, social, religious, artistic, economic, intellectual, and spiritual revolution that would give birth to a new world? p.4
A revolution? a new world? I'm feelin' this. After reading people like Robert Bellah and others who have named the pervasive individualism of American culture such a question is a refreshing question for those of us who see the gospel as much more than a me-and-Jesus trip. And not just a 'moral' revolution…but a revolution that encompasses all of existence…an alternative redemptive vision of reality and how one lives within it.
Take a snapshot of the global scene. Terrorism. Religious strife. War. Global Capitalism. Environmental changes. A Christianity that is captive to individualism and the public/private and sacred/secular split will be vulnerable to other stories that do not have this vision of God's new world at its center.
Indeed. The problem is that Christianity is a 'religion'. Religion, to me, seems to connote a set of held beliefs and doctrines…with some practices. An interior reality…a matter of one's individual disposition before God. Or in more popular forms of Christianity a 'private relationship with God'. I know in latin the word 'religion' means much more than this but for some reason in America 'religion' has come to mean something staunchy…a set of dogmatic beliefs. I often hear people say things like, "keep your religion" to yourself. Recently, I was listening to some old Arrested Development. Speech, the lead MC, has a song titled Fishin' 4 Religion:
The reason I'm fishin' 4 a new religion
is my church makes me fall asleep
They're praising a God that watches you weep
and doesn't want you to do a damn thing about it
When they want change the preacher says "shout it"
Does shouting bring about change ? I doubt it
All shouting does is make you lose your voice
So on the dock I sit in silence
staring at a sea that's full of violence
In Speech's words we hear a native desire for 'religion' to be something much more than a 'shout unto the Lord'. Looking out into a world filled with violence and brokeness one gets the suspicion that the gospel is calling us to something more than just a shout and a praise. Mind you…a shout and praise are good things…but there is a new world that is calling for our attention. A new world that is beckoning for us to give concrete expression in our everyday existence. The gospel calls it the Kingdom of God. I share Brian's suspicion here. For me, it is a nagging suspicion that will not be satisified by televangelists, human potential seminars in gospel drag, rigid moralisms, etc..
I want a revolution! Why? Because I believe Jesus rose from the dead!