Shane Claiborne once said “I want to see a Christianity that looks like Jesus”, it was one of those profound comments that has really made me think.
The truth is as Church we have many huge buildings erected in stone yet talking about following a nomadic preacher who went from town to town, and had “no where to lay his head”.
We spend hours in our Church meetings stressing over finance when Jesus said “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life”
Jesus said “by this will all people know you are my disciples that you love one another” and yet when a survey happened in America the three top answers for what American teenagers thought about Church was “1) Homophobic, 2) hypocritical and 3) Judgemental”… None of which sounds much like Jesus to me.
We were meant to be a movement but we’ve become an institution.
We are meant to love people, but too often we have loved programmes more than people.
We are meant to change the world, but too often we have “let the world squeeze us into its mould”.
We were called to live out lives of faith, but western Christianity has become risk adverse.
Yet before we start pointing the finger, we need to cope with the uncomfortable reality that Church is in fact us, you and me, we are the Church.
Gandhi once said “you are either part of the problem or part of its solution” -a challenge!
Shane Claiborne once said “stop moaning about the Church we have and start building the Church that we dream of”.
Brendan Manning (no relation to Bernard!) once said that the choice we have as Christians is not between Barabas and Jesus, but between Caiaphas and Jesus (Caiaphas who was the High Priest who was pulling the strings behind Jesus’ Crucifixion). At first glance Caiaphas is very respectable and very religious, whereas Jesus hung out with sinners and had a message of extravagant grace, the jars with feelings of entitlement, self achievement, pride etc.
Too often I know I am in danger of becoming the older brother in Luke 15’s story of the prodigal, whereas the way of Jesus is the running Father embracing his broken, emaciated and probably stinking son. The law said “stone the boy”, make an example of him, but grace said “restore him and have a party”.
So, how do we live out a Christianity that looks more like Jesus in our on lives?
How do we live out a Christianity that looks like Jesus in our lives together?
What does this mean for money?
I believe that this is a call to step into a Christianity unlike we have ever walked in before, but one that is more exciting than I have ever dreamed of, and one that reflects our Saviour more and more to a world that needs to see him lived out in our lives.