|Monroe (St. Michael's)|
The more I understand the life and words of Jesus in their original context, the more I see how radical and revolutionary Jesus is. No wonder people wanted to eliminate him! He shatters pre-existing religious and social paradigms and hierarchies. And above all, he claimed to be a king. Jesus is so intrinsically earth-shattering and non-boring that churches that feel they need to entertain the masses lest people not come contribute to the idea that Jesus, on his own, needs a red bull.
I like what N.T. Wright, in Simply Jesus, says about this. Wright writes:
"Jesus— the Jesus we might discover if we really looked!— is larger, more disturbing, more urgent than we— than the church!— had ever imagined. We have successfully managed to hide behind other questions (admittedly important ones) and to avoid the huge, world-shaking challenge of Jesus’s central claim and achievement. It is we, the churches, who have been the real reductionists. We have reduced the kingdom of God to private piety, the victory of the cross to comfort for the conscience, and Easter itself to a happy, escapist ending after a sad, dark tale. Piety, conscience, and ultimate happiness are important, but not nearly as important as Jesus himself." (Wright, N. T., Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters, Kindle Locations 205-210)
Performance-driven churches reduce the Real Jesus.