Monday, July 24, 2017

Jesus' Kingdom Is Unplugged From this Culture


No automatic alt text available.
Lake Erie sunrise from Kelleys Island, Ohio

The word for us is not "relevant."


rel·e·vant
ˈreləvənt/
adjective
  1. closely connected or appropriate to what is being done or considered.

    "what small companies need is relevant advice"
    synonyms:pertinent, applicable, apposite, material, apropos, to the point, germane; More
    • appropriate to the current time, period, or circumstances; of contemporary interest.

      "critics may find themselves unable to stay relevant in a changing world"

If "relevant" means "connected," we are disconnected.

If "relevant" means "related," we are unrelated.

If "relevant" means "appropriate to the current circumstances," we are strangers.

If "relevant" means "linked," we are aliens.

"The Christian," writes Eugene Peterson, "is a witness to a new reality that is entirely counter to the culture. The Christian faith is a proclamation that God's kingdom has arrived in Jesus, a proclamation that puts the world at risk. What Jesus himself proclaimed and we bear witness to is the truth that the sin-soaked, self-centered world is doomed.
Pastors are in charge of keeping the distinction between the world's lies and the gospel's truth clear."
- In Marva J. Dawn, The Unnecessary Pastor: Rediscovering the Call, Kindle Locations 64-66

"My kingdom," said Jesus, "is unplugged from this culture."

"My kingdom," said Jesus, "is from an alternative reality." (John 18:36)

Peterson writes:

"Our place in society is, in some ways, unique: no one else occupies this exact niche that looks so inoffensive but is in fact so dangerous to the status quo. We are committed to keeping the proclamation alive and to looking after souls in a soul-denying, denying, soul-trivializing age. But it isn't easy. Powerful forces, both subtle and obvious, attempt either to domesticate pastors to serve the culture as it is or to seduce us into using our position to become powerful and important on the world's terms.: (Ib., Kindle Locations 67-70)

***
My two books are:

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God

Leading the Presence-Driven Church (Sept. 2017)