Here’s a recent conversation that followed up my post about the single statement “you must be born again” and “sell everything you have and give it to the poor”, both by Jesus, both to people who had some interest in following him. One we’ve adopted as a slogan and one we pretty much don’t bring up in polite conversation.
You’re invited to eavesdrop on and share your thoughts:
Him: So what are you thinking about the whole ‘born again’ question?
Me: Well, what I’m thinking is that I don’t understand how one became normative after the first century and the other we just pretend not to read and come up with all kinds of explanations: “Jesus means use things, don’t let them use you.” Which is NOT what he is saying at ALL and the practice of the first church clearly indicates an entirely different understanding than that.
Him: What do you mean “not use you”?
Me: When people are saying that they’re saying it’s o.k. to have an Xbox, big screen TV, 3 cars and a PS3, just don’t let them control your life, you control them. The theological term for that kind of Bible interpretation is: bullshit. I find I’m growing to distrust any church the size of ************ or ************** or bigger. I’m just not sure the cool show is really what it’s all about…or even a part of what it’s all about. Giving to a charity is not the same thing as having a homeless man into my place for dinner or even cooking dinner and taking it to him.
Him: I agree in some parts. So what should someplace like ***************** do or even ***? And do you think they aren’t doing stuff to contribute? Didn’t ************ spend, like, $6 million on a heath centre in Africa?
Me: That is very true about ****************. In the end I just wonder if we’re supposed to contribute $6 million for a centre in Africa or if we’re supposed to get the 3000 people in the service today to take a homeless person out for a meal to get to know them or to take a homeless person home for a meal and a sleep. What they did in Africa is brilliant and I hope they keep doing it but I wonder, when it’s all said and done, have they created a new Red Cross or have they made Neighbour Lovers? These are the questions I’m asking myself, not judging them. I love them and admire them, it’s just a question I’m wrestling with.
Him: Yeah, and I mean, that’s where my heart is at. But I just don’t think big churches are the devil.
Me: No, big churches are definitely NOT the devil. I just wonder if the church tends to imitate the world around them and I wonder if we in North Am have become big box stores rather than ‘mom & pop’ kind of places. The Jerusalem church was HUGE but it was a church that met every need among them. Hey, don’t pay attention to me, I’m just having a Christian mid-life crisis.