today i re-opened a book that i had started, put down, & then forgot about.  the forgotten ways by alan hirsch.  good stuff related to the return of the church, or really the NEED for the church to return to it’s roots in the way Jesus related to, connected with, ate, walked & did life with the kinds of people that are on the edges of life, the fringe folk.

one of the premises of this book is that this ability to serve, give of ourselves; the mode of becoming missional, is really wired deep inside us.  but over the course of years of “neglect & dis-use” we [the church] have lost contact with it; though it be in our system.  good stuff, no doubt.

one of the things that the author brings up is that this kind of discussion disrupts the very fabric of “how it’s all done” – that is to say how church is done.  it disrupts the fabric because in order to truly reach out & become “missional” – to care more for others than yourself means putting down the things that you like & love & really, really want to have…the things that make me comfortable.  there, i said it.

as i’m reading i’m reminded of a conversation i had with someone a few years ago.  i was meeting this individual in my office and on my desk is another book, the secret message of Jesus by brian mcLaren.  as this person is walking into my office he says something along the lines, “well, it’s not really a secret at all.  it’s right in front of us, all we have to do is grab onto it.”  ok, that’s true, but i would say that many, many people; including those that have known Jesus almost as long as they’ve been alive, have trouble recognizing what Jesus did while He was on earth & applying it to their lives.  therefore, it’s a secret.  it’s a secret, not because it’s hard to find, but because we’ve lost touch with it.  it’s a secret because we’ve been, for too long, “doing church” and making sure the right people are there and the offering gets collected & the budget is maintained.  let’s be real clear; Jesus never talked about any of that!

here’s some of the stuff that Jesus did do:

ate with the people He wasn’t supposed to

hung out with folks that the religious elite thought were out of bounds

empowered women [a huge issue then & now]

challenged the religious systems that were in place [notice we don’t see Jesus challenging political systems]

only does what the Father tells Him to do [jn.519 & jn.14:31]