We’re all filling out our brackets as a family tonight at Stanglin Manor. Not for money. Nobody plays for cash. It’s all about pride. This is the fifth or sixth year now the whole family has followed the tournament with picks on the line. And I’ve won every single year. Except last year. Whitney won the contest last year. And she’s been talking smack now ever since Sunday. Revenge is mine, I will repay.
Do you think the Church still views its God-given mission as presenting and proclaiming an alternative lifestyle? Something better. Something higher. Something radically different. Something you can’t find anywhere else on this planet. Something you can only find inside a community of faith. Something that only belongs to children of God and followers of the Christ. Something real. Ultimately real. Eternal. Otherworldly. Belonging to another reality. The real reality.
Shouldn’t we be proclaiming and living something that can’t be purchased at Wal-Mart or consumed at Chuck-E-Cheese or experienced at a Multiplex Movie Theater? And, if so, doesn’t that mean our means — our methods of this proclamation and living — should also be otherworldly and radically different? Christ-like, not earth-like. The Jesus Way, not the American Way.
From Resident Aliens, by Hauerwas and Willimon:
The most interesting, creative, political solutions we Christians have to offer our troubled society are not new laws, advice to Congress, or increased funding for social programs — although we may find ourselves supporting such national efforts. The most creative social strategy we have to offer is the Church. Here we show the world a manner of life the world can never achieve through social coercion or governmental action. We serve the world by showing it something that it is not, namely, a place where God is forming a family out of strangers.
The Christian faith recognizes that we are violent, fearful, frightened creatures who cannot reason or will our way out of our mortality. So the gospel begins, not with the assertion that we are violent, fearful, frightened creatures, but with the pledge that, if we offer ourselves to a truthful story and the community formed by listening to and enacting that story in the Church, we will be transformed into people more significant than we could ever have been on our own.
As Barth says, “The Church exists to set up in the world a new sign which is radically dissimilar to the world’s own manner and which contradicts it in a way which is full of promise.”
I’ve added a new link to the blogrole on the right hand side of this page. It’s Made In The Streets, the great work of Charles and Darlene Coulston in Nairobi, Kenya. They’ve been working with abandoned and orphaned and run-away children there for 15 years, reaching out to them with the love and mercy of God in Christ, showing them and living with them this citizen-of-heaven reality that is so radically different from the other, seen and temporary, “reality” all around them. You’ll be blessed by visiting their site.