.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;} <$BlogRSDURL$>

Monday, March 24, 2008

Brown, Fred. Secular evangelism. London: S.C.M. Press, 1970. 

Unfortunately, many of us, indebted to the church and anxious to be faithful, spend too much time looking over our shoulders. Even if we venture a little on the merging boundaries of the church and the world, that seeming no man's-land in which crucial theological battles are fought, we quickly clamour for the security of familiar thought-forms and esoteric practices. We scurry down the funk holes of orthodoxy in the name of defending the faith, of being true to our spiritual forefathers. But all too often our motivation is fear; no, not fear, for that is honourable enough. It is cowardice, the spirit that mistakes bigotry for conviction, and shouts slogans to hide its paucity of thought. 12-13

We are in danger of being unfaithful to our spiritual forebears, but for reasons the opposite of the ones we imagine. We are allowing the fruits of their organizing skill to evolve into institutions which restrict rather than expand our evangelical enterprise. We are relegating God to a mausoleum, fearful that he will make the theological scene untidy by breaking free of our verbal embalming. We are giving our traditional way of doing things a divine mandate, and shouting futile protest at the rapidly changing ways of society. Our battle cry is safety first, whereas Jesus promised not safety, but security. No wonder we are afraid to take risks, to venture like Abraham into a far country of uncertainty and danger. pp13

Church accused of having 'big convictions about little things and little convictions about big things pp26

We should stop thinking of evangelism as a means of inflating our congregations. Since the days of which I am writing, a lot of troubled water has flowed under the bridge of evangelical debate, and now most of us are agreed that to treat people as pew fodder, and little else, is, considerations of effectiveness apart, a denial of everything central to Christianity. But it took a long time for some of us to perceive this elementary truth, and even now I come across frightening evidence that some Christian zealots are motivated in all their evangelical outreach by one obsession only - to fill pews and get people converted. On the surface, of course, nothing could seem more reasonable. People need the gospel. They are frustrated, ridden with guilt, plagued by anxiety, living at crosspurposes with themselves and God. He has the answer to their plight, an answer he revealed in Jesus Christ and committed to his church. Logically if conversion is what people need, then the church's preoccupation should be evangelism, getting people converted. What could be more natural, therefore, than that pewfilling should have top priority in the aims of all loyal churchmen, not to mention keen evangelicals. As I say, on the surface the argument makes sense. But beneath the surface it represents nothing less than devout blasphemy, a spirit that has done more harm to the cause of Christ's kingdom than multitudes of non-churchgoers. It is devout because its sincere aim is to serve God and further his cause. But it is blasphemy because it uses God's name to manipulate and condition other people. pp29

A few years ago the Salvation Army launched a nation-wide scheme to establish 'over-sixty' clubs. The need for such weekly gatherings, and the programme of social service that flowed out of them, was urgent. Many pensioners were lonely and bored. With time on their hands and nowhere to go, they gravitated, especially the men, to library reading rooms, betting shops, cafes and coffee bars; the women, with their fellowship meetings and sewing circles, were better placed, but many of them remained isolated and friendless. The Salvation Army's immediate aim was characteristically down-toearth - it was simply to provide the opportunity for a weekly get-together, a time for games, singing, talking and tea-drinking, not forgetting the inevitable formal religion at the end. Clubs sprang up all over the country and soon in some cities and towns were a major activity....One fiery evangelist, sincere, dedicated and industrious, summed up the attitude of a small minority when he refused to establish a club on the grounds that God had called him to build an army, not act as nursemaid to people with one foot in the grave. He was not callous or insensitive. His friends described him as a man with a 'passion for souls'. He was single-minded in seeking to fulfil his vocation, particularly in organizing events to fill his pews. But he turned from a ministry to human need in the name of building first the kingdom of God. He put converts before people. He thought more of saving souls than serving sinners.

The basic trouble was that, like the evangelical zealots who still think like him, he was not committed to people for their own intrinsic value. He was committed to them as a means to an end; the end was laudable enough, but when it made the means little more than an exercise in pious self-interest, there was something drastically wrong. pp30

The test of worship is how far it makes us more sensitive to 'the beyond in our midst', to the Christ in the hungry, the naked, the homeless and the prisoner. Only if we are more likely to recognize him there after attending an act of worship is that worship Christian rather than a piece of religiosity in Christian dress. That is what is implied in Jesus' saying that 'the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath'. The whole of our religious observance and church~going must be prepared to submit to its test. John Robinson pp99 honest to god

Dre we say that WB was not worshipping when, incensed by the refusal of match-making factory employers to protect employees from the possibility of phossy Jaw... he startted his own factory 113


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Thompson, H. (2006). Penguins Stopped Play: Eleven Village Cricketers Take on the World. London: John Murray 


Volf, M. (1996). Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation. 


How should we live as Christian communities today faced with the ‘new tribalism’ that is fracturing our societies, separating peoples and cultural groups, and fomenting vicious conflicts? What should be the relation of the churches to the cultures they inhabit? The answer lies, I propose, in cultivating the proper relation between distance from the culture and belonging to it pp37

The mission of Jesus consisted not simply in re-naming the behaviour that was falsely labelled ‘sinful’ but also in re-making the people who have sinned or have suffered misfortune. 73

Jesus condemned the world of exclusion.

Were Jesus simply demanding a ‘ radical alteration of the course and direction of one’s life, its basic motivations, attitudes, objectives as repentance is sometimes described …. But he demanded more than a radical alteration. To repent means to make a turnabout of a profound moral and religious import 113

Victims need to repent because social change that corresponds to the vision of God’s reign – God’s new world – cannot take place without a change of their heart and behaviour. 114

To repent means to resist the seductiveness of the sinful values and practices and to let the new order of God’s reign be established in one’s heart 116

At the heart of the cross is Christ’s stance of not letting the other remain an enemy and of creating space in himself for the offender to come in.

There can be no justice without the will to embrace – to agree on justice you need to make space in yourself for the perspective of the other, and in order to make space you need to want to embrace the other. 220

There is an irremovable opaqueness to our knowledge of things divine 270


Frost, M. (2006). Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture. 

The danger in exile is to become so preoccupied with self that one cannot step outside oneself to rethink, reimagine and redescribe larger reality. Bruggemann Cadences 1977 pp 9

Orbiting the giant hairball

An active sharing of life, participating in the fears, frustrations, and aflictions of the host community. The prayer of the exile should be 'lord let your mind be in me' for no witness is capable of incarnationally without the mind of Jesus

An employment of teh language and thought forms of those with whom we seek to share Jesus. After al, he used common speech ad stories: salt, light, fruit, birds and the like. He seldom used theological or religious jargon or technical terms.

A preparedness to go to people, not expecting them to come to us. As Jesus came from the heavens to humanity, we enter into the 'tribal' realities of human society.

A confidence that the gospel can be communicated by ordinary mans, through acts of servanthood, loving relationships, good deeds; in this way the exile becomes an extension of teh incarnation in our time. Deeds thus creates words. pp55

To seek an approach to spiritual formation taht values inward transformation over external appearences.

To value a spirituality tat seeks nt to limit our God-given humanity, creativity, ot individuality; to value diersity and differnce over conformity and uniformity.

To enjoy from the heart, honest dialogues and avoid relationships marked by superficiality and hidden agendas

To strive to be completely honest with God and appropriately transparent with others about our inmost thoughts, hopes , dreams, emotions, shortcomings, failings, transgressions, struggles.

To seek to welcome back mystery and paradox over easy explaations; to live with questions taht have no easy answers

To work to honestly recalibrate our lifestyles, diets, spending patterns, and commitments o reflect our hope for more just, equitable, and merciful society.


It will be acommunity

of heartfelt praise, not the fake mouthing of sentimental worship songs

authenticity and truth, not public pretense

does not live for itself, but genuinely serves others

missional engamet with its host empire, not retreat into a religous ghetto

mutual responsibility , not privatised religion

hope, not intimidation and alienation
pp 104

To achieve community in the truest sense, it must undertake a journey that involves four stages:

pseudo-community where false niceness reigns, fake community
chaos - when skeletons come out of teh closet
empitness a time of quiet and transition
true community - marked by both deep honesty and seep caring pp 107
Peck - the different drum: community

Acts of true Christian Worship (Ro 12:1ff)

Not to conform to norms of society
humbly express spiritual gifts in practical ways
To love others
Spiritually zealous, hopeful, patient and prayerful
hospitable and generous
o live in harmony with munificence and charity toward unbeliever

Justice, not lip service and phony left-leaning pronouncements


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?