Over Christmas this year, I read a book by the name An Agenda for Change: a global call for spiritual & social transformation by Joel Edwards, General Director of the Global Alliance of Evangelicals, UK. Short, but good. There's a lot of great stuff to interact with in this book as we think about the future of evangelicalism and the emerging church. One of the quotes early on in the book is this:
How then has this life-giving and utter generous Christ become so unrecognisably domesticated by evangelicals? How have we presented him as so ris-averse and timid that we often marginalise him from the people he came to live and die for?
Our sin, it seems, is that we have clothed him so heavily in our likeness that he has become discredited in our culture. Few people have an opportunity to say "no" to the real Jesus. The one they have rejected is the bad imitation we have offered. It's like giving someone a poor quality cappuccino from a dispensing machine rather than a freshly made cup from an Italian coffee shop.
Not only do I appreciate the guote for the great coffee snobbery (a bit ironic when speaking about clothing Jesus with our risk-averse evangelicalism), but I think this idea of domesticating Jesus has so much merit. Sometimes I wonder if we have not violated the commandment "You shall have no other gods before me" when we have fashioned for ourselves a new [jesus] to worship (yes, the bracketing and lower case are on purpose) who is not the Jesus of the Bible. This is partly the point of the rant by Green Day on American Idiot in songs like Jesus of Suburbia. Is the [jesus] we worship the Jesus that God reveals in the Scripture, or is he merely the [jesus] we can handle that we have fashioned with our own hands - not by wood like those against whom the prophet rants - but through subtle workmanship of our preferences?
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