The Goal of re:THINK

rethink
So exactly what am I trying to do with re:THINK? To answer that question well I need to tell a little bit about the journey that I’ve been on myself these last few years.

I have been blessed to grow up in the church. All of my earliest memories involve being in church and learning to love and understand the Scriptures. I still believe that following Jesus is a worthwhile pursuit. However…

Almost ten years ago now I began asking myself a difficult-to-deal-with question. It was very simply this… “If following Jesus is a worthwhile pursuit, why am I not doing more to demonstrate that to people who do not believe?” I wasn’t consumed by it… at first. It didn’t keep me awake nights… at first. It was persistent.

Around that same time I was reading all these books that were challenging the way in which I understood faith. Frankly, I was beginning to question the very essence of what it means to be Christian. In the midst of that wrestling I was certain that part of the answer was to start thinking differently about how I express my faith in Jesus to others.

In the summer of 2008 we began planting the seeds of what would become Process Church. Never before had I been so beautifully connected to people who were outside of faith. And as I began and continued to form friendships with people far from God, what I learned was that one of the biggest obstacles to them understanding the Good News about Jesus was, in fact, the way that Christians handled themselves. It was rarely about what Christians believed. It was almost always more about how Christian people expressed what they believed.

Having said all of that, my goal in writing this blog is to challenge those of us that identify as followers of Jesus to reexamine, reevaluate, and yes, re-THINK what it means to be Christian. Are you willing? Will you do the hard work and ask difficult questions of yourself? There is too much at stake to do otherwise.

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9 thoughts on “The Goal of re:THINK

    1. Journey on, Peter! I’ve added your blog to my reading list as well. If those that need Jesus around is are unready or unwilling to receive Him, may they be so surrounded by the spirit of Jesus in us that they cannot help but know of Him.

  1. Indeed, it was difficult for me to break through the layer of individuals that surround the surface of the church, to crack the shell to get to what I felt was comfortable and real and safe. So many that claim to follow Christ and do the exact opposite of what Christ commands. He commands for us to Love others, to serve others and instructs us on how to do this. Very few do that, ultimately only seeking what pleases them.
    These so called followers can become a distraction for many, discouraging those that seek the truth, interfering with what should be warm and loving and comfortable. A place that’s safe with all the answers, where you can live a free and happy life, with no troubles. Sounds nice right? Jesus never said it would be like this, he never said that it would be easy and knew that the struggles would come from none believers and those that may seek the truth but that are imperfect sinners. We have this idea that those that are involved with the church should be a certain way, and set ourselves up with expectations on their behavior, when in fact, they are not perfect and will sin and let others down. Rather than focusing on them and judging them for their behavior, we should simply continue to focus on ourselves and our relationship with Christ and how we are to serve him by loving these individuals. So many think about what the Church can do for them, why not think about what you can do for to the Church? So I say, stop thinking so much about the people and get to the source. The Truth, the Word of God. Pray.
    I now know that I will never be surrounded by a perfect church, with perfect believers knowing all the answers. I will instead be involved with the imperfect, loving them, as instructed as we are all fallen, and broken sinners. We will grow together, fail together, love and serve others together and spread the Good News together, as intended by our Lord. I won’t let trivial matters of others sin disrupt my purpose or distract me.
    In addition to that, we must also be mindful that those that love their sin, will use any excuse to live with it, including judging those involved in the church, using their questionable characteristics as an excuse to continue to sin outside of the church.
    Forgive any rambling, I’m sleepy. Happy Blogging Rob!

  2. Rob, I’m looking foward to reading your posts as your persue this topic. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately.

    One thing I’ve become convinced of- we need to stop defining “The Gospel” in terms of the ability to artculate the workings of atonement. When Christ told us what the greatest law was, it was love. When Paul summed up the law, it was love. I’m not saying that our understanding of how salvation works is unimportant or that “all we need is love”, but patting those on the back who can recite the Roman’s Road while shunning those who can’t is missing the point.

    I recently went through a study in Acts, and it struck me that Peter’s first sermon (in which many people became Christians) didn’t contain a lot of the things we think are very important to preach about today when evangelizing. He didn’t talk about the need for Jesus to die in our place as a substitution. He didn’t talk about the wages of sin being death. In fact, his message was quite simple: you are sinners- repent and trust in Jesus. Remember this sermon was documented by Luke, a very careful historian. I doubt he would have left any essential part out of his summation of Peter’s sermon.

    Given that, do we overcomplicate things by making sure people agree with Penal Substitutionary Atonement (even if they don’t know the doctrine is called that) before we consider them Christians? I think we probably do. Again, I believe that PSA is an important doctrine- it changes how I view my need for Christ and makes me thankful to him for what he has done for me. The question I have is whether it is a necessary message to preach to the unconverted.

    I think we’d do far better to emulate Peter in our evangelism, and make clear that we are not calling people to repent from sin to follow a religous system, but to move to a fellowship that is characterized by love: love for Christ AND love for one another. If we do not have that love, then even if we can articulate PSA, have we really repented? Have we really turned toward God?

    Maybe this isn’t quite the direction you were going, so forgive me if I’ve gone off the rails. I just think evanglical Christianity (especaily in the South) has become more about being able to recite a thological “code” and check a buch of little required boxes rather than changed hearts that have gone from death to life. Changed hearts that are known by their love for one another . . .

  3. You certainly have challenged me to Rethink through many things personally! Truth never changes, but the way we express it can. I have heard it said that those outside of the faith often perceive Christians as outspoken people who are against everything politically and socially and very divisive about it. We should live lives of principle and conviction, but be careful that the picture we paint of Christ is not always behind a sandwich board and a loudspeaker. We have the message of truth and hope, let’s not destroy the opportunity to share that message. The old saying goes: choose your battles. My sole job as a believer is share the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords with the rest of the world.

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