Sunday, February 26, 2006

Is Christianity safe or is it exciting?

Scot McKnight has a large excerpt from Brennan Manning here about Settler versus Pioneer Christianity. Well worth the read, I'm going to have to get the book...of course it's out of print :(

"In Settler Theology, the church is the courthouse. It is the center of town life. The old stone structure dominates the town square. Its windows are small and this makes things dark inside. Within the courthouse walls, records are kept, taxes collected, trials held for bad guys. The courthouse is the settler’s symbol of law, order, stability, and—most importantly—security. The mayor’s office is on the top floor. His eagle eye ferrets out the smallest details of town life.

"In Pioneer Theology, the church is the covered wagon. It’s a house on wheels, always on the move. The covered wagon is where the pioneers eat, sleep, fight, love and die. It bears the marks of life and movement—it creaks, is scarred with arrows, bandaged with baling wire. The covered wagon is always where the action is. It moves toward the future and doesn’t bother to glorify its own ruts. The old wagon isn’t comfortable, but the pioneers don’t mind. They are more into adventure than comfort."

It continues on from there...

<idle musing>
I always tell my kids (now 21 & 24!) that Christianity is like a ride on a backwards roller coaster. You don't have a clue what is coming next, but you know you aren't going to fall off and that it will be exciting. Of course, I love roller coasters, as do my kids (and Debbie, too), so you know which version of Christianity I want.

I don't have time for "safe" Christianity. If Jesus called us to be safe, then I must have misread the New Testament, because I sure don't see it there. As I listen to Christian radio or read some popular Christian paperback (OK, not very often) or listen to Christians, I hear a recurring theme, and it makes me want to throw-up: The safe radio station, you're kids won't hear anything naughty. The safe book, you won't have to think. "I just want my kids to grow up in a safe environment." Hogwash! You don't need faith if that is what you want! All you need is a big fence. Defend the status quo, worship your false gods of security and status, financial success and ladder climbing if you want. But, when the final call comes, don't expect a "well done" from the master. He calls us to live by faith, radical faith. Romans 12:2 is quite clear about that, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

An equally valid translation of "Do not conform any longer" would be "Stop conforming." I like that, it is a call to a deeper walk, one that is reliant on the Holy Spirit, not on rules or the dying momentum from an encounter with God once upon a time in your past. As C.S. Lewis says in The Last Battle, "Higher up and deeper in." That is the cry of my heart and I pray that it is yours too!
</idle musing>

1 comment:

PatMan said...


As a Christian in Ireland I found your post extremely interesting & a great read...

Thank you...