sometimes i have fun conversations with other people who have crazy ideas about “church”, too. whenever i do, i always say “well, it’s great to know we’re not crazy. or maybe if we are, at least we’re not alone.”
when i said it this past week i added–it’s really crazy that these ideas are often seen as crazy! somehow the wild & wacky ways of Jesus in the gospels has gotten so decked-out-with-bells-and-whistles, sanitized, professionalized, leadership-ized and institutionalized that really actually doing what he challenged us to do is seen as somehow radical.
i don’t really think these ideas should be all that radical for Christ-followers, but they often are:
1. putting in-the-flesh relationships first. above programming, gatherings, websites, practicalities, budgets, strategies, and everything else for that matter. Jesus didn’t speak into any of the things we often spend so much energy on. instead, his focus was on people–unplugged, raw, in-the-trenches relationships where we can practice love, grace, kindness, compassion, forgiveness and experience healing and freedom together.
2. a culture of inclusivity & equality. all invited & welcome at the table. all voices heard. all voices matter. men, women, black, white, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, gay, straight, married, single, liberal, conservative, healthy, sick–seeking freedom & hope, together.
3. deferring toward the margins instead of toward resource. over and over Jesus warned us that we couldn’t serve both God & money, yet corporately & individually we constantly make decisions that defer toward resource & power to keep things predictable & comfortable. i do not think deferring toward the marginalized, the oppressed, the fringes, the ones without the resource & power should be a crazy thought for Christians!
4. shared leadership & diffused power over 1-person-at-the-top. it just feels odd to me that as supposed cultivators of the practice of authentic, loving community we’d continue to build structures that put all the power in 1 person.
5. the practice of love valued over knowledge or belief. throughout the gospels Jesus honors people’s active faith over doctrine or dogma. he doesn’t say “before you do this you have to believe x, y, and z or it doesn’t count.” he instead calls us to tangibly love, to sacrifice, to spend our energies on love & not laws.
i am sure there are many more. these are just the 5 that popped into my mind in the moment. what would you add?
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ps: i am also very excited about a new book project i’ve been working on called “down we go–living into the wild ways of Jesus” by civitas press, releasing june 1st. this opportunity dropped in my lap late last fall, and i decided to be brave & work at integrating some of what i’ve written here over the past few years into a more comprehensive & practical resource. i’ll keep you posted…meanwhile, thanks for reading & your encouragement & for reminding me i’m not crazy.