Friday, June 09, 2006

Christianity Rediscovered Chapter 9

And now the thoughts on chapter 9.

You are great!


renee said...

One thing about this chapt (it's short): Near the end he talks about a missionary not being an advocate of any system only an adversary of injustice. I get it, that the gospel is not contained in any one system. However, in the paragraph that talks about this, it makes it sound like the missionary should forever be the screamer about injustice without having an alternate plan of how to help the situation. Yes, we believe that the gospel is the ultimate goal, but in the meantime, don't stand and scream in front of a hospital about unborn children being killed and not provide some sort of support for mothers of these children to have them. On a political level, it doesn't do much to go and say this segment of the population is being unjustly treated if you don't have any ideas how another system (because that's how it works) can help them. But perhaps I am getting too caught up in his semantics because I don't feel like he would be the anti-abortionist protestor.

Kevin said...

1. I like the quote he has from Ivan Illich: "we must get out of this business, this business of identifying the gospel with system, any system, or we leave to a future generation the agony of separating once again the two realities."

2. Renee, I hear your wanting to prevent the crying for justice without helping. That almost always harms the Kingdom. Donovan says it a bit differently earlier in the chapter. Maybe this is a little more palpable. "Christ seems to be calling us to rise above the arena and atmosphere of blow and counter-blow, strike and counter-strike, to the only level where justice is even remotely possible, the level of mercy and love. Otherwise, we forever cut off the possibility, for ourselves and our opponents, of reaching that plane where we both can respond to one another with mutual respect and reconciliation and forgiveness and love and justice."

3. Now, I want to strongly disagree with something near the end of the chapter that Donovan says. Maybe you can help me see if I've missed his heart. He give a long list of things that a missionary does and comes to the last one: ". . . to hasten the Sedond Coming of the Lord - that is the vocation of a missionary." I just don't buy that. I know that Jesus said missions work needed to be done before He came but I absolutely do not think that His Second Coming is anywhere near that main point. To glorify God and help others do so is the main point. Yes, I believe there will be a day, today or 3,000 years from now, where Jesus will come back and we will be with Him forever. But that's not the cake . . . maybe the frosting . . . or maybe the cherry on top. For way too long, we have seen evangelism and missions as getting people to heaven. Getting the Second Coming to happen sooner is just a different way of saying that.

Brian said...

1. I also agree on the system quote... wish that were preached more.

2. Its interesting to me that he equates the word "justice" with the word "revenge". I don't feel them to be even remotely the same. So his comment, "The Sermon on the Mount is hardly a cry for justice" seemed so out of place and odd... but if he's using justice and revenge interchangably, then I'm ok with that statement.

3. He drops a HUGE bomb in this chapter and then just keeps on going like nothing happened... "The two main elements involved in biblical devfelopment are...2) the outward thrust of Christianity from me to my neighbor to stranger to enemy to all the tribes and nations of the earth: universalism." I'd be fascinated to hear people's response to this quote and their thoughts on Universalism in the midst of our grace filled theology.

4. Kevin - I don't have much trouble with this quote about hastening the bringing of the Second Coming (for me the "Day of the Lord"), because in the Jewish mindset - and I would argue in a lot of places sprinkled through the new testament - the more we bring the kingdom here the sooner the Day of the Lord comes. There seems to be some tie between the people here on earth and their kingdom work and the consummation of that kingdom in the larger spiritual realm. But if we're just trying to escape the troubles of today, then I'm not for this mentality either.

Josh said...

All I've got on this chapter is my favorite quote:

"As for the kingdom announced to the poor, the missionary does not proclaim a political or economic system of renovated laws to ensure justice. Rather he announces the arrival of love on the face of the earth, love coming from the Father. He announces a salvation and liberation coming from no law but from the love poured out by the Holy Spirit on all mankind. Laws bring no salvation or knows no limits and is a pledge of the superabundance and overflow of the kingdom."

which makes me think of a quote from another book, Missional talking about the kingdom, the writer says it is not something we build, establish or extend but something we "receive and enter" (94 Missional Church, Guder).

Since it is that, "daily life becomes a discipline of asking how one may move more squarely into the realm of God's reign and how one may welcome and receive it into the fabric of one's life this day more than ever before" so that "evangelism [the work of a missionary] would move from an act of recruiting or co-opting those outside the church to an invitation of companionship" (97 MC)