Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Greg has a preliminary review of Brian McLaren's new book, The Secret Message of Jesus. He and I agree that McLaren should have chosen a different title, because it really isn't that much of a secret.

McLaren's argument is that Jesus really means what he says. Really. Again, [John Howard] Yoder makes this argument at length in [Politics of Jesus] and Royal Priesthood, but McLaren presents the argument as if it is "the secret message of Jesus." The reality, of course, is that the Anabaptists have always believed that (it's never been a big secret to them), thus McLaren's dependence upon Yoder...The Radical Reformers, eventually Anabaptists because of their insistence on believer baptism, understood the words of Jesus, especially the Sermon on the Mount, as the controlling grammar and vocabulary of the kingdom. The kingdom wasn't tied to a secular state; it was a state unto itself. The Anabaptists understood Jesus to be talking about a present reality, not a future state of bliss in heaven, nor a future millenial reign on earth, nor a standard that drove us to grace. Rather, they saw the grammar of the Sermon on the Mount as the grammar of the kingdom. This is who Jesus is, so this is who we are to be. This is what Jesus says, so this is what we are to do. Simple, right?

Steve McCoy offers a lengthy quote to talk about spiritual formation. A taste:

Jesus facilitated spiritual formation in his disciples by introducing them to life situation and then helping them debrief their experiences. He taught them to pray. He did not lead them in a study course on prayer. He took them on mission trips (Samaria, for example); he didn't read books to them on the subject of missions. He sent them on learning junkets and exposed them to situations. He asked their opinion on what they were hearing and observing ("Who do you say that I am?"). He asked for radical obedience from them. He asked them to take up a cross and follow him. He did not send them to school and wait for them to graduate before giving them a significant assignment. He sent them out before they were ready to go and then helped them to learn from their experiences. He talked about the kingdom of God, but mostly he lived the kingdom of God, practicing a life in front of his followers that modeled very different core values than those given to them by the Pharisees in the synagogues.

The iMonk reflects on culture warriors freaking out about tongue piercing.

Meg posted a much lighter April Fool's prank than mine the other day. Her being set to marry 'Chaz Finney' tipped me off. Still a funny little bit of satire.