From Todd Hunter: Churches need to present the gospel about Jesus. That Jesus has come, and that he offers people freedom and life. We can be forgiven, and find peace with God. But churches also need to live out the gospel of Jesus. That Jesus’ message changes his followers and impacts the world. The gospel of Jesus is about more than faith and comfort and heaven everafter. The gospel of Jesus is about impact, and action, and growth and change. It’s about being blessed so that we can be a blessing to others.
From Brian McClaren’s The Last Word… : Jesus’ message is about two things. It is about personal, private character transformation. We can become new people. We can change our wiring, and our view of the world, and our bodies, souls, and lives.
But Jesus’ message is also about outward action, engagement with others, with bringing justice. “Seek God’s Kingdom, and God’s justice.” “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” It is about being co-workers with God in bringing his Kingdom, with making the world into the place he’d like it to be.
What strikes me is how interrelated these two halves are. We need a new character to bring justice. But we can’t grow our character without engaging others. How can I learn to ‘turn the other cheek’ without getting up out of my chair and being slapped around? And how can I bear to get slapped around without some measure of Jesus’ character? Staying in the personal, private sphere will ensure that I only stagnate and benefit no one. And working for justice divorced from a life in Jesus will become angry, bitter, and useless.
I guess I need to take what I know of the Way of Jesus and apply it to my little world. To succeed, and to fail. And then to go back to the Way of Jesus and check again, and find hope and forgiveness and love. And then to go out and take my lumps, and learn by experience. So that, in all of it, I might grow into the full expression of who I can be, and can bring a bit of God’s goodness to this world.