An enduring image for me is the Charles Schultz comic strip picture of Lucy in her psychiatrist’s booth with her elbows on the counter and her chin in her hands – and this question: “What’s it all about, Charlie Brown?”
That question was raised again this morning as I watched a TEDx video of Raoul Martinez speaking on Creating Freedom. He was challenging his audience to rethink their habits and traditions and beliefs. His point was that we are all too much the product of our cultures and have accepted as true things that have not been carefully examined. We have too much bought into the culture of money or power rather than people, of politics rather than right.
Understand, this was not a Christian speaking, but it was the message of Jesus. No one has ever been as critical of the culture as Jesus. When the religious culture said, obey the rules, Jesus countered with “Obey God.” When the social culture said live for yourself, Jesus said love God and others. Radical? Yes. Read Jesus’ manifesto in Matthew 5-7, a passage we call the Sermon on the Mount. It was radical then and it is radical now.
How does this relate to the church? It relates this way: the church often settles into a pattern of doing things the way our culture does things. We adopt, without questioning whether it is Jesus’ way or not, the culture of business and organization. We too often choose leaders the way a business chooses a CEO. We market the church with programs. We adopt the organizational patterns of successful organizations. And we even measure success the same way: money and numbers.
What’s it all about? It is not about this. All this is the exact opposite of how Jesus measured success. Success was serving. Success was humility. Success was compassion.
We at Journey have been for six months seeking the pastor God has planned for us. If he is God’s man, we may expect that he will challenge us to reexamine how we live. Is it Jesus’ way? We may expect he will be radical. He will challenge our habits and our established traditions, yes, even our church traditions.
I for one am ready for that. Bring it on.