March 01, 2005

The Barbarian Way

An interesting Church called Mosaic meets at Jessica’s school on Sunday mornings. I’ve gone with her a number of times, and really appreciate the pastor Erwin McManus’ fresh perspective on matters of the Church. However I must note I find myself really disliking about 5% of what he says, while loving the other 95%. There are certain branches he goes out on, that I believe sometime are not entirely well thought out or developed.

Being overly developed however is Erwin’s chief criticisms of the Church in general. He believes we get sucked in and ‘civilized’ into a Christianity that essentially dulls us to God’s voice and God’s will, and often leads us into Church Body that Jesus himself would be appalled and disappointed with.

He has recently written a book called: ‘The Barbarian Way: Unleash the Untamed Faith Within.’ I have not read the book yet, however I heard last weekend the sermon he gave which describes the thesis for his book. Essentially Erwin argues we need to bust out of our Church Bubble of safety and civilization, and get back to the wild and barbarian life Jesus truly calls us to.

I can’t say I fully agree with Erwin however. He used analogies a number of times equating our Christian life to “A heard of Rhinos … they can run 30 mph, but can only see 30 feet in front of them … but whatever is at 31 feet better get out of the way.” I just can’t quite jump on that horned idea and run. I realize it’s only an analogy but I just don’t see how this aligns with:

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” -- Matthew 10:16

Now to be fair, later in this same dialog Jesus says:

“When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” -- Matthew 10:19-20

But that brings me to another point that irks me, he said we shouldn’t be living a life without worry, but Jesus time and time again told us not to worry. I assume Erwin is referring to a life of ‘safety’ however calling it a life of worry is substantially different to me.

All those points aside I believe, for the most part Erwin’s got it right. Much of what he says constitutes a much needed clubbing over the head of Christians. So go ahead check out his book, and here’s a bit more about it.

“Somewhere along the way the movement of Jesus Christ became civilized as Christianity. We created a religion using the name of Jesus Christ and convinced ourselves that God’s optimal desire for our lives was to insulate us in a spiritual bubble where we risk nothing, sacrifice nothing, lose nothing, worry about nothing… I wonder how many of us have lost our barbarian way and have become embittered with God, confused in our faith because God doesn’t come through the way we think He should.”

In THE BARBARIAN WAY, McManus challenges Christians to escape “proper” religion and pursue a passion-filled, potentially risk-filled, adventurous life with God—regardless of their circumstances.

“For years I have made it my mission to destroy the influence of the Christian cliché, ‘the safest place to be is in the center of the will of God’… God would never choose for us safety at the cost of significance… God created you so that your life would count, not so that you could count the days of your life.”

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