“If this is evangelical” Part 2: I Come from the Future

September 23, 2006

(I typed this in as a comment to follow up on “If this is evangelical, then I am not,” but it got so long that I thought I’d post it separately.)

Thanks everyone for your good comments! Am I being judgemental? Maybe. A bit. OK, yes, yes! Color me irritated.

All metaphors have their uses, Helen. I am accustomed to war metaphors and have used them myself. What strikes me is the poor timing. I’m afraid it muddles the distinction between the battle against spiritual forces of evil and the battle against our own flesh and blood fellow humans. It is very similar to the language of jihad, which Muslims generally apply to battling evil forces, particularly the evil within each of us. But the fundie Muslims are muddling that. Let’s not go there ourselves. Let’s not even get close.

But as I said, that is the least of my concerns. David put his finger on what bugs me the most: It’s about fear. It’s about protecting ourselves, especially our precious institutions. My gosh, haven’t they read the Book? Don’t they believe that the amazing Message with which we have been entrusted has power to change individuals and systems? Don’t they believe the ancient creed, “I believe in the holy Church”? (Hmm, that’s a topic to pursue in another posting.)

I wonder if they realize that the power of the Message is revealed through weakness. And this brings us back to Christendom, which is about the Christian church being one of the centers and dominant power players of society since the wacky conversion of the Roman emperor Constantine in 312. I no longer see the decline of this position of cultural power as such a bad thing. I may be an insufferable optimist. I have to be! I’ve read the Book and have seen the ultimate goal of human history, and have been given the privilege of living as a Citizen of the Future, doing my part to pull that future into the present. And as the Master demonstrated, this pulling is done through weakness, suffering, and surrender. Only then will we be able to overturn the present world system which values power and dominance.

Future Man

Jon Reid

Posts Twitter Google+

As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

3 responses to “If this is evangelical” Part 2: I Come from the Future

  1. One of my favorite Kevin Prosch songs has the lyrics:
    “…who ever heard of an army oh God/That conquered the earth with weeping, and mourning, and brokeness…”
    If I had more time, i’d get into why I get into why I love/hate this song. But alas, children need food. And it seemed at least a little bit appropriate.

  2. Helen has a good point, of course, but also remember we are not allowed the luxury of abdicating our responsibilities to make good choices for ourselves or our families under the auspices of “not judging others”. 
    We live in a complex society.  We have to make value judgements all the time to guide our actions and teach our children.  We must judge others every day.  We cannot and should not avoid that.  We must, of course, do so with compassion and understanding.
    Jon is probably the most compassionate and understanding person I’ve ever met.  If  someone is to judge me (or my actions), I’m fine with that person being Jon.
    I see the issue here a bit differently.  What I see is that there is a group of people who are on roughly the same mission as Jon … and they are “muddying the waters” so to speak.  Through their actions they are making it difficult for Jon to spread his message under the same banner.
    With that in mind, it’s completely natural to have Jon’s “I’m not with those guys” reaction, I think.  The challenge is that Jon _is_ with those guys in the minds of the people Jon is trying to reach. 
    So … can we help Jon find a way to spread his message of peace, love, and understanding under the banner of “evangelical” at the same time that other people are spreading a message that causes people to think in very defensive, militaristic terms?
    Perhaps the first step is to reach out to the group that (frankly) sounds like a scared child, and minister to them?  Could someone simply point out to them that their message does not sound like the message of someone who has inner peace and the strength that brings.  Could someone point out to them that they sound panicked, and seem to be talking about the problem, when perhaps they should be talking about the solution?  Could someone show them a better way?

  3. Matt (my young teen) came home from a See You at the Pole event this week and asked me if he could join “Battle Cry.” I went to the website and looked around. I’m just not having the same reaction you are. Yes, I agree the kingdom cannot come by force and perhaps the metaphor is not appropriate in this day and age. I am a bit uncomfortable with the “battle plan” terminology they use on the site. On the other hand, my son wants to meet other Christians and likes the opportunity to blog with other teens, so I let him do it.
    What I am picking up from the site is that they want to reach kids for Jesus and how TV, internet and other things are shaping the teens. As a woman, I do not relate at all to creating a ‘battle plan.’ To me that is weird. I don’t know what to think, but I do wish they’d tone down the militaristc bent.