Adventures in Missing the Point: How the Culture Controlled Church Neutered the Gospel

 
9780310253846: Adventures in Missing the Point: How the Culture Controlled Church Neutered the Gospel

If you're brave enough to take an honest look at the issues facing the culture--controlled church--and the issues in your own life--read on. Do you ever look at how the Christian faith is being lived out in the new millennium and wonder if we're not doing what we're supposed to be doing? That we still haven't quite 'gotten it'? That we've missed the point regarding many important issues? It's understandable if we've relied on what we've been told to believe or what's widely accepted by the Christian community. But if we truly turned a constructive, critical eye toward our beliefs and vigorously questioned them and their origins, where would we find ourselves? Best-selling authors Brian McLaren and Tony Campolo invite you to do just that. Join them on an adventure--one that's about uncovering and naming faulty conclusions, suppositions, and assumptions about the Christian faith. In Adventures in Missing the Point, the authors take turns addressing how we've missed the point on crucial topics such as: Salvation, The Bible, Being Postmodern, Worship, Homosexuality, Truth, and many more...

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About the Author:

Brian D. McLaren (MA, University of Maryland) is founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church, an innovative, nondenominational church in the Baltimore-Washington region. He's also a senior fellow with emergent (www.emergentvillage.org), a growing generative friendship of missional Christian leaders.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Adventures in Missing the Point: How the Culture-Controlled Church Neutered the Gospel Copyright 2003 by Brian D. McLaren and Tony Campolo Youth Specialties Products, 300 S. Pierce St., El Cajon, CA 92020, are published by Zondervan, 5300 Patterson Ave. S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49530 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data McLaren, Brian D., 1956- Adventures in missing the point : how the culture-controlled church neutered the Gospel / by Brian D. McLaren and Tony Campolo. p. cm. ISBN-10: 0-310-25384-5 ISBN-13: 978-0-310-25384-6 1. Theology, Doctrinal--Popular works. I. Campolo, Anthony. II. Title. BT77 .M388 2003 270.8'3--dc21 2002156593 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version (North American Edition). Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Edited by Tim McLaughlin Design by Burnkit Printed in the United States of America 05 06 07 / DCI / 10 9 8 7 6 MISSING THE POINT about MISSING THE POINT Sometimes the first thing we forget is what we're really trying to do. At least that's what my friend Jim Henderson says, and he has a story to prove it: I'm in Home Depot. A series of consumer canyons tower menacingly overhead. All I need is a thingamajig. Where is it and who cares? My eyes quickly scan the horizon of stuff looking for a little just-in-time customer service. I want to scream: Take your eyes off those boxes! Get down off that stupid ladder! Quit visiting with your coworkers! Don't pick up that phone! Pay attention to me! But it's pointless, and I finally get it: I'm an interruption. An irritation. They'd prefer I wasn't in their building. They've forgotten why they went into business. It wasn't to count boxes. Or visit each other. Or ignore the customer. They went into business to pay attention to the customer. Employees like these have missed the point. Which is how a lot of us feel about the way we're living out Christian faith in the early 21st century. Somehow, we're missing the point. We pastors and preachers listen to our own sermons, see the frantic pace of programs and meetings we've created, and shivers run up our spines: are we somehow missing the point? Are our churches and broadcasts and books and organizations merely creating religious consumers of religious products and programs? Are we creating a self-isolating, self- serving, self-perpetuating, self-centered subculture instead of a world-penetrating (like salt and light), world-serving (focused on 'the least and the lost,' those Jesus came to seek and save), world-transforming (like yeast in bread), Godcentered (sharing God's love for the whole world) counterculture? If so, even if we proudly carry the name evangelical (which means 'having to do with the gospel'), we're not behaving as friends to the gospel, but rather as its betrayers. However unintentionally, we can neuter the very gospel we seek to live and proclaim. This book is our attempt, flawed and faltering to be sure, to get us thinking about the frightening possibility of unintentional betrayal of the gospel by those entrusted with it. And more, this book isn't about pointing fingers at 'them' for their mistakes. It's about us. Protestants and Catholics, liberals and conservatives, hand-clappers and nonclappers, Pentecostals and Presbyterians (and Pentecostal Presbyterians)---all of us. So we'd like to invite all of us to consider ways that we're missing the point---to share a journey of (re)discovering what we're supposed to be about. You won't find a blueprint in these chapters---no five easy steps, no new model to roll out. We're just two bald guys learning to love the Lord and the church and the world, and we're trying to figure out the point of being Christians. In the process we're becoming more and more aware of how often we miss the point ourselves. And on occasion in these pages, you'll see how each of us thinks the other might be missing the point as well! (And hopefully, you'll see us demonstrate a good-natured way of disagreeing, too.) Every once in a while, muddling through life, we see things in a new, clearer light, and we're surprised by the epiphany. Consider the case of Jason, a young college student who, during the time he was attending Brian's church, was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Soon after the diagnosis he rented a room in Brian's big house, like a few other single guys (without mental disorders) did. Fast forward a few years. All the guys in Brian's house have moved out and got places of their own. One day Brian learns from a mutual friend that Jason is 'normal' again. The two of them get together, and Brian immediately recognized that something was different: for starters, Jason called him Brian instead of Mr. McLaren, which for some reason he had called him since his illness had kicked in. 'Can you explain what I was like when I lived with you?' Jason asked Brian. 'I feel like I just woke up from a dream and my whole past is like a fog. I'm trying to piece it together.' During the few hours they were together, Brian felt like he was watching Awakenings, seeing a miracle before his eyes. But as in the movie, the miracle was short-lived, and Jason's schizophrenia gradually returned. It turned out that a new doctor had changed medications, and during the transition--- when the effects of the old drug were waning and those of the new were increasing---Jason's brain chemistry returned to that fragile state we call 'normal.' Sadly, the doctor has never been able to recapture that fragile balance. Like Jason during that brief period of clarity, we may be in a rare moment of opportunity as a culture. The waning of modernity and the rise of postmodernity may give us a few days or weeks of unusual clarity. We begin to realize what a fog we have been in, how we may have been missing the point. In such lucid moments we might find ourselves in the calm eye of a hurricane---an interlude of clear skies and gentle winds, of clear thinking and improved vision, where we can reassess our lives, re-imagine our future direction. And with any luck, perhaps the pair of cultural influences---one waning and the other waxing---can somehow neutralize each other and somehow make our cultural awakening longer-lived. But shame on you if you use this book to critique others, to point the finger and say, 'See how they're missing the point!' If you do that, you're missing the point. This adventure is not about finding the splinter in someone else's eye, not about judging others for their poor vision. Or if you get defensive while reading this book, thinking, Hey, I'm not missing the point. You authors are missing the point. I see everything perfectly clearly---if you think this, then you're missing more than the point: you're missing an opportunity to learn, to reflect, to grow. This adventure isn't about defending ourselves. What this adventure is about is facing our own blindnesses, our own insanities, our own foggy thinking and clouded judgment. It's about admitting that we haven't seen things clearly, and about wanting to think more clearly than we do.

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