Indian-christian thots on the emerging church movement

Contemporary Preaching: Restatement or Reflection

Posted by samthambu on September 7, 2008

I have always wondered why we don’t find any reflection of what we believe in. All we find is restatements – mostly denominational and/or cultural.  I have been reading the book, ‘ God is not Great: How Religion poisons everything’ and I thought Chris Hitchens possibly gives us a clue. We may not agree with everything he says but this one demands our attention.

Christopher Hitchens ( a fierce critic of religion) writes:

” Religion spoke its last intelligible or noble or inspiring words a long time ago. either that is mutated into an admirable but nebulous humanism, as did say Dietrich Bohnhoeffer, a brave lutheran pastor hanged by the Nazis for his refusal to collude with them. We shall have no more prophets or sages from the ancient quarter, which is why devotions of today are only echoing repetitions of yesterday, sometimes ratcheted up to screaming point so as to ward off the terrible emptiness”

[ God is not great: How religion poisions everything, p.7]

Something to think about. Really?!!What does it mean to be the ‘prophetic’ voice – a voice of disent – in the world of spin, hype and deception. What does it mean to ‘rebel’ againt the spirit of the age.

It’s worth listening to Chris Hitchen’s.


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Why sport a Honorary Doctoral degree?

Posted by samthambu on April 2, 2008

I wonder Why so many Indian-Christian preachers sport their honorary Doctorates with such fanfare? Any and every Christian preacher holds a doctorate. Atleast, that’s what their title suggests. I really find this funny. Worse, they don’t even let their audience know that theirs is no earned PhD – not even in fine print?

So most christian preachers are Doctorates – without an University. We now have doctorates without Universities and academia without doctorates. This is the tragedy of evangelicalism in India.

However, this is a question of integrity. We who speak so much of integrity defy the standards we preach to others. I sincerely feel that sporting a honorary doctorate is no help at all – to anyone except the one sporting it. It is tragic that Christian preachers find their confidence in the titles before their names. Worse, half the audience cannot tell the difference between an earned Doctorate, (re)awarded doctorate and bought doctorates.

Can doctorates be bought? Sadly yes! and worse, they sport their doctoral titles.  We must truly give rise to real intellectuals within the evangelical fold.  The best thing to happen to Indian evangelicalism would this: a genuine intellectual leading from the front. I hope it happens soon….

We have had preachers leading us. We have had personalities leading us. But… its been a long time since Indian Evangelicals have been led by an Intellectual. We must give rise to sound evangelical scholarship and build our intellectual forte. Thats the way forward… We must learn from our pentecostal brothers who in the last two decades have undergirded their shade of faith with intellectual fortitude.

Please…. let’s give up our pretense of intellectualism by sporting a honorary degree. Let’s safeguard our integrity by telling our audience that it is a honorary degree (given to felicitate many years of ministry). We would have gained a listening ear… with our integrity and the power of the message that we live and believe.

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Without Words

Posted by samthambu on March 31, 2008

I have realized that so much of our evangelism needs to be ‘without words’. In a world driven by images ‘visuals’ attract our attention. And so, we need to be seen and not heard (to borrow words from a popular petra song). We need to be brand ambassadors for Jesus. We are used to talking. Not just talking but talking aloud. We say things that we don’t believe, things that we don’t practice and even things we don’t intend to. It is easy to preach a sermon. You can google-search and pull it off the net. There are books that give you sermon outlines or you re-play a sermon that you have heard elsewhere. God has been gracious and even used our ctrl C + Ctrl v hermeneutics and copycat homelitics.

But then, God want us to make a definite difference. He wants our lives to speak out the gospel ‘loud’ and ‘clear’. Jesus said to his disciples, “You are the light of the earth”. We must shine…shine….shine. If we are lit on the inside, it is difficult to hide it. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.

Jesus encouraged his disciples to shine the light for other people. He never asked us to be salesmen for lights and tubes. And often times, that is what we are. Mere salesmen roleplaying and mouthing big sales talk. Jesus asked us to live – and live a good/meaningful lives at that. Our lives are blogs that people read. They know how we live lives, how we find meaning, how we cherish relationships, how we are guided by godly wisdom, how good our values are, how consistent we are in living out our beliefs, how we are Jesus-like… etc. Those who see us would quickly spot the difference. Our ‘desires’, ‘needs’, ‘tastes’ ‘choices’ and ‘hungers’must be different – gospel informed and gospel transformed.

As an “emerging” new christian, living in the world of despair we must commit ourselves to missional living. We can (and must) shine ‘hope’ into their lives and situations…if only we live out the gospel! We must engage in evangelism. But as one follower of Jesus discovered,” use words only if necessary”. Let’s pray that we find grace to speak the gospel “without words”

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Facing the “culture war” within our Churches

Posted by samthambu on March 27, 2008

It’s strange but it nevertheless true. We get to meet everyone in Church except Jesus. Worse, we still haven’t recognized it as yet.

Tamil-Christian Churches have become places were cultural and/or caste identities are forged and reinforced. It is all about – “who we are” and “where we come from” – rather than “who we are’ in Christ.

Now, there is nothing wrong about celebrating our Tamil cultural identity but this should never be done at the cost of our Christian identity. The flavoring essence can never become the main ingredient. Any and every other identity must be subordinate to our identity in Christ.

 Sadly, Tamil-Christianity is entrapped by its own historio-cultural conditioning. Believe me! What goes around as “Christian” is nothing more than our perceptions, interpretations and cultural preferences. For example, wearing jeans to Church is considered abominable. Using contemporary music and art forms is sacrilege.

 Anything other than the tried – tested and trusted – evangelistic methods are a dilution of the gospel. So much so, Tamil-Christianity is all about do’s and don’ts. Religious language accords certain authority and even helps to legitimize them as bench marks for spirituality.

 At the heart of every Tamil-Christian community worldwide is a culture war. The church wants young people to adhere to its yesteryear cultural patterns – which are supposedly Christian. Young people rebel when compelled to follow a particular way of life which is not in sync with contemporary urban trends. They are caught between modernity and tradition, past and future, and rite and relevance.

 With the availability of ample opportunities and the inability to deal with rigid structures, many young people give-up on Church (thankfully not Jesus). Our immediate problem is our particular brand of cultural Christianity which has been carried by Tamil Diaspora worldwide.

 So much as changed within the last 15 – 20 years. Young people live and belong to the information age. They are distantly removed from our experience, lifestyle, tastes and preferences. What if they wear jean pants to Church? What if they express their faith in contemporary music and arts? What if they chip and chop our liturgy? Jesus would accept them as they are. What is our worry – loosing our ‘Christian-ness’ or our cultural identity?

 How do resolve the culture war? How do we help young people find sense of belonging and togetherness in Tamil-Christian communities? These are issues that we need to struggle with.

 Paul’s epistle to Christians at Galatia helps us resolve our predicament. At the heart of this Pauline epistle is the issue of culture. Some Jewish Christians had influenced the Galatians (mostly Greeks) to follow Jewish laws and customs. Judging by the tone of the epistle it looks like St. Paul was visibly hurt. (and may be even angry). Paul writes this epistle responding to the ‘culture war’ at the heart of the faith community there.

 Should those who choose to follow Jesus follow Jewish laws and customs? St. Paul responds by asking: “ How is it, that you force Gentiles (non Jews) to follow Jewish customs(Gal. 2:14b)?” Apostle Paul seems to be of the view that ‘circumcision’ (besides many other laws and customs) need not be forced on non-Jewish Christians. Paul himself demonstrated this by not compelling Titus (a Greek) to be circumcised (Gal. 2:3b).

 How can we compel young people (who belong to the information age) to follow our tastes, preferences, (dis)likes etc. Besides, they are growing up in an entirely different social location and face unusual cultural challenges and peer pressure. We need to be considerate and sensitive to the specific challenges that young people face today. 

 Secondly, Christ has called us into freedom. St. Paul reminds the church that “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free…do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery (Gal 5:1). Following Jesus cannot be reduced to a set of do’s and don’ts. It’s not about what you wear to Church, what you do, what you sing. God does not judge by external appearances (Gal. 2:6b).  

 Legalism makes people guilty since the focus is on how short we fall from the accepted standards. Legalistic Christianity can never be liberative. We must not burden young people with a set of do’s and don’ts. They must find the Christian journey enjoyable.

 We must reflect on the freedom that Christ offers us. It’s no longer what we wear, eat, and do. It’s more about following him and enjoying the freedom he brings to our lives. (However, Paul also adds a caution: “do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature Gal 5:13)

 Thirdly, we need to grasp the meaning of real Christianity. Real Christianity is not about earning God’s favor. It is not about blindly following laws and customs. On the contrary, it is all about ‘faith’ in God. In the words of St. Paul: “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision or uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love (Gal. 5:6).  “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is New Creation (Gal. 6:15).

 What matters is what God does to our life and how we yield ourselves to the work of the Spirit. Real Christianity is an invitation to a life by the Spirit. This is not to suggest spectacular out of the world experience. What do we mean by ‘life by the Spirit’? You live by the spirit when you don’t gratify the desires of the sinful nature. Instead, you bear the fruit of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22).

 This life of emotional intelligence is the privilege of the Christian life. Life by the Spirit must be central teaching of Christian discipleship. Sadly, Christian communities do not teach the privilege of Christian living to young people in church.

 Fourthly, he asks the Galatians to understand what the gospel means. This is so important. We do not yet fully understand the Christian gospel. The language we speak has not yet sunk into our consciousness. We have been made sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Gal.3:26). We are heirs (Gal. 4:7) St. Paul, then asks the church a poignant question: You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? (Gal 5:7). He even chides them: “foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” (Gal. 3:1).

 We have read Galatians devotionally. But, when we read and reflect on Galatians we find that it teaches us about locating the gospel within a culture. Today, we face the challenge of locating the gospel within the contemporary youth culture.

 Should we preach/impose our cultural interpretations, perceptions and preferences on young people? What really matters is young people committing to deeper Christian life – and that they would strive to live by the Spirit.

 We must not lead them to cultural Christianity and/or legalistic Christianity which is devoid of any power. The principles that Paul outlines in Galatians is this:

  1. How is it that you force the gentiles to follow Jewish customs (Gal 2:14b)
  2. We have been made sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Gal.3:26).
  3. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Gal. 5:1)
  4. “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is New Creation (Gal. 6:15).

 We need to reflect on these principles as we face the “culture war”. Most people in Church think that young people are not “spiritual’ enough – simply because they do no comply to behavioral patterns of yesteryear spirituality.

 Most young people are confused and give up on the Church. Or, they are left to slide down the downward spiral of guilt since they are unable to meet the standards of our brand of cultural Christianity.

 If St. Paul were to visit our Tamil-Christian churches he would say: You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? (Gal 5:7). What we need to do is to help young people find Jesus attractive – that they would feast on the living bread, quench their thirst with the living water, find rest in his arms, and find courage to make a difference to our world. Christian life is all about New Creation.

 Lamin Sanneh quotes a young man (in the Preface to the third edition of the book Christianity Rediscovered by Vincent J Donovan) who said: 

In working with Individuals/cultures do not try and call them back to where they were and do not try and call them where you are, as beautiful as that place might be. You must have the courage to go with them to a place that neither you nor they have ever been before”

 We must be willing to join hands with young people and take on this faith adventure. I am sure St. Paul would say “Amen” to that.

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The first initiatives

Posted by samthambu on December 19, 2007

A group of Nadar Christians  around 1858 broke away from the Church Missionary Society and formed the Hindu church of the Lord Jesus. in 1887 K.N Banerjea and Shome left their churches to form what they called The Calcutta Christo Samaj.  In 1885, Dr. Parani Aandi presented his plans to a group of lay people mostly students and government officials and after a period of discussion and consideration the Church was formed in 1886. These were interesting developments within Indian Church history. Firstly, they signal a movement away from the organized Church. Secondly, they experimented alternate worship. Thirdly, it was predominantly lay movements. Kaj Baago contends,

“ The Hindu Church of the Lord Jesus in Tinnevelly, the Christo Samaj in Calcutta and the National Church in Madras were the first attempts in India to Create united indigenous churches but they never became widespread movements. Yet, their influence on the thinking of Indian Christians was not inconsiderable, especially with respect to their attitude to Indian Culture and Religion. It is not accidental that the first Indian Christians who tried to formulate an indigenous theology came from Calcutta, Madras and Tinnelveli”

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The “emerging” vision of Calcutta Christo Samaj (1887 – 1894)

Posted by samthambu on December 6, 2007

About 125 years back, Joy Govinda Shome presented a plan for an independent Indian Church with voluntary pastors at the Calcutta Missionary Conference (1882). He felt that by making a living through secular work is the only way to self-supportive churches. It was undoubtedly the spirit of nationalism that fuelled the aspirations for an independent Indian church. However, it was definitely a move towards an indegenous (Indian) church.

K.M Banerjea and Shome left their churches to experiment an Indian expression of the community of Christian believers that would be relevant to the contextual needs. The Calcutta Christo Samaj was formed in 1887.

The members met weekly in private homes for common worship. No pastor was elected and there was no distinction between clergy and laity. The collapse of the distinction is in line with the radical insights and initiatives of K.M Banerjea and Joy Shome. The services were led by members both men and women. And they practiced baptism by lay people. The Samaj consisted of mostly educated lay people who were financially independent of the missionaries and therefore could disagree with missionaries. Unfortunately, the Christo Samaj did not continue for long. Nevertheless, it points to the aspirations of a group of people to emerge relevant and meaningful forms of worship.

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On Mother Teresa’s Confession

Posted by samthambu on September 18, 2007

– By Bobby Thejus

Nay, Diamond, if I change into a serpent or a tiger, you must not let go your hold of me, for my hand will never change in yours if you keep a good hold. If you keep a hold, you will know who I am all the time, even when you look at me and can’t see me [the least like the North wind]. I may look something very awful. Do you understand?”- At the back of the North Wind, George MacDonald.

Mother Teresa’s confession: Surprised?

We all must be really surprised with Mother Teresa’s confession- A little more shocking than Augustine’s confession. I want you to pray for me- that I let him have [a] free hand.” I’m not going to try and draw parallels and show how one is different from the other nor am I going to defend Mother Teresa’s case with whom we differ greatly on theological issues. My thought here is the challenge which Mother Teresa’s s letters has left us with. Can it be possible for a Christian to go through spasms of loneliness and depression?

The heart of the matter

What does it mean to be, dry, lonely, and in the dark to a woman who said, “Christ in our hearts, Christ in the poor we meet, Christ in the smile we give and in the smile we receive.”? What does it mean to be a Christian? Is Christianity a drug or like Marx said ‘opium to the masses’? Do we get a kick in being religious? And if we aren’t entertained by it, are we being hypocritical to still practice it?

‘Disnifying’ Spirituality

It isn’t surprising that the church with its tele-evangelists have the whole act and screenplay suited for today’s “make me feel good” audiences. Some of us have taken it upon ourselves- the role of entertaining the masses; an attempt to ‘disnify’ Christianity. If one needs to be happy and entertained he doesn’t need the church, a little vodka will do him some good. And we know that vodka all the time will kill us. When entertainment and pleasure becomes common place boredom becomes home. And that is why “our father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home” says C.S. Lewis.

The ‘real’ difference

So then what is Christianity all about? It is about doing the will of God. Mother Teresa in those letters said, “I accept not in my feelings-but with my will, the Will of God- I accept His will.” And His will is good. Good not in human rational terms but rather in divine terms. Like the difference between a good circus monkey and a good human being. Monkey morals are different from human morals. Now if a human were to become a good monkey he will only be regressing into a state of imperfection and weakness. So is the difference between human goodness and divine goodness. A good parent cannot have their child shove his hand into an electric socket and then save him. But God can save him miraculously. G.K. Chesterton writes, “The Old Testament hero is no more supposed to be of the same nature as God than a saw or a hammer is supposed to be of the same shape as the carpenter.”

The spiritual mystery

Every human being goes through these periods more so the Christian because for them it is to do the good will of God- against all odds and against the grain; for instance, Elijah, Jeremiah, Job and Apostle Paul and the plethora of missionaries. When we are taken through these tough periods unlike what most of us think we will come out better human beings. Just like, only when a seed falls to the ground and dies will it bear fruit. Life then, will be a mystery to be lived and not a problem to be solved. “The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man”, said the wise G.K. Chesterton. “When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold ” (Job 23:10).

Living the mystery

It isn’t strange for a believer to go through periods of loneliness and maybe even depression but not boredom. Could it be that because we are a generation that gets bored easily – of this, that and the other, we are incapable of appreciating and engaging in a mystery? While actually it is a mystery that brings us back to life. This is not masochism; only perverts are masochists.

The logic of pain

It isn’t surprising to see the rich and the famous indulging in crime when they have everything they want. Some of them are so comfortable that they can no longer bear it, and drown themselves in it. If happiness is regarded as a reward for a good life, then we will stop making good people happy and take on the stupid task of making happy people good. C.S. Lewis contends, “Pain often produces brilliant work and strengthens, hardens, and sharpens character till we become tempered steel”. The mystery of pain puts character in us.

Facing the challenge

Mother Teresa’s life and ministry has challenged many lives. Now, her spiritual struggle provides yet another challenge. Malcolm Muggeridge, the famous British Journalist writes this about Mother Teresa: “The tendency in our spiritual life but also in our more general attitude toward love is that our feelings are all that is going on… And so to us the totality of love is what we feel. But to really love someone requires commitment, fidelity, and vulnerability. Mother Teresa wasn’t feeling Christ’s love, and she could have shut down. But she was up at 4:30 every morning for Jesus, and still writing to Him, ‘Your happiness is all I want.’ That’s a powerful example even if you are not talking in exclusively religious terms.”

My father once reminded me that treasures can also be found in darkness, Isaiah 45:3; Psalm 139:7-12. As Christians we shouldn’t be very shocked with Mother Teresa’s confessions. Her Savior went through it as well, which she writes herself, is nothing compared to what he went through on the cross-“My God my God why have you forsaken me?” But before we ask Him that question, we will have to allow ourselves to be asked questions that will probe into the deep recesses of our hearts and minds- to be put under the scrutiny of Gods Light (Job 38-42; Jer. 15:19-21; Psalm 139: 23-24)

– Daniel P. Thejus

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The (Re)emerging new christian

Posted by samthambu on September 17, 2007

– By Samuel Thambusamy

Christianity is all about following Jesus. It is about living a renewed life made possible by Jesus. It just occurred to me (in the last few weeks) that we no longer get to meet with Jesus within the contemporary shades of traditional christianity ( better read as churchianity). We have substituted the experience of Jesus with religious language, heart warming music and songs, well thought out statements of belief, corporate-style church management, form/s of worship, spiritual tokenism and jingositic mission ideology. Honestly, do we experience Jesus and does it last -when the music fades, the responsiblity at church is over for the day, after people leave the church premises and all is stripped away? At times, I feel that something is missing. I am beginging to see the need to collectively (as followers of Jesus) meet with Jesus and learn to follow him from one another.

Most of us, only get to experience an upgraded version of colonial Christianity and we stay happy with that kind of religious experience. No wonder, people still associate Jesus with western style church buildings, the solemn if not orderly worship style and symbolism distinctly different from the cultural traditions of India. Interestingly, the earliest disciples were always associated with Jesus and even derided for their ‘peculiar’ lifestyle. They caused everyone to stop and take notice. Jesus was at the center of the faith-community and they were ‘attracting’ many to their fold. In fact, they were even referred to as movers and shakers – (those who are turning the world upside down). It is strange that we have not presented Jesus within the West Asian social setting that he was born-raised and taught. His teaching style, stories and life perspectives must strike a chord with the Indian psyche. And yet, we speak more of Church and Christianity and less of Jesus. Not surprisingly, Jesus is still perceived as Western – white skinned, blued eyed and worse, one who spoke western (Greek) philosophy.

And even if we are able to get through the colonial misgivings, we are caught up with the trappings of cultural Christianity. The commercialization of church and her related Institutions have been a distraction. Christmas, and its festivities, carol services, parties, greeting cards and cakes – largely define who Christ is and describe christian life. Wonder why, Easter is not a big event. Such a ‘santaclausization’ of the goodnews is a real tragedy. We are guilty of turning Christmas ( the christ event) into a Christ-less mess. Lost in the commodification of the goodnews, the least we do is to invite some people to a Christmas carol service if not to a Christmas party. At the christmas event/s, we give entertainment when people need the gospel message and give the gospel message when they need entertainment. Instead of re-telling the gospel, we retail the gospel. People get introduced to what we believe about Jesus, but sadly they don’t meet the Jesus whom we believe and follow. The Jesus who is the embodiment of ‘grace’ and ‘truth’.

Few people get past the colonial and the cultural Christianity barrier. But when they do, we kill their enthusiasm and zeal by imposing ‘doctrinal Christianity’ on them. It is sad to see sincere seekers get entangled in doctrinal issues that have divided the church for centuries. In the name of discipleship, what they are taught is pet denominational doctrines. The same emphasis is not given to the teaching the life principles that Jesus taught his disciples and commanded them to follow. Moreover, in the name of worship service what we are ‘socialized’ to accept a particular format ( 30 minute singing, one special song, announcements, video, a flavour of the month novelty, offering and a sermon). Where (and when) do we get to learn about Jesus? Our worship services are far from being a celebration of Jesus and remembrance of what he has done for us. The existing churches are no longer places where people can meet with Jesus and experience the presence of his power.

Tell me, when was the last time you heard someone say: “ I became a follower of Jesus at the Church service”. It is always the result of a camp, a retreat or an odd individual who has the evangelistic urge and thirst. Tell me when was the last time we heard a message from the gospels – Jesus’ teaching about money, love, anger, attitudes to life etc? Anyone who hears Jesus’ words and applies it finds wisdom. He had an amazing counter-perspectives to life itself. His message was radical, relevant and refreshing to life. I am pretty sure that Jesus’ would stand tall amidst the religious philosophers of our time.The tragedy is that the teachings of Jesus is the church’ best kept secret. We speak of so many things in Christian gatherings and/or programmes and we terribly miss out the real thing – the experience of meeting with Jesus.

Ever wondered why we have so little of follow-up material, let alone follow-up ministry! I have found it difficult to find gospel materials that can be given to people of other faiths ( I am sure you share the same experience). In the name of Christian ministry we sincerely produce magazines, tapes, CDs, books, television programmes largely for Christian consumption. More than being evangelistic tools, they aid in raising ministry support. Perhaps, this can explain why we largely cater to the religious needs of the Christian community. We are at best providing customer care services, if not being the at the help desk for christians who are focussed on how to keep their hands clean, their hearts pure and their mind empty. When will we find Christian material in secular bookstores that would engage the non-christian with truths about Jesus and offer an opportunity to consider following Jesus? Every time, I go to Landmark I pray that we will soon have some books at least in the religious section.! The sorry state of affairs only reflects our poor grasp of who Jesus is and what he wanted us to achieve in and through us.

Let me take the liberty of asking you this: Have you read all the four gospels? Are you familiar with Jesus’ teachings about life? Have you reflected on Jesus’ view on friendship, meaning of life, money, love of God, worship, family, attitudes to life etc. Believe me, it would be a life transforming experience to listen to Jesus’ counter-perspectives. In my own personal reading of the gospels, I am re-discovering the Jesus – whom I thought I knew. His words are good, true and beautiful. They instantly connect your heart with reality about God, yourself and the world around you. I am saddened that very few people are familiar with the four gospels – the only texts we have that talk about Jesus. It is so shocking that youth leaders, worship leaders have know so little about the gospel and worse, almost nothing of Jesus’ words are spoken during worship ( all the while talking about celebrating Jesus). The call is to go into the world and make disciples…. With the technology that we have today, “going” is easy. But… ” making disciples” is more difficult than ever before.

Jesus said, I have come to seek and save the lost. When will the “lost” meet Jesus and encounter love, grace and truth. The promise of Jesus is life abundant. Didn’t he tell us: “I have come so that you may have life and have it abundantly”? Following Jesus could radically change our attitudes, beliefs and character. Jesus words are LIFE. As one of his disciples recognized: Where will we go, in you are words of life. Why do we make it difficult to meet Jesus? Why do we stop people from encountering Jesus? Why do we deny people the privilege of following Jesus.

People are longing for life. Jesus gives LIFE (in capitals throughout) in all its fullness. It is a privilege to meet with Jesus and enjoy a sustained life-changing experience. It is important to meet with Jesus. You can’t follow Jesus if you don’t meet him or know his teaching. Following Jesus is exciting. To follow Jesus means to live life fully, for in Him there is light, life and love. The call is to become his disciples. That means to deny…ourselves, strip ourselves – of an upgraded version of colonial Christianity, the commercial trappings of cultural Christianity, the comfort-zone of contemporary Christianity and take up the cross – and follow Jesus. Such a new kind of Christian is the need of the hour.

The new kind of christian/s need to be the emerging church – a group of people bonded by God’s love, (re) shaped by the grace of our lord Jesus and whose hearts are knitted by the communion of the holy spirit.

p.s: I realize that we need to discuss further on the relevance of church, particularly the role and function of the church. I believe that the (re)emerging new christians need to collectively discuss the nature of their corporate faith expression. Wisdomtree invites you to participate in such discussion.

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