Wednesday, May 21, 2008


My self imposed goal at the moment is to ensure that I continue to find time to read. So over the last few months I have been creating the space to do just that. At the moment I am reading a book called 'Everything Must Change' by Brian McLaren. The blurb on the back says this ' If you are hungry for a fresh vision of what it means to be a person of faith, Everything Must Change applies the good news of Jesus to a world in need, igniting a revolution of hope that can change everything. Beginning with you. Beginning now.'

Change is a challenge that often makes us all feel uncomfortable yet at the same time is an inevitable part of all our lives. From the very day we are born we are changing and learning to adapt to the new circumstances that we constantly find ourselves in.

But so often we find the church doing the opposite of this, resisting change at every opportunity always appearing to be convinced that the 'fashion' it advocates will once again be in vogue. Whilst reading the first couple of chapters of the book I mention I was struck by the following paragraph.

"At that moment, I realized this man saw clearly what I had begun to see: that religion, even the religion we are committed to and in which we have found God and purpose and meaning and truth, can become captive to a colossal distortion. It can become a benign and passive chaplaincy to a failing and dysfunctional culture, the religious public relations department for an inadequate and destructive ideology. It can forego being a force of liberation and transformation and instead become a source of domestication, resignation, pacification and distraction"

This is the problem we face as churches, we have taken the radical life changing message of Jesus Christ wrapped it up in new packaging and in doing so misled others and ourselves as to the real identity of the contents. Worse than that we often then ask others to continue selling the product in the same packaging even though we know the truth.

Being a follower of Christ is not about conforming to a cultural identity it is in fact the opposite, it is about being counter cultural. It is about becoming part of an agenda of radical change. Constantly having to readjust our circumstance to make sense of what being a follower of Jesus means to the circumstance we find ourselves in.

The function of the church is not to maintain a comfortable haven in a world of change but to equip followers of Christ in their role as agitators and revolutionaries of hope. It is an uncomfortable job but one to which we are all called. Christ came not to develop an institution but to show us what God was like and to work with us to bring God's kingdom for all. If we too want join in that work to recognise the call of Christ then we cannot get away from the fact that indeed 'Everything Must Change'.