Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tangible quotes

Here are my highlights (or things I wanted to remember) from The Tangible Kingdom. Sorry it's long. I tried to trim it down, but... you know. Hopefully my lowlights won't be quite as long.

** p. xxii – “…create new places of belonging, benevolence, and blessing…”

p. 27 – “We used to be told that the number one indicator of a new church’s success is how many people they have when they start. Now we say, the number one problem you’ll have will be based on bringing too many people with you. Why? Because a good majority of the Christian world is unconsciously a Milo or a Mitten (his cats). They have good hearts, but they hate change, they’ve gotten used to being provided for, and many will take too much of your time and energy to try to keep on the mission with you.”

** p. 30 – “We must realize that slight tweaks, new music, creative lighting, wearing hula shirts, shorts, and flip-flops won’t make doing church more attractive. Church must not be the goal of the gospel anymore. Church should not be the focus of our efforts or the banner we hold up to explain what we’re about. Church should be what ends up happening as a natural response to people wanting to follow us, be with us, and be like us as we are following the way of Christ.

** p. 34 – “Would it be okay to consider that there are degrees of missionality? That some will be sent to cross the blue seas, cross cultures, and go to the far reaches of paganism in order to find the one lost sheep, while others may just need to be sent across the street? Is it possible that God doesn’t need nor ask everyone to start something new? Is it possible that God needs millions of leaders to care for a host of Christians who won’t be able to make the turn into new forms of church? I think so… I think we must. The transition within the U.S. church doesn’t require that we all travel on the same ship, but we must all sail on the same sea.

All of chapter 6 is good – POSTURE.

p. 38 – “Missional has an inseparable twin. It’s called “incarnational.” The root meaning of incarnational means ‘any person or thing serving as the type or embodiment of a quality or concept.’ Specifically, it means to ‘embody in the flesh.’ John 1:14 gives us the picture: ‘And the Word (Jesus) became flesh and made his dwelling among us.’ The missional part was Jesus leaving his Father’s side in the heavens and coming to us in the form of a human. The incarnational part was how he took on flesh and lived with us. Said another way, missional sentness is focused on leaving and everything related to going, but incarnational represents how we go and what we do as we go.”

p. 39 – “This (previous) is where a missionary starts. And the first thing that must change is our posture.”

p. 39 – “Words communicate what we know; posture represents what we believe and feel. Therefore, posture is the most important part of relationship and communication. Posture shows true emotion and the intent of our heart.”

p. 41 – ”In North America, people don’t have any sense of the true Christian message any more because the face of that message looks so unlike the founder. Christianity is now almost impossible to explain, not because the concepts are intelligible, but because the living, moving, speaking examples of our faith don’t line up with the message. Our poor posture overshadows the most beautiful story and reality the world has ever known.”

** p. 42 – “What makes the gospel good news isn’t the concept, but the real-life person who has been changed by it.”

** p. 44 – “Henri Nouwen puts it like this: ‘The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not-knowing, not-curing, not-healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is the friend who cares.”

** p. 46 – “Our main contention is that what drew people to Jesus, surprisingly, was not his message. It was him. His face, the softness in his voice, the whimsical look he gave the children, how he laughed, and how he lived. His message repelled people. Many people who were drawn to him as a man would leave after he let them in on the message. This is quite a switch for most of us. We try to draw others by soft-pedaling the message and end up repelling them by how we live our lives.”

pp. 52-54 – The kingdom values of Sacrificial Community, Confrontation, and Inclusive Community…

p. 54 – “We really don’t need more converts; we need people who are willing to act upon the basics that Jesus taught. Things like caring for the poor and oppressed, the hurting, and the confused.”

p. 61 ff – The three paradigms of Westernism, Easternism, and Postmodernism. (good)

p. 67 – “Remember, there’s one thing that is just as important as truth, and maybe even more important. That is whether or not someone is willing or ready to receive truth.”

p. 89 – “…blessing, as we have said, means the ‘life of God flowing tangibly onto his people.’”

p. 90 – “What was the gospel? What is the gospel? It is the tangible life of God flowing into every nook and cranny of our everyday life.”

p. 101 – “Where we have people, and vision, and a common call (especially if that call is from God), we have to commit at some level to structures, even if we’re helping coach the neighborhood soccer team.”

** p. 101 – Question to church planting candidates who don’t feel structure is necessary: “What happens if it works?... You know, what if all your spontaneous, natural, relational, nonreligious ways affect someone’s heart and they want to join in? And what happens if that keeps working the same way for hundreds of people?”

p. 109 – “The Scriptures call for people to trust, work with, respect, give to, and even submit to godly leaders.”

p. 110 – “Most pastors we work with would love to lead from the front instead of from above, from the streets instead of from the office. But they don’t because so many people still expect them to keep the spiritual vending machine spitting out all the goodies!”

*****p. 111 – “So, who are the missional people? They are the individuals committed to forming their character and lifestyle after those of Christ and who are compelled to live out their faith in the context of a community.”

**p. 112 – Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Life Together): “He who loves his dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial.”

p. 118 – “I’d get questions like, ‘But what happens if someone from the clubs comes in and sees pagan Pete playing his tuba to ‘This is the Air I Breathe’ and yet the night before he saw Pete smoking a joint? Won’t that send the wrong message?” My response is, “What is the message you want to convey?” If you want to convey that someone who is up on the church stage has to prove a certain level of spiritual stability, then fine. That is your choice. But if you want to convey that your community is a place where anybody, in any phase of spiritual curiosity, can be in an environment in which God can touch their hearts, then you may try something like opening up your music group to include some Sojourners.”

p. 140 – Jesus prayer from John 17:15: “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”

p. 144 – Selfishness is the enemy of “Leaving.” Fear is the enemy of “Living Among.” Arrogance is the enemy of “Listening.” Expectations are the enemy of “Loving.”

p. 148 – “We believe that whenever you see a group of people who find a rhythm or balance among communion, community, and mission, you will always find the Kingdom. It will be tangible!” (good section on the primary spheres of Incarnational Community).

p. 151 – “We win out over individualism by discipling togetherness, through gentle confrontation, and by eliminating spiritual services that allow people to remain autonomous or invisible.”

p. 151 – “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” (Mother Teresa)

p. 167 – How they do “Bible and Discussion Times”:

Stretch out your right hand as far as you can. Next, measure the distance between your thumb and pinky. Read that much scripture only. Preferably a contained story or idea. Like the second chapter of James, or a parable, or one of the Psalms like chapter 23. After you have read the scripture, ask these five questions and let people answer as they feel led:

1). What did you like about what we just read?

2). What didn’t you like?

3). Was there anything you didn’t understand?

4). What did you learn about God?

5). Regardless of where your faith is at right now, if you were to apply what we learned about God to something in your life this week, what would that look like?”

p. 168 – “Church gatherings were never the intended goal; they were the natural result of people finding others who were living their alternative Kingdom story. The goal of our missional life is not to grow churches. The goal of church is to grow missionaries. The goal of the gospel is not to get people to church. The result of the gospel is that people will find each other and gather because of the deep meaning of a common experience.”

p. 168 – Hebrews 10:24-25 explanation…

** p. 173 – “True transformation happens only when God’s heart becomes a habit in our normal Christian community.”


grace said...

That's pretty good for a book you didn't really like.

dan h. said...

Hey, that'll be enough outta you. ;)

My problems with this book had more to do with the author's tone and attitude. And they were up-front about it. In fact, they were so upfront about a lot of things that pretty soon I started to doubt their sincerity.

There are a few other problems I have with them. I've already written those posts, but for now they are stored in draft mode - because I've been in a nasty hole for awhile.

And my opinion of this book doesn't really matter anyway, since I'm just an old sonofabitch who doesn't ride a Harley, live in a city or suburb, have my office at Starbucks, and I draw a salary from a church (you know, because I don't gouge people's wallets with the "Christian" books I write). On that note - just once I'd like to see a "christian" author who said church staff shouldn't be paid - and they were doing their writing FOR FREE too. Oh, but I guess the important people get their books for free anyway.

See, this is why I haven't written much about this book (and some others). I'm a grump. Sorry. Nothing personal.