Monday, February 22, 2016

Finishing phase four (pt. 2)

Today's post covers the second part of Phase Four in Jen Hatmaker's book 'Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity.' As I said previously, this part wasn't as interesting to me as the first part. Not that it isn't good, but this section deals more with the specifics of the church itself, working with denominations, and some discussion on the difference between modernism and postmodernism. Here are the highlights I gleaned from this section:

First off is this powerful little statement on doing ministry among, rather than over. Whew. Yes!
"'s easy to visit the bottom while our hearts remain higher up. That's just charity. It's a moment, not a permanent relocation. It is something entirely different to adopt the mind of Christ. That's when we don't just act lowly; we are lowly. Our minds are not safely secured up higher, awaiting our return after we're done patronizing those at the bottom."

She discusses the impact Matthew 25 and Isaiah 58 had on her. Some really good advice not only for this political season, but for all of us in all seasons (because it's so easy to get distracted) in doing what King David used to do periodically: Invite God to search his heart and any hidden motives he might have.
"The only thing worse than being ignorant is being ignorant of our own ignorance, when we don't even know what we don't know. What we do know is that 'the heart is deceitful' and can fool even its owner... but no circumstance gives us license to discard the essentials: love, mercy, compassion, justice. The means do not justify the end when it comes to God's kingdom. The means are everything; the end is secondary. We don't obtain godly results through selfishness, greed, corruption, ruthlessness; not through lying, misrepresenting, dividing, slandering; nor through neglect, apathy, ego, pride. If these patterns drive the manner in which we get from here to there, I don't care what it looks like when the dust settles; it's garbage."

...Unbelievers may not understand the nuances of our theology, but they know acting holy while injuring and offending others is repulsive."

The end of this section does have some really good thoughts on modernism vs. postmodernism, including this really simple and clear differentiation between the two:
"Modernism says 'I have all the answers, and so can you.' 
Postmodernism responds, 'I don't have all the answers, and neither do you.'"

I do have to admit that, while I was probably born more in the modern era, I have much more of a postmodern mind (I think). Not that that is good or bad, I'm just saying. That's also why I agree with Jen in that the average postmodern values seem to align perfectly with the gospel:
  • A sense of global community and care for suffering humanity
  • Respect for our earth and its resources
  • Authenticity valued over appearance
  • A passion for community and honest relationships
  • Responsibility and the rejection of consumerism
[This section on postmodernism also got me thinking that this may be why President Obama has been such a polarizing figure. Other than his skin color, he is probably the first postmodern-thinking President we have ever had. What makes perfect sense to him, and me, seems completely backwards to Modernists. Not that there aren't also legitimate reasons to disagree with him (or me), but the mind-set is completely different. That seems to explain a lot.]

Anyway, this was another good section. Now onto Phase Five of the book, which I think is the final one.