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I was reading Pete Wilson’s blog today at Without Wax and he was highlighting an excerpt from Michael Spencer’s book, Mere Churchianity. Please stop by Pete’s blog and join in the discussion.
When I had visited Pete’s blog this morning I hadn’t realized who the author of the book was because I have always known Michael Spencer as the Internet Monk. I have enjoyed Michael’s blog as supported by my linking his site in my blog roll. I haven’t been spending much time in blog land this spring so I was unaware that Michael had passed away until I read Pete’s post and made the connection to the person behind the Internet Monk blog. It was a surreal moment.
When I arrived home this evening I picked up my Nook and downloaded the book. I want to share a portion of what Michael shares in his book that resonates with me:
There’s no way to keep going on this adventure of making Jesus my only Lord and God without the community of Jesus around me, attempting the same project. None of us can do this alone.
What I need is a personal transformation by the real Christ, not the one that is manufactured by organized Christianity. I need to be changed by the Jesus who never agrees to be quiet and cooperative. I also need a movement of culture-resisting, church suspicious rebels and Jesus-followers who have taken the same view of religion that Jesus took in His scorching denouncements of religious phoniness.
I’m swimming in a sea of mediocrity, worshiping in a church captivated by consumerism, and deeply affected by a skewed view of God that the bible would call petty idolatry. My life frequently sucks, and I sometimes wonder why Jesus doesn’t send me a note asking whose holy book I’ve been reading. I need a ragtag family of Jesus-shaped disciples to pull me out when I’m floundering and teach me how to swim with the Lord of the universe in these putrid and dangerous cultural waters.
I need to read and hear the Bible taught with the passionate integrity of Jesus, not the manipulation and misrepresentation of modern Christianity-lite. I need a commitment to the Bible that is unapologetically Jesus centered. I don’t need to hear about a magic book of life principles for suburban success.
I need some truthful talk – not safely scripted chitchat – about what it means to follow Jesus. I want a place where I am allowed to raise my questions and verbalize my struggles, a place where I can mess up and be prayed for, and I want to be able to stumble and still be accepted on the team. I need to see and know real human beings who have walked the path of hard choices and hard times in order to remain faithful to Jesus.
I need a cadre of friends who pray like Jesus, who step across the lines to include outcasts, and who open the Lord’s Table to those Jesus invited to that table. I need fellow students who hold the ancient faith of the church in their minds and the mission of Jesus in their hearts.
The only comment that I have for that passage in the book is, ‘Amen’.