Friday, May 19, 2006

When Christ calls a man [sic], he bids him wake up!

MPJ over here has suggested a new way of doing evangelism (which he calls 'kata-angelism' = 'contrary news' not 'good news' (eu-angelism)), in which we highlight the cost of coming to Christ, telling would be converts that 'when Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die' (as Dietrich Bonhoeffer famously warned). Simultaneously, a genuine surprise for a generation so used to hearing that 'Coke adds life' and a slap on the wrist for any tendency towards prosperity gospelling (including even spiritualised varieties).

However, rather than appealing so directly to the masochistic self-hating tendencies so close to the surface for many people, I've been wondering whether an invitation to 'waking up' or 'growing up' mightn't capture more closely the dynamic of life in Christ. It's great living in a semi-dream world of childhood, incapable of real decision or consequence. But welcome to the real world, where wounds bleed, mistakes kill and love hurts. Welcome to the world where your decisions matter, where you can throw yourself into life with eyes open, pour yourself out for another, and live without the safety-net of a clouded, self-obsessed field of vision. Goodbye to nighttime fantasies (and illusory nightmares); hello to the world where tragedy is real but the hope of daylight lingers.

'Where the fear of death disappears, the fear of life disappears too.'


Anonymous said...

where fires truly burn buildings

michael jensen said...

But Byron: I didn't mean 'lay a guilt trip on people'... though a like your way forward.

I guess in what evangelism I have done and seen I feel the very real temptation to gild the lily for a quick sale... and yet I think it is actually a grave mistake to do so. It is not Christ's gospel we preach!

byron smith said...

Gilt lillies or a lil' guilty: either way we distract from Christ and his disturbingly, disarmingly disillusioning dissection of our distress.

Drew said...

You were given the right name byron - you're a poet.

I think both your thoughts, and MPJ's highlight aspects of Jesus' teaching - but is it right to push a way forward as the only way, or one way? And perhaps different emphases from different evangelists in the same way as different gifts? What leads a theologian to specialise in one particular area?

Your suggestion sounds a lot like baudrillard and 'the real' (of matrix fame...)