Monday, October 24, 2005

Just more like Jesus

Had a thoroughly enjoyable Forge get-together with my fellow interns last Friday night. The once-a-month gatherings are always a totally invaluable time, just hearing each other's stories, journeying together and all those other nice words and phrases we like to use.

It was so good though on Friday to really get re-inforced something that I've totally always known, but realised afresh again on Friday night. We were discussing the worth of theological education, and other various things that we all 'do', things that often make us in no way more or less Christian. A friend just said it so simply, if it doesn't help us to become more like Jesus, then whats the point?

Now I mean how simple is that? Everybody knows that all crap aside, the whole aim and purpose of being a Christian is to be more and more like Jesus. Now I've preached on that many a time before, and brought it up in many a conversation, but I just couldn't get the sheer simplicity of that message out of my head for the next couple of days. It was that splinter in the back of my mind...

I get together regularly with some good mates to hold each other accountable in life stuff, and we're currently reading through The Shaping of Things to Come, the best book on mission, evangelism, missional church I've read. If you haven't read it, get onto it. Anywho, I was thinking about how we're all about talking about mission, and wanting to see what we can learn from this book and such, but really, if we truly learnt what it was to live like Jesus (about which most of us really have little idea) then, and only then, would we learn what it is to be missional.

Reading books, writing and reading blogs, going to church, going to conferences and all that stuff we do, is meaningless unless it helps us to become more like Jesus.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to have missed it Digs...a ride in an ambulance and a few days in hospital tend to stuff up your week...

I'm reading through shaping again with my interns. The more I read it the more I realise it has some mighty big holes in it. For all the talk about keeping Jesus central, there is remarkably little discussion about who Jesus was and how to interpret his teachin and life for our times. Instead, Frist and Hirsch jump straight into talking mission and then a whole lot more about church.

It seems like they assume being involved in mission will somehow give you some magical awareness of who Jesus is. I think true discipleship and nurture needs to be more intentional than that. As it stands, I think it is a recipe for burn-out and repeats many of the same mistakes of the traditional/established church that they criticise so heavily.

Anonymous said...

Is that the younger Jesus or the 30yr old Jesus- or doesn't it matter or we know more about 30+ yr old Jesus so thats more what we have to go by.

Has our 'time come'? what was Jesus doing until he reached 30? preparing? (not sugesting that theological education nessicarily fulfills this). I'm not yet 30- does that mean anything or matter?
agree with the general idea your getting at -but just some thoughts.

Anonymous said...

hey digs,
I Dig your flow mate. I reckon we can know the bible top to bottom but if its not changing the way we live our lives then whats the point?

Anonymous said...

I've found that theological education HAS brought me closer to Jesus. It's stretched my mind in ways that I could never have imagined and opened up new worlds of faith that I didn't even know existed.

While I don't think theological study is necessary, I would still higly recommend it, particulalry to people called to teach. I want the teachers at the school where I send my kids to be qualified, I want the mechanic that services my car to be qualified and I want whoever is teaching me about the Bible and Jesus to have some training too. Letting any old hack do any of these things (teach at school, fix my car, nurture my faith) is simply dangerous.

Anonymous said...

amen brother!
striving to be like Jesus - most vital thing ever!
everything else flows from it, hey?
i should read that book!

Anonymous said...

ps. interested to hear your response to matt's first comment!!!

a thought: jesus didn't go to theological college!
true he was God...
It's not NEEDED - if someone desperately desires to live a Christ like life, they will turn to the Bible and learn to do so. but it's always a bonus to learn from those more experienced and learned then yourself.

Digger said...

yeah weak excuse Glover!

On one hand, i see where you're coming from, but at the same time its not actually a book about Jesus...

I would refute my own point on that one by saying that as a matter of fact, all books on mission and church should start with (or perhaps be solely about) Jesus?

Perhaps a first chapter on that stuff, to give those of us without the privilege of heaps of learning about jesus a lens with which to view the rest of the book?

Its kinda funny considering the amount that Frosty preaches about Jesus.

I do think that being involved in mission does increase our breadth of understanding of who jesus is etc, but you're right, there does need to be more intentional levels than that.

Interesting thoughts mate.

Digger said...

I guess both Jesus' anon, I think his character and attitude would have been the same the whole way through, not just when he was doing his formal ministry.

John M said...

in response to Matt's comments on theological study, i agree to some extent but do not believe that i would need a piece of paper to show my "qualification". When it comes down to it i care that my mechanic can actually fix my car and do a good job, has had experience in fixing many cars and has learnt the best ways to do so, this does not mean that he did a course that told him how.

I don't really plan to go to a theological college at all, but i do intend to teach others, but i do plan to study, not at a college but on my time in my space. I do think there is a need to study and do theological study but i don't think that colleges are necessarily the way to go for all. I don't see the need to pay thousands of dollars to just study when i can go and find the books and discuss things with other people. I find my self dissatisfied with the Bible Colleges and what they offer.

I am also of the opinion that since i don't want to reach a bunch of upper class acedemic braniacs, that there isn't a great need for me to have a bit of paper, and feel that the life i live is more important than the argument i can give, for what better argument for God is there than to show his unconditional love.

lgarth said...

I'm one of the lay-leaders who trudges through the 40+ hr grind and while I understand you and hear you Johnman - I'd love to just say read your Bible and apply it and feel free to teach at will - I think it's great if you are teaching to have that insight from others who have studied it also. Some are lucky to come from a church environment where that flows naturally - others really only get these engaging and thought-provoking (and faith shaking) questions at college. Absolutely we should have ordained, trained ministers. Equally we should raise up the laypeople where they're at. If you're keen to teach, be a student is the best advice I have to give.
Finally misquoting Jerry Maguire and Lance Armstrong "It's not about the money".
If you're called to teach the word of God and the big issue to college is money then pray that God can open up the infinite resources and give you opportunity.
Judging by the smart things you've written in blogs I've read I reckon Bible Colleges would really suit you...
My 2c

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