I am sitting writing this blog post on a glorious summer morning, in the garden of a beautiful house on the Island of Mull
This idyllic and very quiet spot has given me the opportunity to contemplate.
I have been particularly thinking about the new wine conference I went to last week and the two books I am reading at the moment.Tim Chester's "A Meal with Jesus" and "Right Here ,RIght Now by Alan HIrsch and Lance Ford
TIm Chester's book focuses especially on the gospels and demonstrates again and again just how much time Jesus invested in relationships,with all sorts of different people but especially the poor and needy.It is a book well worth reading
I have read a great deal that Alan Hirsch has read over the last few years,I think he has something profoundly important to say to the church in the western world,so when I heard he was speaking at new wine I was determined to go.
I was not disappointed!
I suppose much of what he said Is simple ,at least in theory.Hirsch believes we have the wrong ideas about Jesus. This has happened over many years ,even many centuries
We have forgotten( largely because we neglect the gospels ) what Jesus is like,the people he spent time with ,the things he said etc and because of this we need in Alan's words to reJesus the church, as the church in the west has ceased to look like Jesus of the gospels and has instead made Jesus in it's own image
Alan suggested we had at times begun to look more like Pharisees than Christians and reminded us that" Christianity minus Christ equals religion"
As I thought about the things that Christians have got really passionate about in the last 30 years or so ,the debates that have divided church from church and Christian from Christian things like worship styles or music spring to mind, and not so much passion or discussion about how to be better followers of Jesus so I thought there was more than a touch of truth to what he said
Since spiritual authority comes from the ability to live your message we are in trouble
I will write more about HIrsch's suggested solution to this in the next post