Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Civilized And The Barbaric

The civilized build shelters and invite God to stay with them; barbarians move with God wherever He chooses to go. The civilized Christian has a routine; the barbarian disciple has a mission. The civilized believer knows the letter of the law; the barbarian disciple lives by the spirit of the law. The religiously civilized love tradition; the barbarian spirit loves challenges. The civilized are satisfied with ritual; barbarians live and thrive in the mystical. For the civilized disciple, religion provides stability and certainty; for the barbarian, a life in God is one of risk and mystery.

And maybe a little insanity. There's no way to escape that barbarians can appear out of their minds. No reasonable person would ever fully follow God everywhere He calls. God is simply unreasonable.

No matter how we try to spin the story, the Bible is filled with tribes of irrational people. . .
The Barbarian Way, by Erwin McManus

Sandy and I arrived home around 11 last night to a house full of our son Josh's friends; they are all twenty-somethings. I changed out of my "Big Eddy Club" acceptable attire into my "real world" jeans, lay down on the cool, ceramic tile floor of our kitchen, and began to talk with several of these intelligent and conversant young adults. Everyone should be blessed with such a privilege -- the conversation was inspiring. Their passionate hearts love God. If you listen to what they are saying, you will find that they are not caught up in the trivial pursuits of the modern day church: comfort, wealth, and prestige.

I think some questions need to be asked, "Are they the reviving breath of God's Spirit during this Laodicean Church Age? Is the fact that they are clearly either hot or cold a blessing not a curse? Wasn't it Jesus who said that lukewarmness made him want to vomit(Revelation 3:15)? Are their extremes a sign of God's activity rather than the falling away of a generation?

In the last 8-10 years I have been greatly encouraged with what I see in the hearts of the younger generation -- the twenty-to-thirty somethings. A host of many others believe a revolution is definitely under way. Listen once again to McManus,

Two thousand years ago God started a revolt against the religion He started. So don't ever put it past God to cause a groundswell movement against churches and Christian institutions that bear His name. If He is willing to turn Judaism upside down, don't think for a moment our institutions are safe from a divine revolt. I am convinced that even now there are multitudes of followers of Jesus Christ who are sick and tired of the church playing games and playing down the call of God . . . I am convinced that there is an uprising in the works and that no one less than God is behind it. Anyone who can picture Jesus as the great Advocate of tradition is doing some serious doctoring of biblical history. Jesus was anything but the poster child for the status quo.

The young adults I talked with have a sense of God calling them to a radical, out of the box adventure. Callings so unconventional that as we talked and they laid out their dreams, they would finish and then say, "But I know that's kind of ridiculous. Isn't it?"

No. Nothing I heard was "ridiculous." Well, actually, all of it was ridiculous, risky, dreamy, and godly! I just had to pass on the good news to my friends. The future of Christ's Church is looking bright . . . and barbaric!

1 comment:

  1. Bill -
    Saturday, I sat and read McManus and read this exact same quote. It rings so true. So much of what he wrote is exactly what I am feeling and I am glad you see this in the younger crowd. They are turning away from "religion" and the duties it requires and turning toward the Liberator who brings great freedom.