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content from victoria, bc, may 28-30, 2010

content from victoria, bc, may 28-30, 2010

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  • 1. evangelism and transformation in a secular society
  • 2. A bit about my story... between two worlds (and a request)
  • 3. In your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good 1 Peter behavior in Christ may be 3:15-17 ashamed of their slander.
  • 4. A story about a book-release party…
  • 5. Hi Brian (do you prefer to be called brian?) this is april, the harpist from your book signing party. i read your book this morning. it caused me to think a lot about a lot of things. i actually would like to tell you about it, but im afraid this e mail will be very lengthy...
  • 6. i don't want to burden you (i understand you listen to a lot of people every day!) so im not sure... but i really need to talk to someone and i dont know, I just felt good about reading your book and about talking to you... and I cant think of anyone else i can talk to about religion..
  • 7. i know this probably sounds psychotic considering i just met you last night, and under what circumstances i met you... i dont know. im nervous to say anything at all, really... well, ill try to make it quick and you dont have to respond, probably more im just writing for myself... or not... i don't know. in any case, please dont feel any pressure to respond. to respond.
  • 8. Q: What do you see going on - on a deeper level - in these words from April? you dont have to respond, probably more im just writing for myself... or not... i don't know. in any case, please dont feel any pressure to respond. to respond.
  • 9. like i said to you last night, recently i have been feeling like I want to become a christian, and maybe even start going to church and stuff. but there have been two problems: 1)whenever i go to any church, or read any church literature I change my mind
  • 10. 2)my boyfriend is a christian. he belongs to a non-denomenational church in the area, and its very liberal, and hes very liberal, but even despite this, whenever we talk about religion, i feel nauseated. i get so angry (and i dont know why, because i havent had any overly negative experiences with the church) and i get these horrible visions of brainwashing and the like.
  • 11. the bad thing is, his church IS NOT LIKE THAT. i KNOW im completely unjustified in what i feel. but i cant help it. and every time i talk with him about it (which is usually when im feeling closer to some kind of conversion) i leave feeling worse.
  • 12. this is sort of what happened last night. while i was waiting for him to get back from mass with his parents, i read a couple chapters of your book. ...we were talking about it and i told him about reading the book and everything. i really opened up about all that i had been feeling and he was really wonderful with it...
  • 13. he didnt act super happy and didnt ask too many questions...
  • 14. he didnt act super happy and didnt ask too many questions... Q: Why was it important that he not “act super happy” and not ask “too many questions?”
  • 15. he didnt act super happy and didnt ask too many questions... he knows how to handle me (the same way i meant how you "handle" your readers... which im still not sure on, by the way), but inevitably, eventually, we got into an argument about it.
  • 16. its so frustrating for me, because i see so much of what i say is... blown out of proportion, or something. but then i also feel like i dont owe christianity any breaks and that it deserves the tough microscope i put it under. and i dont know if i really believe that. i also know a lot of what i say to him (my boyfriend) is rooted in pride (perhaps my biggest downfall as a human being)- meaning that i dont want to let him "win" the christianity argument, or whatever.
  • 17. that is so messed up because our relationship isnt like that, and i dont think im really like that about anything else…
  • 18. when i was reading your book today at certain parts i felt so good, and at certain times i actually felt like i was about to cry, because it felt like something was really getting through to me. but i feel like theres something holding me back, theres some sort of defense mechanism in me that tells me not to believe any of it.
  • 19. i guess thats probably why i asked you what i did last night. i need to make sure that im not being "lured in", just to find out once i go ahead and believe that a whole bunch of other stuff comes along with it that i cant feel comfortable with,
  • 20. and then my whole person will change and ill become closed minded and bigoted and brainwashed and everything bad... i just cant feel that i can trust it. i dont know what to do.
  • 21. oh well. at the very least, i really enjoyed reading your book. i thought it was really funny (in a good way) and really insightful, and it was clear you really understood how a persons mind in that situation works.
  • 22. it met me at every corner. that was frustrating, in a way, but in a healthy way, like eating veggies or soemthing. ill try to write a review of it online when i get a chance. hope you had a good easter. - april
  • 23. Several months passed with questions about … the Bible … Genocide in the Bible … How Christians treat certain types of people … And then this …
  • 24. …Also, (on a completely different note) I remember … someone talked to me about some kind of service on Wednesday nights that they thought harp music would be really good for (continuous, contemplative music, I think she said ). I know it's far in advance, but I just wanted to offer to play for that whenever, once I get back to Maryland in September.
  • 25. I don't want to push myself on the church, but more and more the idea of playing for and through God has sounded appealing, and I remember how nice that service sounded. So if that sounds like something you all might be interested in, I'd love to volunteer to do it. Take care- april
  • 26. Then … Her first visit to the prayer service … An invitation to her senior recital … An invitation to play at church on a Sunday …
  • 27. hi brian, I just got up from a _three and a half_ hour nap (taken immediately after i returned home from church). i was thinking about emailing you before i fell asleep because i wanted to tell you how much i enjoyed your message today. you are such a wonderful speaker, but on top of that, WHATYOU SAY is just so incredible- and im not just talking about this sunday.
  • 28. ill never forget the things you said at the first [prayer service] i attended. You were speaking about how everything in life has meaning. it was incredible. im sure you know this already, but you have such a wonderful gift.
  • 29. i had a dream during my nap that i wanted to tell you about. Im not one to get really excited by dreams or anything like that, and i feel sort of weird telling you, but i just have to. im not really sure of all the circumstances surrounding the dream, like why exactly you and i were talking about god and music, but we were. so for a long time, thats all the dream was.
  • 30. my parents walked in and you met my parents, and my grandfather (who is dead, has been for awhile) walked through as well.
  • 31. for some reason, out of the blue (though in the dream,it didnt feel like it was out of the blue) you poured FREEZING cold water on my head and said the baptism thing ("in the name of the father, the son," etc, etc). it was dripping all down my face, everywhere... so much water, and it felt so good, and i just started to cry and saying over again "thank you. thank you so much."
  • 32. i said to you "i have been thinking about this for awhile, but wasn't sure i was ready", and you said "youve been ready for a long time" and gave me a hug.
  • 33. then i guess there was sort of a dream segue type thing, and i was sitting with my friend kate, who at the last minute cancelled out of going to my recital. i was sitting with her giving her the cold shoulder because she had missed it and it hurt my feelings.
  • 34. then i remembered: wait a second, theres no turning back now, jesus wouldnt have done this, and you have no right to. and i just apologized to kate and siad "its okay... it went well and i understand why you couldnt make it, and of course our friendship is just as strong as always." 
  • 35. then i woke up. i dont know... it just really affected me, ive felt like ive been on the verge of tears (happy tears) since i woke up. thank you for helping me bring about such a change in my life. april
  • 36. How can we be there for people like April?
  • 37. evangelism and transformation in a secular society
  • 38. With Kindness From “Songs For a Revolution of Hope, Vol. 1: everything must change.” Words and music by Brian McLaren. 2007, Brian McLaren. Publishing, Revolution of Hope Music Group SESAC 2007. All rights reserved. Registered with CCLI.
  • 39. Christ has no body here but ours. No hands, no feet, here on earth but ours. Ours are the eyes though which he looks On this world With Kindness
  • 40. Ours are the hands through which he works. Ours are the feet on which he moves. Ours are the voices through which he speaks To this world With Kindness.
  • 41. Through our touch, our smile, our listening ear, Embodied in us, Jesus is living here. Let us go now Filled with the Spirit Into this world With Kindness
  • 42. Christ has no body here but ours. No hands, no feet, here on earth but ours. Ours are the eyes though which he looks On this world With Kindness
  • 43. Ours are the hands through which he works. Ours are the feet on which he moves. Ours are the voices through which he speaks To this world With Kindness.
  • 44. Through our touch, our smile, our listening ear, Embodied in us, Jesus is living here. Let us go now Filled with the Spirit Into this world With Kindness
  • 45. evangelism and transformation in a secular society
  • 46. a poem by sam shoemaker
  • 47. I stand by the door. I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out, The door is the most important door in the world -- It is the door through which men walk when they find God.
  • 48. They creep along like blind men, With outstretched, groping hands. Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door, Yet they never find it… So I stand by the door.
  • 49. The most tremendous thing in the world Is for men to find that door - the door to God. The most important thing any man can do Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands, And put it on the latch -
  • 50. The latch that only clicks And opens to the man’s own touch. Men die outside that door As starving beggars die, On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter - Die for want of what is within their grasp.
  • 51. They live, on the other side of it - live because they have not found it. Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it, And open it, and walk in, and find Him… So I stand by the door.
  • 52. There’s no use my going way inside, and staying there, When so many are still outside and they, as much as I, Crave to know where the door is. And all that so many ever find Is only the wall where a door ought to be.
  • 53. Go in, great saints, go all the way in - Go way down into the cavernous cellars, And way up into the spacious attics - It is a vast, roomy house, this house where God is.
  • 54. Go into the deepest of hidden casements, Of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood. Some must inhabit those inner rooms, And know the depths and heights of God. And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
  • 55. Sometimes I take a deeper look in, Sometimes venture in a little farther; But my place seems closer to the opening… So I stand by the door.
  • 56. There is another reason why I stand there. Some people get part way in and become afraid Lest God and the zeal of His house devour them. For God is so very great, and asks all of us. And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia
  • 57. And want to get out. “Let me out!” they cry. And the people way inside terrify them more. Somebody must be by the door to tell them that they are spoiled For the old life, they have seen too much: Once taste God, and nothing but God will do any more.
  • 58. Somebody must be watching for the frightened Who seek to sneak out just where they came in, To tell them how much better it is inside. The people too far in do not see how near these are To leaving - preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
  • 59. Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door,But would like to run away. So for them, too, I stand by the door. I admire the people who go way in. But I wish they would not forget how it was Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
  • 60. The people who have not yet even found the door, Or the people who want to run away again from God. You can go in too deeply, and stay in too long, And forget the people outside the door.
  • 61. As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place, Near enough to God to hear Him, and know He is there, But not so far from men as not to hear them, And remember they are there, too.Where? Outside the door -- Thousands of them, millions of them.
  • 62. But - more important for me - One of them, two of them, ten of them. Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch. So I shall stand by the door and wait For those who seek it. “I had rather be a door-keeper…”
  • 63. So I stand by the door. (Samuel Moor Shoemaker, 1893 - 1963)
  • 64. So I stand by the door. (Samuel Moor Shoemaker, 1893 - 1963)
  • 65. evangelism and transformation in a secular society
  • 66. 1. The relational factor: Count conversations, not just conversions. See evangelism as a relational dance, not a win/lose conquest.
  • 67. In many places today, people will not become Christians unless they meet and get to know a Christian and Christian community which inspires them with curiosity and hope. This is similar to the first and second centuries … Many misconceptions must be overcome - and that can only be done by authentic, living examples of Christian discipleship and community.
  • 68. 2. The narrative factor: It’s about their story, your story, and God’s story.
  • 69. When Christian faith presents itself as a system of belief, postmodern people are often skeptical. But when it presents itself as a redemptive story and a chosen way of life within that story, they see something unique and hopeful.
  • 70. 3. The communal factor: The greatest hermeneutic of the gospel is a community that lives by it. (Newbigin) Our churches must be converted into missional communities of disciple-making. Belonging often precedes believing and becoming.
  • 71. How can we create safe places? What makes our churches unsafe?
  • 72. 4. The process or journey factor: Instead of “evangelism/follow-up” or “decision/discipleship,” think disciple- making -- a holistic process, not an isolated conversion event. The process can include events or milestones … such as baptism, commissioning for ministry, etc.
  • 73. How do we integrate processes with milestones … Patience with urgency … Exploration with decision and more exploration …
  • 74. 5. The Holy Spirit factor Believe that God is already “out there” and at work with everyone (either trying to get in, or to get out!) … not just “in here” in the church.
  • 75. Helping people interpret their spiritual experiences … as “spiritual consultants.” Helping people have spiritual experiences … charismatic and contemplative and activist pathways.
  • 76. 6. The learning factor See evangelism as part of your discipleship, not just the other person’s. Remember Cornelius (Acts 10-11).
  • 77. How can we experience conversion through evangelism?
  • 78. 7. The service factor: The words of the gospel must be accompanied by the deeds and spirit of the gospel … deeds of service and a servant’s heart.
  • 79. How might our people serve their neighbors?
  • 80. 8. The missional factor: See evangelism as recruiting people for God’s mission on earth, not just souls for heaven.
  • 81. Might we rediscover the power and scope of the gospel?
  • 82. Our contemporary gospel is primarily INFORMATION ON HOW TO GO TO HEAVEN AFTER YOU DIE with a large footnote about increasing your personal happiness and success through God. with a small footnote about character development with a smaller footnote about spiritual experience with a smaller footnote about social/global transformation.
  • 83. self church world
  • 84. world church self
  • 85. Nation? Religion? Ethnic group? church self A dangerous diversion
  • 86. World vision = The Gospel of the Kingdom of God church self