A Conversation along the Way

If you don’t know Will, I wish you did.  He’s the real deal.  He’s a young man who puts it all into being authentic.  He lives the Kingdom, and he loves the Lord with all his heart, mind, soul, and strength.  And I love the way he thinks.  Feel free to add to the conversation.  Just post a comment.  I can’t wait to learn from you!

Will :

I have a question for you – last summer at (Camp Lake) Louise you said that you weren’t “all about Rob Bell” – and the statement confused me, because I value Rob Bell and his ideas. Recently one of my friends brought to my attention the Emergent church, and the false attitudes they hold (in his opinion). Is this why? What is your opinion on that?

Max:

What I was trying to say about Rob Bell at camp is what I was trying to say about being careful who we imprint on. It wouldn’t matter who we were talking about – Reinhold Niebuhr, Desmond Tutu, Billy Graham, or me. I am chasing after Jesus. These other folks are, too. But they aren’t Jesus. I don’t want to be like Rob Bell, or Billy Graham, or anybody else on this earth. I want to be like Jesus.

I am not afraid of the Emergent Church – it is what it is. I am not afraid of the far-right lunatic fringe either. They are what they are. I can learn from anyone. I learned a lot of good stuff from Rob Bell’s “Velvet Elvis” and “Jesus Wants to Save Christians”. I learn from other disciples all the time (from you, for example). So what I am getting at is that although I am often in agreement with many human beings, they are my fellow disciples. I learn from their ideas but I don’t strive to be exactly like them. Jesus, however, is my rabbi – the one who I am trying my best to be more and more like. I think Rob Bell would agree with that statement.

BTW – don’t be afraid of these “doctrine-Nazi’s” who talk about everyone who is different from them as though they are the boogieman. If the Emergent movement is of God, then it will stand. If not, it will fade away like every other movement that wasn’t of God. God can handle that. God doesn’t need a bodyguard. Emo’s not my gig, but neither is Sunday morning televangelism and in-your-face rigid “Crazi-anity”. I actually think the Emergents serve an important purpose of reminding the institutional church that God doesn’t need any one church or denomination to carry out God’s purpose. They may prove to be more prophet than long-term movement.  Part of me says that Emergent is still just another twist on “feed ME” faith. That’s just not my gig. I feed myself just fine, and I am looking to reach the people who are disconnected from God’s Kingdom. Time will tell what they and the rest of us turn out to be. Be not afraid. Just keep chasing Jesus. God can handle it.

Will:

Okay, thanks- I know God will let His truth survive. But I don’t know what to think when there are these allegations that some people I consider to be men of God are off-base. And it’s not just doctrinal – I want to know why Mars Hill, etc. is so popular, so that I can be more effective at ministry. If they’re doing something right, but not all the way right, how can we use similar strategies to help evangelism?

Max:

If people spent much less time trying to prove how right they are (as though that is proof of salvation) and a whole lot more time trying to be/do good with their lives and hands and treasures, the world would be a lot closer to the Kingdom of God. That was kind of the point in the Good Samaritan story. The priest and Levite were right to pass by the man left for dead (that was the move laid out as proper within a segment of the orthodoxy of that time), but it was the Samaritan who did “good”. You can tell from the way Jesus tells the story, which one he sees as the more important – the closer to God’s heart. Dude, I get called all kinds of things by all kinds of people, and it doesn’t change the reality of what is and what is not. God is…the rest of us just try to keep up. Knowing that young people like you are out there trying to sort through all the crazy junk to find the Living God – THAT makes it all worthwhile.
Every new movement or way of understanding has met with some vile and often violent responses from people who stood to lose something. It’s still true today. Doesn’t change the reality of what is and what is not. Don’t be afraid of crazy people. Most of them are just rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic of the institutional church or whatever narrow sect they hand out with. They are just a distraction, and distractions are how Satan keeps you from storming the Gate of Hades with Jesus. Keep reaching the lost. God will work out the rest.

Will:

Yeah, you’re right. Making sure I’m on track with Jesus, and bringing other people to His feet, is what counts.
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