Happy Epiphany, PDX!
Epiphany. From a Greek adverb and a Greek noun, meaning "to appear upon". I wonder how we'd hack it if God actually appeared upon earth today, like a star or comet did in the sky 2K years ago, the way a newborn had done in humble beginnings? What's it mean for God to show up in today's world? Doesn't matter much unless God also shows up in our lives some way.
That leads me to the question above. I was just leafing through the Christian Book Distributors latest sale catalog. I was all done with these folks a couple of years ago. Then I posted a review of a friend's book. Now back on the ol' mailing list.
Still tired of their merchandising. Tired of books aimed at women with the theme of "Jesus is my boyfriend." Hey, Favio doesn't only exist in romance novels! Tired of books for men with the theme of "I stocked my survival cellar, killed three grizzlies, got a new 4WD and 80-inch plasma last week, learned to follow every sentence with PTL! but still trying to reconcile with my kids--if I can even find 'em."
Tired of Christian consumer goods. Tired of having a sense that following Christ requires so much support merchandise. Tired of having tons of words telling me that understanding God and Jesus are so hard that I need their help--instead of listening to Jesus.
So the pointed question: How much "stuff" does it take to run a faith these days? Did God plan it this way? Were redemption and discipleship ever supposed to turn into the church and an industry? Is the only church we know actually an industrial model rather than a discipleship model?
How much "stuff" does my faith need to keep it propped up and limping along? Will more stuff make it healthier? Is my faith a gas-guzzler? Or a green model in which there is no consumption, no waste? Is my faith actually an energy producer rather than an energy consumer? (Use any definition of energy you want here.)
And then there is Rob Bell... Oh, wow! More about him later.