Religion is a breeding ground for death as it seeks to monitor, control, and keep everything within the confines of predictability. This can, in no way shape or form, reflect the living power of a Jesus who is at work to raise people out of death, out of oppressive forces, out of darkness, out of slumber, into the light of His life, glory, and radical purposes to change the world. In three and a half years Jesus initiated a movement that today continues to infuse the world with His living, powerful Spirit through over 1 billion followers! He is alive and on the move.
The Body of Christ, the expression of Jesus, is always meant to be a decentralized, emerging movement led by the Spirit of God. “Decentralized” because no one can control it, no religion can contain it, and no organization can claim it. “Movement” because it is an unleashed force that is designed, by its nature, to cover the earth like waters cover the sea. “Emerging” (please don’t make any association between my use of the word “emerging” and the loosely defined “emerging movement.”) because it continually brings forth new life in new places and, as it does, emerges in the most unlikely situations and ways.
Our traditional religious approaches to church and Christianity struggle to serve the movement that Jesus initiated. But Jesus followers – loving Him, surrendering to Him, seeking Him, following Him radically into the world – can and will.
Radical love and Uncompromising faith
From John Michael Talbot’s book on Francis of Assisi:
He Was Radical
For many people, being “Christian is roughly equivalent in time and emotional commitment to being a member of a neighborhood bridge club, having a regular seat at the local Elks lodge, or getting the family car serviced every three thousand miles. Unfortunately, this type of Christianity is often viewed as just another civic affiliation, acquired habit, or social ritual.
Not for Francis. In him, the spark of divine love ignited a bonfire that burned away all his indifference and sparked a radical, uncompromising faith. His was not Christianity Lite. He worshiped at the altar of not watered-down deity.
Francis’s minute-by-minute desire was to follow God ever closer, as he wrote in this prayer to members of his movement: “Almighty, eternal, just and merciful God, grant us in our misery that we may do for your sake alone what we know you want us to do, and always want what pleases you; so that, cleansed and enlightened interiorly and fired with the ardor of the Holy Spirit, we may be able to follow in the footsteps of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and so make our way to you.”
Jayne Ozanne, invited to participate in a high council for the Church of England, presented this vision of what she saw for the future:
A new Church will begin to arise – a new Church in England. It will take the form of many single cell groups across the land, united in a common bond founded on grace and truth. No longer recognising denominational badges, people will look to see the mark of spirit-filled faith in each other. Rather than demanding a “king” to be appointed over them (as with Saul), this new Church will discern the God-appointed leaders who have naturally risen to positions of prominence.
This Church bears all the hallmarks of an underground movement, indeed it will fast become an underground resistance movement. It will be united in its purpose, clear in its vision, firm in its resolve and will consist of people who “do not love their lives even unto the death”. The most powerful weapon that this army wields is love – a love that conquers all, costs all and never fails!
Much to learn here and ponder about on our journey following Jesus.
Kingfisher greetings and love