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05 November 2008


I'm not sure how best to phrase all this, so I'll just plunge in.

This morning I read the first thing in Francis Chan's book Crazy Love that I didn't like. In a section describing the personal sacrifices of many Christ-followers, he talked about Shane Claiborne's life at The Simple Way, a communal fellowship. Preston mention Claiborne and some other emergent church leaders yesterday and I ran out of time to chime in on the comments that I agree. I can't say that I dislike the guy personally; I don't know him. But from what I do know, I believe he misrepresents Christ.

So I read the section about Claiborne and thought, "Wow, bummer. That's kind of a notch down for ol' Francis in my book." He didn't paint Shane Claiborne as the end-all, be-all Christ-follower, but the inclusion of this part made me wonder about some of Chan's personal views.

But I continued reading. Here's the next part in that chapter, about those who sacrifice their own lives for others:

The Robynson Family
This family of five, with three kids under the age of ten, chooses to celebrate the birth of Christ in a unique way. On Christmas mornings, instead of focusing on the presents under the tree, they make pancakes, brew an urn of coffee, and head downtown. Once there, they load the coffee and food into the back of a red wagon. Then, with the eager help of their three-year-old, they pull the wagon around the mostly empty streets in search of homeless folks to offer a warm and filling breakfast on Christmas morning.

All three of the Robynson kids look forward to this time of giving a little bit of tangible love to people who otherwise would have been cold and probably without breakfast. Can you think of a better way to start the holiday that celebrates the God who is Love?

And all of a sudden Shane Claiborne was totally gone from my mind, and I wept in repentance of my own selfishness (I could say that I cried like a baby, but that wouldn't sound nearly as spiritual -- I like "spiritual vocabulary," don't you?).

It instantly hit me that deep down inside, I don't want to do anything like this. And that made me very sad.


Anonymous said...

Maybe because I have a family of 5 with 3 under 10 that this really struck a chord in me, too. I'm just pretty edgy today anyway. But, I think Christians are going to be tested now. We must live out our faith like we should have been. We've lived in a comfortable society, but now we are called to truly know and serve our Sovereign Lord like never before. Some of us have probably humbled ourselves before Him in prayer this past week, month or year like never before. We must take up our cross and follow Him. We have to consider, have I ever done what the Bible *tells* me to do - not suggests, but commands? Maybe it is now being taken out of our hands because, like you said, I might not have been doing all along what I should have. If I had, maybe we wouldn't be going the direction we are.

Jan said...

Dean, I sense that God is doing a deep work in your heart. I am praying for you. I too have realized that over the years I have grown both complacent and judgmental, safe in my church building surrounded by my Christian friends. And that is not how God intended us to live out the Gospel. He is calling us to do some very uncomfortable things, to get our hands dirty and to have our conscience and compassion pricked, to sacrifice the life WE dream of for the life He intended. It is so much easier to judge than to get out and actually do......we as Christians have become masters at sitting back and "playing defense" (protecting) so much so that we never pick up the ball and play offense. Problem? Although we may not allow our opponent to score, we also never score ourselves. And you can't win without risking and shooting the ball!

I rejoice that I see God working in you, my friend. You know I love you and Callie very much. I can't wait to see what God does in and through you.

I love it that you cried like a baby. Tears are usually a sign that God is at work and that our heart is soft enough to let Him do so.

Preston N said...

I will say this - Shane walks the talk. He definitely is a person who lives by his convictions, but I think he is misguided. I think it can be easy to make our relationship with God out to be some formula whereby if we "do A+B" that makes us Christians. As we all know this God centered life starts with the motivations of our hearts. People can go out and feed the poor and still have a wrong motivations for doing so.

This reminds me of something I heard Peter Lord once say. He said "So many times we as Christians have put the Great Commission above the Greatest Commandment". In other words we have an imbalance. In our efforts to make disciples, we have forgotten the greatest priority and that is loving God and our fellow man (Mat 22:36-40) with all of our heart, soul and strength. I think the next four years are truly going to be trying times for the church. We so desperately need revival. But revival doesn't start with God, it doesn't start with us going out and doing something. It starts with men and women humbling themselves before God, men and women who are willing to forsake everything (even if it means their own ministries if called to do so) all for the sake of having a pure and holy relationship with God. Revival starts when people stop playing "church" and start being the church.

I too am glad that your heart cries out to be more like Christ - it shows me your heart is broken and open to hearing from the Lord.

Anonymous said...

Powerful reply preston.

I agree. We (the church) have a tendancy to do works without 'love'. Many churches that I have been in have hundreds of various activities, projects, missions going on all the time. (Which is good) But if these missions are not based on a desire to love God and our neighbors then we are just spinning our wheeels.

This story did not bring me to tears; but God is working on my heart - as I have mentioned to Dean earlier.

Oh, to be able to see the world as God sees it!

Ted Stroup

Dean Lusk said...

Preston said, "It starts with men and women humbling themselves before God, men and women who are willing to forsake everything (even if it means their own ministries if called to do so) all for the sake of having a pure and holy relationship with God. Revival starts when people stop playing 'church' and start being the church."

Absolutely. Absolutely! I shouldn't take it for granted that people understand that I'm not saying, "Now go out there and start being busy for Jesus!" -- spinning our wheels, as Ted noted. I'm not. I'm just saying that God has been convicting me personally lately, and this post represents a bit of where I am.

And you know, all these comments had excellent points. I have to navigate away or I'd keep rambling...

Angela Ralston said...

Hi, I’ve noticed that you’ve blogged about Crazy Love, by Francis Chan. Just wanted you to know that the videos to accompany the book are now available to download at:

Also, a Crazy Love small group dvd with never-before-seen content will be available in January. Because of your wonderful blog post about the book, I’d like to offer you a free pre-release copy of the dvd to review. Please email me your address, and I’d be happy to send it. Thanks!

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