Arizona Camp Meeting
Putting “Jesus” back into the “gospel.”
The Kingdom Jesus came to establish involves a radical paradigm shift in how we see God, ourselves, and others. It calls for a radical reorientation of how we do life in the here and now.
This past week, I had the privilege of sharing at an Adventist “Camp Meeting” in Prescott, Arizona. For those who may be unfamiliar with the term “Camp Meeting,” this was a gathering of churches from all over Arizona to listen to a series of presentations from various authors and speakers from around the globe. I was one of those invited to speak.
I want to say upfront that I’m deeply concerned with the Christian church in North America. I’m concerned that we are riddled with an unhealthy imbalance in the direction of “passive spectatorship” by contrast to the open, mutual participation of the first century church. To say the least, I was conflicted all week. I do believe that there is a place for teaching. However, the call to balance teaching with the fifty plus “one anothers” of the New Testament is ever in my heart. This week was definitely more on the teaching side and there were some topics that I felt necessary to share. I gave eleven presentations in ten days, which centered around four topics:
1)Christian Nonviolent Noncooperation: Adventists are traditionally a “peace church.” Yet today, they are struggling with that part of their identity, as many peace churches are. As a dear Mennonite friend of mine says, “When patriotism runs hot, Christ’s peace teachings do not.”
2)We live in the economic narrative of the Kingdom based on abundance, gratitude, and sharing, rather than the economic narrative of this world, which is based on scarcity, anxiety, and accumulation. We looked at how helping the poor was really for OUR benefit to draw us out of one narrative and picture of God into the other.
3)Reimagining the “Church” through the lens of open and mutual participation based on the nature of the Love within the Godhead, rather than the all too common models of passive spectatorship.
4)And walking the Earth, like Jesus, as the Pardon of God for all, even our enemies.
Remember, all of these radical teachings of Jesus are deeply rooted in Jesus picture of the character of His Father which Jesus calls us to embrace.
I will be giving this same series in July at another gathering. Although next time, it will be in the form of twelve presentations rather than eleven. I will also be posting them on our website for all those who would like to give it a listen. The series you want to look for will be titled, Putting Jesus Back into the Gospel.
For all those who were praying for this event, I want to thank you. Everyday I watched the Kingdom being enlarged in the hearts of those who attended. Thank you for your prayers and your support.
Keep living in Love,