While in El Salvador I’ve been reading Scot McKnight’s book, One.Life. Yes, there is a dot between the two words one and life. In short it’s about turning over your one life to the one kingdom dream of Jesus. That’s hard on several counts. For one we’d rather not. For two it’s not easy. But since we’ve only got one life we’d better figure out how, by grace, hook or crook.
In one chapter on pursuing justice – not a minor theme for the prophets or Jesus – he tells about the prophet Bono and the impact he has had on many, especially as it relates to not settling around issues for justice for the poor. Bono has always had a problem, not with God, but with Christians, because all the words about love ring so hollow. He thinks there is a lot of pretending going on when it comes to the kingdom dream of Jesus, which we always water down to make it comfortable. A lot of times we bump against the faking, says Bono,and “we have to overthrow the way of the world.” That’s pure Jesus stuff.
So when it comes to the prophetic vocation of the church (which many want to avoid at all cost because it challenges our ways, values and private little feel-good religion), McKnight takes us on a tour of prophet Jesus, strolling the Galilee. Then he translates the message and method down to what he calls a job description. This job description applies to everyone who dares to take on the prophetic calling, one of the three Ps of ministry (Prophet, Priest and Pastor). I have found this job description to be right on the mark, in American Christianity for sure, but I am certain in all forms and times:
Speak openly and clearly about what God is for.
Speak openly and clearly about what God is against.
God is with you.
Have courage because you will be needing to duck or die.
When you are following this job description and basing the content on the Jesus Dream it gets risky fast. I’m meeting some of these Christians here in El Salvador. They are just going about the business of being Christians and being the church. There’s not much time for the luxury of pettiness. It’s dangerous business being who they are and saying what they are saying. But when you have a wild, undomesticated, passionate God who doesn’t settle, and only one life, it’s not too surprising.