I was recently recommended the 2011 book by Philip Gulley, “If the Church Were Christian: Rediscovering the Values of Jesus” (Available at Amazon). I am busy reading it, but love the general idea.
It is a wonderful bringing together of many of the concepts embodied in what has become known as “the emerging church” – a movement of progressive Christians and churches around the world trying to build a “new kind of Christian” (to quote one of the men who kicked it all off, Brian McLaren).
In his book, Gulley suggests ten ways that we can rebuild spirituality, Christianity and the church today. I am paraphrasing, borrowing from his chapter titles and main themes:
- Jesus needs to be a model for living – someone who’s life we follow – more than an object of worship.
- Affirming people’s potential is more important than reminding them of their brokenness.
- The work of reconciliation should be valued over making judgments and division.
- Gracious behaviour is more important than right beliefs.
- Inviting questions is more valuable than supplying answers.
- Encouraging personal exploration and experimentation with faith is more important than group uniformity.
- Meeting actual needs is more important than maintaining institutions.
- Peacemaking is more important than power or position.
- We should care more about love and less about sex.
- Life in this world is more important than the afterlife.
It’s tough to argue that these ten things are not very Christ-like.
Continue reading If the Church Were Christian – a manifesto for the emerging church