Wednesday, March 24, 2004


Brian McLaren, pastor of Ceder Ridge Community Church and Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Community Church each wrote articles about how the evangelical commuinity has responded to the film The Passion. Read here: McLaren and Warren.

Some church practioners have been talking about this and I chimed on a blog comment. Here is what I wrote:

This chasm between the McLaren world and the Warren world reminds of a trip I took to Macedonia in 1996. Macedonia was full of churches - Orthodox churches that were culturally Macedonian. There was a deep commitment to revitalizing these churches - i.e., evangelizing. But they didn't give a damn about the Albanian Muslims. The Muslim community was like an alternative world in the middle of this nation about the size of central kentucky.

The Warrenesque crowd don't seem to get that there is a world that is analagous to the Albanians in Macedonia. To reach them we must think like cross-cultural missionaries not like church growth gurus. (Warren himself might get it, but the way his stuff is popularized one would think he doesn't).

In the emerging post-christian context the most missional thing one can do is to be a subversive/alternative community. Hey what if we really gave away alot of money to the poor?

I am betting one can be an Anglican who chants psalms and wears a collar because whether or not one does those things is TOTALLY IRRELEVANT TO THE EMERGING CULTURE!!! What is needed is holy/loving/authentic people - no matter how they dress or what kind of music they sing. Hmmm... This is how the earliest church (centuries 1-3) operated in the middle of pagan world. Talk about kingdom expansion!! They were totally irelevant!! Maybe that is the key to mission!!

If you read the respective articles you will see that I basically agree with McLaren. I loved the movie The Passion and would love to get into a meaningful discussion with someone regarding the film. But it is only powerful if one has the correct biblical background so as to reflect on the meaning of the events. My wife has a friend who said it was kind of strange (maybe said sick) for people to want to see someone beat like that. Seemed to make God perverse - although the person has doubts if there is a God. How will Warren's approach reach this person?

I write this to say that how someone sees the Passion depends on what one brings to the movie. Maybe a Baby Boomer has enough spiritual background to still get something out of it even if he/she has ignored the faith for 30 years. But the typical younger person will often scratch his or her head. This is my hunch at least - it would be fascinating to see of anyone will do any statistical research on this!!


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