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Wouldn’t it be Amazing if…

Orginally published on Thursday, July 12, 2007 at 7:49 AM
by Todd Rhoades

Wouldn't it be amazing if people saw our lives and wanted what we have? Wouldn't it be tremendous if people saw us living by faith, expressing love, and sharing hope? Rather than coming across as judgmental, homogenous, isolated, conflict-filled, and irrelevant communities, we need to show the world what Christ truly intended us to be. We need to practice what Eric Bryant likes to call "the art of woo."

This is a great article from Eric Bryant, who serves on the leadership team at Mosaic along with Erwin McManus.  I’ve just started reading his new book Peppermint-Filled Pi�atas: Breaking Through Tolerance and Embracing Love.  Eric writes this over at Catalyst Monthly

If you are anything like me, you have moments when you dream of overcoming the Christian stereotype. Deep down, we long to be part of a loving and diverse community. We long to be part of a church known for caring for those the world has forgotten. We want to live out our lives of faith in ways that would please God and intrigue those around us. Wouldn’t it be amazing if people saw our lives and wanted what we have? Wouldn’t it be tremendous if people saw us living by faith, expressing love, and sharing hope?

Rather than coming across as judgmental, homogenous, isolated, conflict-filled, and irrelevant communities, we need to show the world what Christ truly intended us to be. We need to practice what I like to call “the art of woo.”

In the sixth century BC, Sun Tzu taught us how to destroy others in The Art of War. Someone else has taught us how to manipulate people in The Art of Seduction, so why can’t we learn “the art of woo”? I love The Gallup Organization’s definition of woo: “winning others over.” The more common definition implies a romantic pursuit, one’s attempts to gain the affection of another person. Both descriptions are helpful for us in this journey. We need more woo. Since we are God’s children and representatives, those around us need to feel loved by us.

My hope is that as followers of Christ, we would develop “the art of woo” so that we might learn to develop diverse communities, resolve conflict, overcome bitterness, create a better future, and even heal our fractured world. Wouldn’t it be amazing if as followers of Christ we found ourselves as part of the solution in our divided world rather than as part of the problem? In the end, don’t people matter most?

Signs of change are all around us…

You can read more here at Catalyst Monthly...


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  There are 5 Comments:

  • Posted by Daniel

    Excellent question, since God himself woos us (at times… to be fair, at other times, he strikes us down with blinding light from heaven).  The million dollar question is, of course, HOW do we do this?  How do we become a community worth emulating?
    A few suggestions (as a fellow traveller who has very little figured out):
    - Christians could move closer together and actually share possessions (Acts model anyone?) and meals
    - Christians could adopt children, sponsor children, and become foster parents (I think the contemporary American church is pretty good at this one)
    - Christians could move into the inner city, where they’re far more likely to meet ‘poor’ people
    - Christians could move closer to work (or move their work closer to home) so that they can walk there, and therefore meet more people on the way (and reduce their environmental impact as well)
    - Christians could abandon violence and military glorification as a way of life, embracing instead the strength of weakness, the way of nonviolence and love of enemies (yes, even U.S. ‘enemies’ like jihadists and so forth--remember large parts of our NT is written by an ex-terrorist of sorts)
    - Christians could stop predicating their existence on the death of animals (who are also loved of God) by not eating meat and not hunting for sport (as well as caring for their pets, of course)

    Of course, these are not ‘commandments’ or moral imperatives.  However I think they are good ideas.  It’s excellent to say “let’s woo the lost into the Body”, but it’s even better to get practical and figure out how that’s done (or better yet, to study how the early Church did it).  Notice I focused on ‘externals’.  There are a whole range of ‘internals’ which should be added as well (regular prayer, fasting, Bible study, etc.), but most people already know about those.
    Does anyone else have additional suggestions?

    Cheers,
    -Daniel-

  • Posted by

    Daniel,

    some good points you have but would like to ask....as a Christian am I to “roll-over and just love a ji-hadist?  I am not sure you fully understand the intent of a ji-hadist??  (maybe I am missing your point).  There is a difference between a muslim and ji-hadist.....a big difference! Just 2 weeks ago I sat down with a muslim man for lunch and had a wonderful dialouge between our faiths, this is not something you can do with a ji-hadist, no matter how much you “love” them.  Also want to point out to you that the first animal ever killed was done by God, read Genesis 3:21, last time I checked leather is not made from a fruit tree. don’t want to come off though as completley disagreeing with you.  I love your point of adoption, we are a white family who have adopted 2 beautiful African American girls....there is a huge need for adoption in this country.

    shane

  • Posted by

    Daniel �

    There will always be disagreement about some of the things that Christians should do to WOO broken and lost people (sorry, I really like a good steak).  And there are different ways to live out those things that the bible clearly mandates.  For example, someone with great wealth can significantly impact ministry to the poor without moving to an urban neighborhood.

    But what about a list that contains the kind of things Christians DO NOT DO?  Jesus was known for things like NOT condemning the woman caught in adultery.  We could be know because we . . .
    � DO NOT claim to be communicating the gospel by taking political action
    � DO NOT wear tee shirts that diminish people outside the faith
    � DO NOT start websites designed to disparage another group (any group, especially other Christ followers)
    � DO NOT attempt to solve our differences with one another in a public forum.

    That for starters anyway.

    Wendi

  • Posted by Daniel

    I like good steak too Wendi (I’m a vegetarian in spite of my taste buds).  grin
    Your “not"s are good suggestions.  My only concern about your comment that “someone with great wealth can significantly impact ministry to the poor without moving to an urban neighborhood” (which is true) is that too often, we Americans (or least this applies to me) look for what we can get away with not doing (well there’s no commandment in the Bible to do X, I don’t have to do Y, etc.--this is distinct and separate from your suggestions above) that we never get around to asking ‘ok, how exactly might we embody, mediate and announce New Creation?’
    Know what I mean?  I’d love to hear more of other people’s suggestions (preferably one’s that make us uncomfortable… none of this generic ‘be more loving’ crap...)!
    -Daniel-

  • Posted by Camey

    Now THAT was worth reading the rest of the link. This sort of piece has legs on it and a backbone.

    I could stir the pot. It would get thick. wink

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