In their new book Red Letter Revolution, authors Shane Claiborne and Tony Compolo focus on the words of Jesus in the Bible. It seems much of our church theology today has moved to a cerebral, elevated intellectual perspective rather than a grass roots daily application in our work, relationships and finances. In this book the authors address many of the challenging issues we face in real living.
Yes, I know they are getting criticized for being too New Age, socialistic, anti-American, worldly, and mystical. It just goes without saying that any voice in the Christian arena is going to get hammered from some other faction of Christianity. It is the nature of “Christians” to crucify their own. That being said, regardless of the accuracy of their theology I think there is plenty of reason to ponder their challenges to modern day religion in America.
They encourage action in addition to prayer and suggest that when we ask God to move a mountain, He may give us a shovel. We need to stop assuming God is a red-blooded American. We need to work together with our neighbors and people of different faiths, rather than fighting with and killing them. Imposing our lifestyle and chosen form of government on others may not be serving them well. We need to rethink the artificial models we’ve created in our churches. Maybe pastors would have more freedom to teach from a pure heart if they were bivocational rather than being paid only by the church they serve.
Red Letter Revolution does not offer clean, concise answers. Living out our faith allows and requires a very individualized expression of that faith. Blind acceptance of tradition and customs opens the door for warped theology and a life far removed from the example of Jesus.
But the questions raised deserve our deep consideration. Does Jesus even recognize his “followers” in their lives of judging, hating, criticizing and condemning?