1. Rereading your “Jesus Manifesto” there is one primary cultural value that remains unaddressed, still held sacrosanct through our lukewarm hearts as to upholding the priority of claiming Christ’s Name as seems to be held primarily apart from His being becoming associated, known, and received as is primarily revealed through His Way. His Way included walking around his country, laboring for the Kingdom, while pressed and pressured by crowds responding to his unique godly gifts. This started within his local community associations and proclamations, began by interacting with those who approached him without his claims making a product pitch, or of an organized religious precept, or by a monetary exchange upheld as to proclaiming a resulting related gratification. All the while he did so while addressing God’s own people’s discerned real and heartfelt needs as the shepherd among the sheep (which his contenders did not often have clearly in understanding, but held in contempt or jealousy by believing they were in competition with him, or, when yielding to him found they were not).

    Profoundly confronting the establishment as to its own faulty premises as to what was important, vitally asserting the Kingdom of God, and then, at wit’s end dieing on a cross, He hung there brutally and blandly perspiring and bloodily pierced until giving up his own breath, and as humbly received and prepared for the burial which dashed to the ground all presupposed human political and religious expectations. His was not a marketing idea set for a marketing campaign, packaged, positioned and promoted for mass consumption, as is the present day expectancy in global business culture. Yet this is the approach most often taken by American Christianity to the communication challenges involved in bearing the Kingdom from Above to this world. And this is not essentially addressed as to our present false expectancy in your manifesto.

    Yet this subtle human operating reality is upheld by virtually the majority of institutions who associate their future and present placement primarily with a business face presented to others through a marketing placement in an increasingly global consumer society. In this sense our religious leaders are like what were the established Scribes, Pharisees, and Sanhedrin members (who would find their associations listed in our yellow pages today, often placed with other businesses which are pictured and positioned through displayed advertising, media, and marketplace values for a targeted public interface). This certainly meets the world on its terms; where does it meet the heartfelt undiscerned needs of what would be crowds unknown as such on theirs?

    We go so far as embracing His Name at least equating with a like commerce identified nature, an appropriate establishment ideal and behavior, approaching well organized target participants for solicitation to our gatherings. Revivial, as it has been written of in this past forum, is not presented as such and will maintain a distinction of difference, and result in other outcomes than consumption. Kingdom gratification rests in other reality than consumerism (even though products and services can meet real needs, they most often leave the Holy Spirit out of the interchanges involved).

    What were the two elements which Jesus gave His church universal and local in bringing this difference into this world? (Mt. 16): the unique divine plan of sharing the Good News based on the Only Divine Life for an alike shared confession of faith and resulting discipleship, and (Mt. 18) the seeking of lost individuals, wandering apart from the flock, for the purpose of extending a newly established, then ongoing Reconciliation in the Spirit of God for the inclusions and purposes of God’s Kingdom (starting from hearing the one who discerned all others’ issues, to hearing one another’s issues, and reconciling these by the divine natured love found of the Way of Jesus).

    The last Way or difference from business values norms and expectations extended as usual to consumers involves: taking the time to go out of our way to find the Lost sheep, to then hear one another’s issues, or offenses; to extend forgiveness through the Way of the Cross first one to another; to proceed with ever increasing efforts of reconciliation means and methods (first going 1:1, then with another brother, then taking these issues before the whole assembly [as Paul, Peter, James, and John do in their letters]), and most often risking such assertive Ways for the primary intention of reconciliation. If we substitute other primary intentions–e.g. ministry, gatherings objectives, target audience intentions, whip em up, pump em up signals for repetition, our religious understanding’s insistence [think of Muhammed on this one], gratification of our own giftedness, being in charge and in control, etc.–we miss the Kingdom mark of an inclusive reconciliation firstly based on the simple terms of faith in He who was sent, and, secondly, based on seeking and going after Lost sheep. [I would add, thirdly, based on the Spirit ultimately doing the work of reconciliation, not our ways and means of assumed business as usual, through marketing plans, sales like goals, and appropriate cultural norms accordingly. I am not saying these are exclusive from the Kingdom, but they are not normative to its Ways, as is assumed so in the USA, where often the church leadership model is the business leadership and means model]. Where something is corrupted at the core it cannot be completed by that core.

    What has not been discussed by manifesto at the core can be called the face of salesmanship, rampantly assumed as the essential Way in our salesmanship society and by its soundbite mentality. When someone I know closely was told that their voluntary technical service offer to an emerging Christian organization would go unheard and unresponded to, they were informed that it was “a business decision,” where the owner of a physical plant the organization had leased objected to that person’s labor as was associated with his faith because of identifying needed safety changes for that facility for student safe occupancy according to building codes. Instead, a building in its positioned marketing placement would be held in higher esteem than the volunteer’s involvement because of that signaled input–though the volunteer was well equipped for the ongoing technical needs of its occupants, and the changes required, as would be given freely and without charge. It turned out that the business manager of the organization wished to metamanage each interaction of service, schedule, and choice of “vendor” for his newly arising Christian service organization’s presence(FYI an emerging college, where taking up such an offer was a “business decision” actually based on a PR profile and metamanaged control actions as to anyone acting on behalf of the organization, in any and all capacities. Does this remind one of the Jerusalem system of the Messiah’s Visitation?).

    Today the organization described parenthetically above has survived for four years, and is in financial and existential crises as a Christian entity. What can we learn from this example as to why Revival tarries, repentance is not in current vocabulary usage, and what our own cultural blindness has upheld over time? Will it require a complete economic collapse for the issues brought up in M. Brown’s Christian Manifesto to be factored into seeking the Lost Sheep for reconciliation and change?

  2. Jabez, I for one share many of your very concerns

    As Dr. Brown was speaking on the military aspects of our calling, I jotted down some notes, thinking of my own military experience.

    Maybe some young people on this blog may be considering the military.

    Here’s some of what one will learn from military service, and will also experience:

    Practicing daily the commitment made to obey orders.
    Long hours, difficult physically, mentally (at times) under all conditions.
    Everything is done their way, their rules and reg’s.
    Follow orders, don’t take things personally – (cross)
    Learn to receive reproofs and corrections daily, if not hourly, sometimes constantly. (not always the way you would like to receive it)
    You will learn to expect and like the constant corrections. It becomes the way of military life, the one you will get comfortable with in time.
    You learn to do your best and never quit.
    Not easy.
    You will make many mistakes and often fall short.
    Just make the correction quickly.
    What you once hated, you may learn to love in time.

  3. Dr.Brown,I read The Jesus Manifestto.I have read your book, Revolution also.Both are very good.We do need a spiritual awakening in our country,in the church.I hope I’m wrong but I’m beginning to believe we will never see it happen.God is moving mightily in other parts of the world but I wonder how long he will put up with things here.I know we should’nt give up hope.But it does get discouraging.

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