Confusing JesusJun 7th, 2007 | By Ian Poulton | Category: Ministry
A fellow theological student had on his door a poster that summed up how many of us felt about our theological studies. I searched for it today and found many variants on the Net.
Jesus said unto them: Who do you say that I am?
And they replied: ‘You are the eschatological manifestation of the ground of our being, the kerygma in which we find the ultimate meaning of our interpersonal relationship.’
And Jesus said: ‘What?’
Struggling with a dissertation on models of the church appropriate for mission in 21st Century Ireland, I sympathised with the Jesus of the poster.
Sometimes I wonder if we have not taken a story of infinite simplicity and rendered it so complicated that we are no longer sure that we understand it ourselves.
Sometimes I think that it would be much easier to close the whole operation down and start again, though there might be some opposition from the cardinals and the bishops and the deans and the archdeacons and all the other people who attach so much importance to weird traditions and funny names.
Sometimes I think that if we simplified everything we might reach people in a way that we’re failing to do at the moment.
Except there are a hundred and one brands of evangelical church trying to preach a pure, untainted Gospel and the impact they are having in Dublin is so minimal you wouldn’t be aware of their existence.
People are used to the church as it is, when they come to church they want it to be the church they remember, most people still believe that the church still takes the Gospel seriously, even when the church has doubts about the matter itself.
We have to find a middle way between where we are and changing so much that we lose touch with our people. Most of all we have to find a way of not causing Jesus to say “what?”