I’m working my way through A Creative Minority by Tyson and Grizzle. It’s a neat little book that is worth the read for leaders within the church. I highly recommend it.
The authors are seeking to persuade the modern-day Church, which is diminishing in participation and power, to resist the urge to seek “cultural dominance” or to daydream of recovering its “unrealistic and nostalgic past.” Instead, seeking to be a counter-community within the world, not removed from it, or as Karl Barth suggested:
The church exists to set up in the world a new sign which is radically dissimilar to the world’s own manner and which contradicts it in a way that is full of promise.
This counter-community must have two elements, working in tandem: radical dissimilarity and hopeful promise. There’s a good chance that if you or I have participated in a community that makes much of Jesus, we would recognize these two elements.
The authors provide 6 characteristics of this type of community. I’ll cover those in two different posts, later.
This content reminds me of a Facebook conversation that Ginger and I were in several years ago. I can’t remember the exact subject that sparked the “delightful” back-and-forth, but I do remember an interesting perspective that someone shared.
“Jesus didn’t ask us to win a popularity contest… Jesus told us to be ‘in the world, but not of it.'”
This person’s sincere sentiment is relatively helpful, as a reminder that any of us can be susceptible to waning faithfulness in order to be accepted by outsiders. However, to base one’s entire life on picking the least popular thing doesn’t always lead to a faithful end, either. Even though the earliest Christians picked the least popular option of defying the Temple leadership, they also enjoyed the favor of all people. (Acts 2:42-47) Their risky unpopularity pointed to a greater, distinct, and redemptive reality. I have always enjoyed this idea from NT Wright,
“Jesus said that his kingdom was not from this world, but it is certainly for this world.”
The outworking of that takes some creative ingenuity, a lot of prayer, and some guts. May we find ourselves dedicated to such a task.