Partners in Christian Mission
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Following Jesus ... in a World that Doesn't - Jeff McKinnon

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The only responsible basis for challenging current social norms and practises is an evidence-based conviction that there are better alternative(s) for both individual and collective living.

Exactly! That is the gospel. In Christ we are called to a better future based on sure foundations - Jesus Christ who died and rose again. To be sure, our evidence is faith-based, and not by sight. But evidence it is. (After all, none of us get to choose artificial limits to put around evidence. Evidence goes wherever reality is found.)

The incident of Jesus with the rich man (Mark 10:17-31) stands at the turning point of the very first 'gospel' document ever written - Mark's gospel. Hereon in Jesus sets himself for the capital city ... and his moment of destiny.

This incident is also the turning point of our understandings. My place in ministry and leadership, and my understanding of mission, are all here at this turning point.

Jesus harshly places before us the unyielding, concrete demands of following him. I would much prefer religious security. But Jesus calls me back to him and to his Way.

Jesus calls us to what he, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, calls "the kingdom of God". Israel had long known that God alone was to have been their king. But Israel much preferred a human king. Jesus now calls them back to him and to his Way.

Wendell Berry suggests that a contemporary metaphor that retains the subversive yet reconstructive flavour of Jesus' term might be "the Great Economy". Just as Jesus called first-century disciples to an alternative empire, so different to that of Rome ... so now Jesus calls us to an alternative economy, so different to that of Wall Street.

Could it be that 'the Kingdom' confronts all our assumptions about power, money, wealth, value, success, status?

With the rich man, Jesus starts by confronting his unknown poverty. (The Greek word for 'you lack' in verse 22 refers to his 'destitution'. The same word is used of a poor widow in Mark 12:44.) Jesus is not primarily asking him to change his attitude or behaviours. He is inviting into true wealth.

Could it be that privatised serving, simple lifestyle and humility won't cut it? Is Jesus inviting us to fashion communities of disciples who will live radically in the Great Economy?

What might it mean for me to minister in the Great Economy? What if I came to see the true nature of power and value?

What might it mean for me to lead in a Great Economy community? What if I came to see the true nature of success and status?

And what is the mission to which such Great Economy communities are commissioned? What if I came to see the true nature of money and wealth?

What if we follow Jesus ... in a world that doesn't?

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