Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Toward A Missional Worldview: Understanding Redemption Should Mean More Partying

Anthony Bradley at the resurgence writes about kingdom partying. I've included most of his post here. It's well worth reading. When you're done... throw a party!
...I've been wondering why many Christians are such boring people to be around if redemption is true. If Christ's mission was truly accomplished and if the Kingdom of God is alive then Christians ought to be the most celebrative people on the planet throwing the best parties and social events. If the Gospel is true one would think that Christians would be the best at "getting their party on."...

... redemption is huge. It's more than personal salvation. The redemption achieved by Jesus Christ is cosmic and is directed at all of life, including creation. Men and women are saved by grace so that they may fulfill their role in the kingdom as God's managers of the earth. In a fallen world, this managing function takes on even greater importance as it relates to being 'salt and light.' God has planned to "reconcile to himself all things" (Col. 1:20) through the work and person of Jesus Christ. His church shares and displays this truth in all of life.

The scope of redemption is as great as the scope of the fall. It embraces creation as a whole. Being a Jesus follower is personal renewal and walking away from sin but it also means that Jesus followers are about the business of promoting renewal and shalom in every aspect of creation. Jesus followers have been called into a "ministry of reconciliation" on his behalf (2 Cor. 5:8).

In the name of Jesus all distortions and perversions must be opposed everywhere—at the club, in a bar, at school, in the kitchen, in the bedroom, at work, on the radio, on the canvas, on the internet, in the factory, and so on. God's people bring Christ's victory, in his defeat of sin and the recovery of creation, in all aspects of culture. All of it!...

...Only the atonement deals with sin and evil effectively at the root. The gospel, then, is preached to all creation (Mark 16:15) because there is a need of cosmic liberation from sin everywhere. It is worth celebrating here and now that being united to the Kingdom through Jesus Christ destines his people to an eternity with him in the new heavens and the new earth (Rev. 21). No pain, no tears, no worries, no stress, no IRS.
If we can't celebrate this, do we really understand the gospel? I'm not talking about celebrating this on the inside, but celebrating it just like we would celebrate a wedding or special event. How about imaging the celebrating that will take place if the Toronto Maple Leafs ever win the Stanley Cup again!
It makes sense, then, that celebration is also part of the Christian tradition: from the feasts and celebrations in the Torah, the celebration in the Psalms, various celebrations of God's people renewing their fidelity to Him in Old Testament, to the story of Jesus ministry, and beyond...

It makes sense that one of the first "signs" of the Kingdom was Jesus turning water into wine (real wine) at a wedding celebration. This was not a lame, hour-long modern evangelical reception with people sitting around drinking watered-down punch, eating peanuts, only waiting around to say "congratulations" so they can jet home to play a board game. Nope, hours and hours of laughing, dancing, eating good food, and drinking. They drank so much that they ran out and Jesus kept the celebration going by demonstrating his lordship over cosmic reasons to celebrate.
What a great description!
So if the kingdom is real, if creation is all good, if life is not suppose to suck, if God is renewing all things to himself through Christ, if you are united to Jesus and standing before God forgiven, then why is your social life so boring? Why are you not either at a party or throwing a party every weekend? Why are you not inviting people into your community of celebration?

Wouldn't it be awesome if Christians were such a celebrative group of people that our non-Christians friends and neighbors would get introduced to Christianity by wanting to come to our parties? Here's a great question for someone to ask you: "why are you Christians always partying so much? Missional living pursues not only shalom but celebration. Jesus followers should party now like they will in heaven.

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