REJESUS: A WILD MESSIAH FOR A MISSIONAL CHURCH Paperback – Jul 2009
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About the Author
Michael Frost is professor of evangelism and missions at Morling College in Sydney, Australia, and a Baptist minister. He is the author of Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture and the coauthor of The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st-Century Church.
Alan Hirsch is the founding director of Forge Mission Training Network and a founder of shapevine.com. He is the author of The Shaping of Things to Come with Michael Frost, The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church, and The Forgotten Ways Handbook. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In their own words, "this book is dedicated to the recovery of the absolute centrality of the person of Jesus in defining who we are as well as what we do."
What I appreciate so much about these two authors is that it is clear that the motivation behind their penetrating and sometimes uncomfortable critique of pop-Christianity is stemmed in their deep love for the Church. While this book has a rich bibliography from such theologians as N.T. Wright, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jaqcues Ellul, and Jurgan Moltmann...both Frost and Hirsch have chosen to step out of the ivory tower of academia and into the streets of everyday existence as they paint a vivid picture of what it means for someone's entire life to be re-focused, re-calibrated, and re-centered on Jesus.
While Frost and Hirsch are both excellent writers and engaging to read, I found this book reading me even after I set it down...it really got deep inside of me.
If you are interested in going beyond a mere admiration of Jesus to a pervasive imitation of Jesus in every area of your life - this book is for you.
As a pastor, but more importantly as a follower of Jesus Christ, this book couldn't have come to me at a more pivotal time. When I first became a follower of Jesus 8 years ago, a friend and mentor reminded me to never forget my first love - Jesus.. Over the years, however, my first love has been smothered by the trappings of comfort, success, and maintaining the status quo. I have devoured books on how to be a better pastor, a better leader, and a better Christian through the latest trends and fads...
This book, however, is unlike those. As the authors of "ReJesus" say, "it is time to recalibrate the church around the person of Jesus rather than around marketing ploys developed for a shallow consumeristic age."
Thanks to both Frost and Hirsch for helping me remember my first love and providing a re-invitation to follow Jesus in every area of my life.
I figure the best way to do book reviews is to write excerpts from the book that stood out to me. I am not sure what you the reader likes to read, so I will just put parts of this book that I like to read and that caused me to think. The following are excerpts from ReJesus that I hope inspire you to move and to order this book.
"How can we call ourselves Christian unless what we are doing is built squarely on the rock of Jesus and takes it's direct agenda (and direct cues for its organizations and lifestyle) from him." Pg. 65
"Observers should be able to encounter Jesus in and though the life and community of his followers. People observing us aught to be able to discern the elements of Jesus' ways in out ways. If they cannot find authentic signals of the historical Jesus through the life of his people, then as far as we are concerned they have the full right to question out legitimacy." Pg. 79
"Jesus reveals God to us. God does not reveal Jesus to us. We cannot deduce anything about jesus from what we think w know about God; we must deduce everything about Godfrom what we know about Jesus." Pg. 132
"We need to pickle ourselves in the gospels. They must become out primary stories and reference point. There is no truer way to encounter Jesus afresh than prayerfully cycling through the Gospels and asking God to give us fresh insight into the remarkable person we find there. We must give our hearts, minds, souls, to the one around whom history turns." Pg. 162
"To be sure, we do not like gatherings (speaking of church services), of strangers who never meet or know each other outside of Sundays, who sit passively while virtual strangers preach and lead singing, who put up with second rate pseudo-community under the guise of connection with each other, who live different lives from Monday to Saturday than they do on Sunday, whose sole expression of worship is pop-style praise and worship, who rarely laugh together, fight injustice together, eat together, pray together, raise each others Children together, serve the poor together, or share Jesus with those who have not been set free." Pg. 172-173
As you can see, this book is about ReJesusing the church of Christ. It is a challenging look at how we are living out our faith in Jesus in our daily lives. I really liked this book. It is a bit technical, but it will carry you and open your eyes to the Church that Jesus prayed for and died for. I hope you enjoy.
In a quick two hundred pages, Frost & Hirsch weave together theory, stories, examples, and diagrams that cause you to think, listen, dream, and pray. Above all, they cause you to question the place of Jesus in your ministry. Is Jesus the center of all that you do? Is he the source of mission? Is he the life of your community, or has Jesus been pushed to the margins in favor of other lords, such as religion or Christ-less theology? Having read previous books by both authors, I'm convinced that this book is the most important because it is about the most important topic of all. For those interested in missional church, this book serves as a welcome reminder that apart from Jesus there is no mission nor church. I will be using this book for years to come as we train leaders and church planters for mission.
I recommend this book. The illustrations and comparative studies in the lives of radical Jesus followers are also to be commended.
It interests me the different pictures we have of Jesus. One of my earliest pictures of Jesus came from my Nana - a literal framed picture of Jesus. You would probably recognise the picture. Do you recall bearded lady Jesus on a Sunday School wall? With blue eyes and blond hair unlike anyone born in Palestine for hundreds of years before or after, this Jesus looks into the distance with the sun shining on his face. He looks inoffensive, unflappable, even spooky. It's a "break-glass-in-case-of-emergency" domesticated Jesus.
I am getting a different picture of Jesus from rereading the gospels and reflecting on Frost and Hirsch's new book ReJesus. It's a picture of Jesus that is radical, wild, dangerous, mysterious and with an agenda that is often quite different from mine.
"What Would Jesus Do (WWJD)?" becomes a very challenging question when I think about the sorts of things Jesus did. (Unfortunately, "WWJD?" can become narrowly used only in relation to personal morality, and I prefer asking "What is Jesus Doing?" so I can join in with what the risen and alive Jesus is doing.)
ReJesus takes a fresh look at Jesus and invites us on a quest to get Jesus back to the centre of church life. In the face of hypocrisy where terrible things have been promoted in Jesus' name, when Jesus is too often in our hearts but not our actions, where churches can tend to overspiritualise Jesus or trivialize him into a spiritual accessory, and in seeking "new ways of doing church", missional leaders Frost and Hirsch urge refounding, recalibrating and rebooting around a fresh understanding of Jesus.
I appreciated its passionate appeal, the heroes of faith scattered through its pages, the outline of historical depictions of Jesus, and the reminder that we serve a God who calls for our ultimate loyalty, beyond any sacred-secular divisions.
I have read lots of books on church over the last few years. The next three years I am keen to read more on Jesus, starting with a fresh engagement with Jesus in the gospels that ReJesus points me towards.
(Originally reviewed in 2009) Witness: The Voice of Victorian Baptists, (April), Exclusive Web Content, accessible at [...])
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