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Archive for the ‘Introduction’ Category

jesushalf.jpegRegular readers of this blog may have noticed a new sidebar feature: “Manifesto.” This feature will contain a quote pertinent to the Jesus shaped project. The current quote from Greg Boyd will certainly be hard to displace. It’s an expression of the energy and intention of what so many of us hope for in a Jesus shaped Christianity.

There is a beautiful and powerful grassroots Kingdom movement arising all over the globe that Mennonites in particular need to notice. Millions of people are abandoning the Christendom paradigm of the traditional Christian faith in order to become more authentic followers of Jesus. From the Emergent Church movement to the Urban Monastic Movement to a thousand other independent groups and movements, people are waking up to the truth that the Kingdom of God looks like Jesus and that the heart of Christianity is simply imitating him. Millions are waking up to the truth that followers of Jesus are called to love the unlovable, serve the oppressed, live in solidarity with the poor, proclaim Good News to the lost and be willing to lay down our life for our enemies. Multitudes are waking up to the truth that the distinctive mark of the Kingdom is the complete rejection of all hatred and violence and the complete reliance on love and service of others, including our worst enemies. Masses of people are waking up to the truth that followers of Jesus aren’t called to try to win the world by acquiring power over others but by exercising power under others — the power of self-sacrificial love.

What Boyd is describing is something that I believe is very real. The process is historically complex, but it is experientially simple. It is an ecumenical project, but it is critical of many of those aspects of ecumenism that are taken for granted. (more…)

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Dear Mr. Spencer:

I’m a big fan of both the website and the podcasts, and since you say you always welcome questions I’m going to take you up on that offer!

My question is how does pastoral leadership fit into a Jesus-shaped spirituality? Is the current system even necessary? (By which I mean, the churches that have staffs of dozens and a pastor who gets up and speaks on some topic every week, not discussions with wiser people on spiritual issues). Something that has always deeply troubled me is the cult of personality that often arises around pastors in evangelical churches- the pastor’s always right, a receptacle of great wisdom, has a better opinion than anyone else, has a direct line to God, etc. This is an old issue, of course, but it seems worse today when pastors seem to want to develop multidisciplinary “ministries” whose main outcome seems to keep them away from the church they are supposed to be “pastoring” a majority of the time. What place does “full time Christian service” have in the post-evangelical wilderness?

I hope I’ve been clear. Thanks for your time and thoughts on this subject!

Thanks, Carl

Carl asks a great question that will eventually deserve more than a little attention from this blog. Until then, Carl and the JSS readers will have to get by on these tantalizing tidbits hinting at the posts to come. (more…)

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Now that I have the place in a proper uproar, let’s apply the tools of Jesus shaped spirituality thinking to this question of music and discipleship.

My contention is that the evangelical emphasis on music did not play a major role in the disciple-making process as Jesus intentionally practiced it.

So my basic approach is that we not give music a major responsibility in the discipleship process. But as a “supporting” or “secondary” process that is extremely useful in our human experience and culture, we should think through how we can use it.

Not let’s but the whole business of music on the table and use the C.I.A. toolkit. (more…)

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Connection: How does this connect to Jesus? Incarnational and historical, then in all of scripture?

Imitation: In what way is it possible to imitate Jesus (given all the relevant variables)?

Application: How can this be applied in a Jesus connected, Jesus imitating way in the present?

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We’re going to talk about Jesus and worship in this post, and I’m going to stake out a position that questions whether we are anywhere near the right path in regard to one critical area.

One of the fundamentals of this exploration is the idea that Jesus was intentional in what he was doing with his followers, and that in exploring the intentional things Jesus did to transform his disciples we’ll find the answers to lots of our own questions about what it means to be a Christian.

Jesus didn’t walk up to Peter, James or John and go through the Evangelism Explosion presentation. He never asked them to pray to receive him as their Lord and Savior. (more…)

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Welcome to Jesus Shaped Spirituality, the new blog written by the Internet Monk, Michael Spencer.

What is Jesus Shaped Spirituality?

Here’s my working definition: “Jesus Shaped Spirituality is the discipleship, character change and community that are produced by following Jesus as he was revealed in his historical, fully human incarnation, as recorded in the New Testament, especially the four canonical Gospels.”

In shorthand, Jesus Shaped Spirituality stands on the corner between the study of Jesus- especially the historical Jesus- and the formation of discipleship on every level. (more…)

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