I sent the manuscript for Missional Small Groups back to the editor today. It feels good to have it out of my hands. But I have a problem. Within the hour I started working on my next book. It was like an inner compulsion was propelling me to start writing. Actually I have already written about 25% of it written. It will be a book on Luke 14-15 that demonstrates how the parables of these two chapters reveal the missional nature of Jesus.
I am discovering that my story of Jesus and the fact that the evangelical point of view of Jesus is not one that is missional in nature. Actually it is a story that reveals an unreal Jesus that we have to try to become like. It is a Jesus who asks us to travel to him, a distant Jesus who came to appease a distant angry Father. The evangelical Jesus of my history is one who stands on the stage, tells about Jesus dying on the cross because we are such idiots and God has to do something to reveal his glory and power. Of course this Jesus tells this with some wit and humor but the main thing is that this Jesus invites us to take a step of faith and walk to where he is. In other words, this version of Jesus stands and waits for us to come.
But the Jesus I read about in the Gospels is actually the one who comes to us. To take the analogy further, if he were to preach he would not conclude with an invitation to come to the front while singing Just as I Am, instead he would simply conclude his sermon and then walk out into the congregation and either invite me to his house or actually invite himself to come to mine for lunch.
Of course this would mess with my Sunday afternoon ritual of plopping myself in front of the TV to get my Cowboys fix, but then what if this Jesus, this Missional Jesus came to my house and watched the Cowboys with me, and instead of sitting around and talking about "spiritual things" he actually got to know me.
That is the kind of Jesus I read about in Luke 14-15, a missional Jesus who traveled from a far country to meet me where I am. "Just as I Am" is true, but it is also false. I don't "come," he does.