"Progressive Christians do a good job with issues like LGBT rights," says Dennis Sanders of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Minneapolis. "But we're less good at helping people become disciples of Jesus."
Recently, a friend and I were talking about how disturbed and saddened we’ve been by the hateful and decidedly unchristian words spoken by self-proclaimed Christian leaders in recent years. The examples are too numerous to cite, and each has its own agenda of hatred and division. I complained that it was so deeply unfair that such intolerant and offensive perspectives were being allowed to speak for me and all other Christians. My friend offered a profound and simple response: “Chris, they only speak for you if you don’t speak for yourself.”
"Jesus calls us to make disciples, not just converts," says Todd Friesen of Lombard Mennonite Church in Illinois. "I believe that discipleship begins in communal worship."
Seekers often want Christianity to be a set of ideas one knows to be true, or at least to provide a feeling of certainty.
The language of vocation confirms that at no time in our lives are we exempt from responsibility for others. We never stop being called to share in the creative and redemptive activity of God through lives of discipleship.
It was the spring of 1963 in Birmingham, and it looked as if the civil rights movement would suffer yet another defeat. The powers that be had more jail space than the civil rights workers had people. But then one Sunday, reports historian Taylor Branch, 2,000 young people came out of worship at the New Pilgrim Baptist Church and prepared to march.
When you think of Jesus’ disciples, who comes to mind? Impulsive Peter and doubting Thomas? Surely. James and John, the Zebedee boys? Of course. Mary Magdalene and some of the other women mentioned in Luke 8:1-3? Yes, if we remember that Luke’s list of Jesus’ followers was much larger and more inclusive that just “the twelve.” But blind Bartimaeus? Hardly.