One of my favorite authors and Christian thinkers is Dallas Willard. I spent six months in his book, Divine Conspiracy, in 2006. an EPIC book on Jesus, discipleship, and spiritual formation. Well worth your time. I referred to one of his ideas in my Crash talk on April 19th. This is the context of this concept.
“A leading American pastor laments, ‘Why is today’s church so weak? Why are we able to claim many conversions and enroll many church members but have less and less impact on our culture? Why are Christians indistinguishable from the world?’
“Should we not at least consider the possibility that this poor result is not in spite of what we teach and how we teach, but precisely because of it? Might than not lead to our discerning why the power of Jesus and his gospel has been cut off from ordinary human existence, leaving it adrift from the flow of his eternal kind of life?
“The current situation in which faith professed has little impact on the whole of life, is not unique to our times, nor is it a recent development. But is currently at an acute stage. History has brought us to the point where the Christian message is thought to be essentially concerned only with how to deal with sin: with wrongdoing or wrong-being and its effects. Life, our actual existence, is not included in what is now presented as the heart of the Christian message, or it is included only marginally . That is where we find ourselves today.
“Once we understand the disconnection between the current message and ordinary life, the failure noted at least make a certain sense. They should be expected. When we examine the broad spectrum of Christian proclamation and practice, we see that the only thing made essential on the right wing of theology is forgiveness of the individual’s sins. On the left it is the removal of social or structural evils. The current gospel then becomes a “gospel of sin management.” Transformation of life and character is no part of the redemptive message . Moment-to-moment human reality in its depths is not the arena of faith and eternal living.”
-Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy San Fransisco; Harper San Fransisco, 1997. pg. 40-41.
So, your thoughts are…? Comment away.