You’re old enough to kill
But not for votin’
You don’t believe in war
But what’s that gun you’re totin’?
You know God is doing a new thing in the world when He brings a new awareness of Jesus. Fifty years ago a spiritual awakening began that was all about Jesus. 1968 was the most turbulent year of the sixties. Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated. Riots broke out at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Students lost faith in the political process to change anything. Widespread disillusionment set in. And suddenly, Jesus started showing up in the lyrics of popular music. People who didn’t know anything about Jesus were singing about Him. Soon, a generation of boomers were turning to Jesus for the answers family, society, culture and the institutional church failed to provide them. Noel Stookey wrote a song about being in a lifeless, irrelevant church and nevertheless leaving a note in the offering plate that read, “I believe in You.” Institutions were rejected, but Jesus was the answer people were seeking.
Today, millennials are fed up with showy church services, flashy worship music, expensive buildings and promotions when the poor and homeless are all around us. When they find out Jesus blesses the poor, feeds the hungry, returns good for evil, makes peace, and refuses to retaliate, this Jesus makes sense to them. They find Jesus to be radically different than the Christianity that has been popularized in the media.
So here at the Catch, we’re going to champion Jesus by focusing on his actual words as recorded in the gospels — the words that in some Bibles are printed in red so as to emphasize their importance. And they are important — more important than any other words because in these last days, says the writer of Hebrews, God has spoken to us in His Son. This is what we need to know.
And here’s the catch, these words are different than what we are hearing largely from the church. They convey a radical message; they always have. Yet as important as they are I would venture to guess that the average Christian is more familiar with the words of Paul than the words of Jesus. Why is this?
At least two reasons: 1) Paul is easier to understand. 2) Jesus hides what He says in parable, metaphor, irony, and hyperbole, and then invites us to come and find it. We have to work to get it. That’s why He was always saying, “He who has ears, let him hear.” Well, of course we all have ears, but we are not all listening.
Listen. You’re going to hear something radically different than what is represented by much of Christianity today — certainly that which is now called evangelical. God is doing a new thing in the world.