I’ve sometimes wondered about doing a book of the year feature for this blog. Last year Surprised by Hope would clearly have been my winner followed by The New Conspirators: Creating the Future One Mustard Seed at a Time. This year, though we are only at the end of February, I reckon I may well have found the book of the year already, it is ReJesus: A Wild Messiah for a Missional Church by Mike Frost and Alan Hirsch.
The book is very clearly set out (the introduction has the helpful sub heading ‘read this bit first’ and the conclusion ‘read this bit last’) and the material is very accessible. Even the difficult theological chapter is not really very difficult – though it is seriously theological.
Basically the book is a call to re-examine the stories of Jesus and to place him back at the centre of our lives in all that we do. At it’s root this is a book about the ‘doctrine of Christ’ but it does not allow you the luxury of sitting back and thinking about theology it urgently calls you to reshape your life in the example of the Master – to be re-Jesused.
There are lots of good pen-portraits of what the authors call little Jesuses; people who allowed themselves to be moulded by the Lord and to live their lives completely influenced by him. These are inspirational in themselves, but also serve as good examples of the subject matter.
I defy anyone to read the story of Peter and Paul meeting in an inn and catching up with each others’ news without a tear in their eye – it’s imaginative and moving stuff.
Here is a taste of what they have to say:
… worship as the Bible characterizes it cannot be limited to singing praise and worship songs to God. Although it includes this, it is far more all-encompassing than that. Worship is nothing less than offering our whole lives back to God though Jesus. It is taking all the elements that make up human life, (family, friendships, money, work, nation etc.) and presenting them back to the One who gives them their ultimate meaning in the first place. But what is discipleship if it is not the same type of action? Sure discipleship is taking all that is me (body and soul) and over a lifetime directing it to God through Jesus. But the discerning reader would immediately notice that this sounds like a good definition of mission as well, because mission, insofar that it involves us, entails the redemption of a lost world and bringing it back to God. This is what constitutes the biblical idea of holiness – the redemption of the everyday and of everything in oneness in response to God. (p.125)