Have we got something wrong? A Conversation with Francis Chan
By Jonathan Allen, Thursday 23rd May 2019 at 3:59pm
A friend recently recommended that I read Francis Chan’s latest book, Letters to the Church. Frankly, I was skeptical. But I did purchase a copy and, when it arrived, started skimming through the font matter. Then I reached the beginning of the first chapter, which he calls, “The Departure”. I was arrested!
Imagine you find yourself stranded on a desert island with nothing but a copy of the Bible. You have no experience with Christianity whatsoever, and all you know about the Church will come from your reading of the Bible. How do you imagine a church to function? Seriously. Close your eyes for two minutes and try to picture “Church” as you would know it.
Now think about your current church experience. Is it even close?
Can you live with that?
Now, of course, Tikkun America isn’t about ‘church’, we’re about ‘congregation’. We aren’t ‘Christian’, we are Messianic Jews. And we accept a lot of cultural conditioning from Jewish tradition – the Torah, the liturgy and so on – but I think we can still learn a lot about ourselves and what we are doing by sharing some of Chan’s journey and his thoughts along the way.
Why do we do the things we do and is it always pleasing to God? Chan suggests that “what we are experiencing is radically different” from what we read in Scripture. “We have trained people sitting in the pews,” he goes on, on the back cover of the book, “to become addicted to lesser things.” Is that so and, if it is, what might we want to do about it? What might Yeshua want us to do about it? These are big questions!
So over the course of the next few weeks or so, as I read through the book, we’re going to share a conversation with Chan and bring pieces of his writing for us to critique together. Of course, for this to be a conversation, you’ll need to join in, so I’m looking forward to hearing what you think and how you respond to Chan’s ideas. You can stick with the blog posts, or you can buy your own copy of the book and read ahead to see where we might be going. Either way, I hope you enjoy the ride!