Wednesday, January 28, 2009

what did who say?

So, over the weekend, I'm in Lexington, KY, and drop in at a coffee shop near downtown, to get some joe and get on the internet. As I'm leaving, I pass a table with lots of stuff on it, mostly papers and flyers and such. One of those bits of stuff catches my eye, a postcard-size paper put there by some kind of new church called Embrace, and UMC church. The part at the bottom of the front of it was what raised the eyebrows. Here it is.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learned (sic?) the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.
--Jesus Christ

I've looked online, but it seems this church or whatever it is doesn't yet have a website. There is a UMC church in Sioux City, IA, with that same name. I'm not sure enough to say if Lexington's is an offshoot or not. At the least, the Sioux City church's We Believe page seems ok enough.

I think I recognize the passage butchered in the above (quote/unquote) quote.

Matthew 11
25(AG)At that time Jesus said, "I praise You, (AH)Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that (AI)You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.
26"Yes, (AJ)Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.

27"(AK)All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father (AL)except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

28"(AM)Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

29"Take My yoke upon you and (AN)learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and (AO)YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.

30"For (AP)My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

I don't know what version this church used to find thsi version of Jesus' words. I'd almost say the Message, but the Message comes off more stilted, usually. I almost think someone in the church made it up themselves; after all, it comes off more as self-serving propoganda then anything else, at least to me.

Where, in the passage taken from the Bible, does Jesus say anything about being "burned out on religion"? Or "get away with me"? What the heck is "the unforced rhythm of grace"? Or what about "you'll recover your life", what does that mean?

I don't know if embrace is some kind of emergent church, some kind of seeker-friendly one, or one of those blendings of the two that seem to be coming around. I suspect that latter.

The thing here is to raise questions about what the heck they're trying to do if their "Jesus" speaks like that. It seems quite a little twisting of what Jesus really was trying to say.


Ethan & Holly said...

Hmm, the "unforced rhythm of grace"... sounds like something out of Velvet Elvis. I'm not sure if this stuff is over my head because I'm ignorant or if it's over my head because it makes no sense.

Keep the faith!

jazzact13 said...

I'm voting for "it makes no sense", that it's basically a bunch of nice-sounding words strung together to create a nice-sounding but essentially meaningless phrase.