While our Worship Arts team was in Chicago last summer (for the Willow Creek Arts Conference), I came across this book by Brian McLaren, an author I'd never read before. I was captivated by the title, but even more so by the subtitle: "Uncovering the Truth That Could Change Everything." So I purchased a copy during a break between workshops and started reading right away. I was blown away.
Perhaps a more "correct" title would be "The Secretive Message of Jesus" but that doesn't have as much pizzazz. The message itself wasn't really a "secret" (as long as listeners "had ears to hear). The real secret was in the method of delivery. The book is all about the subtle, secretive, hidden ways (all those parables!) that Jesus used to deliver His message of the Kingdom of God. While Jesus' Kingdom Message was not intended to remain hidden, it would always be paradoxical and in direct contradiction to any kingdom of this world.
It's truly an amazing book that really opens one's eyes about Jesus and His mission (and ours). As McLaren asks on his DeepShift website, "What does it mean, in today's world, to be a follower of God in the way of Jesus?"
My small group at church is courageously working its way through this challenging book. Like the original audiences who heard His words, we find ourselves struggling at times with all the deep ramifications of what Jesus was saying and doing. The words of that poem in the corner ("This Is Who We Are") are really the lyrics to a song I wrote in response to McLaren's book. I wish I could say they were reflective of the real me. I fall short of them every day. But I keep them right there as a personal reminder of what I am (we are) supposed to be as followers of this amazing Person.