Right from the beginning, you need to understand who I am, and who I am not. I am a Change Agent, a provocateur, an ‘innocent fool’ and I am not a prophet. I wrote a book called Dangerous Undertaking; The Search for Transformation. It is a story about the quest to become an authentic person, someone who sees the potential in everyone and the world. Someone like Parsifal, the original innocent fool whose life became a quest for the Holy Grail of ultimate meaning and purpose. Like Parsifal, I am innocent in the sense that I look at the world differently. I am a fool because I believe by asking the right questions, I can inspire people to heal their own wounds so that they can heal the wounds of the world. I am not a prophet although I sense that I have been encouraged by God to deliver His message about the urgent need for local churches to realise their potential. [I am also about to publish a second book called Imagining Rama. To know more about it Click Here.]
G. K. Chesterton wrote a classic book about Christian Apologetics in 1908 called Orthodoxy. Reading it over one hundred years later I was struck by how well he described falling in love with Christianity, warts and all. “Christianity came into the world firstly in order to assert with violence that a man had not only to look inwards, but to look outwards, to behold with astonishment and enthusiasm a divine company and a divine captain. The only fun of being a Christian was that a man was not left alone with the Inner Light, but definitively recognized an outer light, fair as the sun, clear as the moon, terrible as an army with banners.”
Chesterton’s improbable journey toward discovering the truth and splendor of Christianity seems to sum up my own. I was not initially an agnostic like him; I was born into belief. Still, some forty years later, I was ‘born again’ and began to know Jesus rather than knowing about God and church. As it usually does, this experience led me to attempt to share my exhilaration about my encounter with Jesus with others. That initial fervor cooled after a time but never left me. I also wanted to understand more about my ‘captain’ and began to read the Bible, many Christian books, and finally got a Certificate in Theology. As the years went by, I tried to find my purpose in Jesus’ plan but was never completely satisfied. Gradually I began to see more of the church’s warts than its beauty. But I never stopped loving it.
Finally, in a luncheon conversation with a good friend in Sydney, I realized that if you love someone, you must do all that you can to come to their aid in difficult times. That is why I am creating this Blog – to help Christians come to the aid of someone they love, by transforming their local church into one that has a passion for Jesus’ mission. The church is not a thing, an organization with structure and processes and rules (although it has those). It is foremost and always a living community, the body of Christ. The principal source of life in the church is the local church, not ‘top management.’ So, if the church that we love is wounded and unwell, it is the local church that must be healed. Church leaders can only exhort, support and stay out of the way. We ‘little people in the pews” must transform it
© 2011 James Harlow Brown, All rights reserved.