Dan Kimball, author and pastor at Vintage Faith church in Santa Cruz, California, wrote:
Jesus is everywhere. I recently walked into a gas station to pay for some gas and saw some Jesus bobble-heads for sale on a shelf. I was kind of surprised to see Jesus in the gas station, but there he was, three or four of him standing in a row. As I waited to pay for the fifteen gallons I had pumped into my rusty 1966 Ford Mustang, the Jesus bobble-heads silently stared at me, all politely smiling and nodding in unison.
Not too long afterward, I visited a major clothing chain store. Near the entry was a display for the Jesus Action Figure. Probably a dozen or more Jesuses hung in nice plastic packaging that declared, “With pose-able arms and gliding action!” While I stood there looking at them, a woman in her early twenties grabbed one from the rack. She enthusiastically said to her companion, “I love these!” and off she ran to the cash register with Jesus under her arm.”
I love Jesus and I love all things Jesus. But it really is amazing how many people love Jesus but don’t love the church. If we are going to reclaim the art of discipleship we are going to have to reclaim it in the midst of our world and our culture in America. We are going to have to reclaim discipleship from a dying Protestant Christianity as it exists today. We are going to have to reclaim discipleship from the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church. We are going to have reclaim discipleship even though there are theological and practical stumbling blocks.
I am a missionary and I want to work within a missionary church alive within a growing missionary field, in relationship with disciples who wish to follow the way of Jesus. I believe that Christianity, particularly Anglicanism through the lens of the Episcopal Church, has something fundamentally unique to offer those who are seeking to follow Jesus. I believe and am committed to an Episcopal Church and an Episcopal Diocese in Texas that is actively making the world a better place tomorrow than it is today. I believe that our church and our people, you and I, are called to be partners with Jesus Christ restoring the world around us.
I have invited several friends to visit with us about their views and their experience and so we will hear stories from the mission front about God, Jesus, Christians and communities. We will look to the past through the lens of our Gospel (Mark, Luke, and John specifically). And, we will think about methods and models for our future. Tonight I want us to begin to reclaim the art of discipleship, by: understanding the world and culture in which we are living; understanding the challenge organized religion faces in this culture; and, understanding the stumbling blocks that lie before us as Episcopalians. Many of us here have been having these conversations about emerging topics of interest. We have been listening and engaging in a conversation of “generous orthodoxy,” “off road disciplines” and the “renewing of our heart.” But it is time to bring it home to the Episcopal Church.
(intro to “The Art and Method of Discipleship,”The Blandy Lectures, SSW, 2009)