Friday, May 05, 2006

"Unease Isolation"

Every now and then I'll go onto Google and see what people are saying about some things. For instance, "Otter Creek" and "Change Agents" is always fun. But I also will search for things I'm reading. In this case, I searched "Mere Discipleship" and "Lee Camp" and got a really interesting review of it, called Overcoming Unease Isolation with Mere Discipleship.

There are several good quotes in it, including
If I could contribute to the making of a clichĂ©, Lee Camp’s new book, Mere Discipleship is a red pill on offer to us in this flood of blue pills which stock the shelves of so many Christian book stores. “Mere Discipleship” trusts God enough to ask hard questions. Lee Camp makes theologian John H. Yoder and the Anabaptist witness to the Christianity lived by the early Christians accessible to those whose theological reading never ventures passed Phillip Yancey and who think “Anna Baptist” is a woman’s name.

However, the other really interesting quote is this one:
The Christian book market is constantly flooded with material that leaves people neither shaken nor stirred; books that do little more than dress up our confined consumerist lifestyles of comfort and conformity in Christian clothing (even cool Christian clothing) in the interest of being “relevant”. I encounter countless people who share what I’ve come to diagnose as Unease Isolation. Unease Isolation symptoms (or Angst Isolation in its more severe cases) often include feeling like you are the only one in a sea of worshipping people who feels something isn’t right. They feel like the Christ they encountered in their initial conversion called and empowered them for something more than ‘doing church’ whether it is doing mega-church or doing alternative-cafĂ©-church. They feel Christ called and empowered them to BE church.
I really like all of this quote but I especially like the coining of the term "unease isolation." That feeling that you wonder if you're the only one who has questions about the way things are. And that's a lonely place to be, especially if you were raised in a tradition where questioning is not encourage. If you were raised in a tradition that purported to have faith and Christianity figured out. If those things were figured out, why would you ask questions? Why would you raise issues? You wouldn't, because then you might lose your circle of friends or even worse, your family, your blood relatives, might "disfellowship" you (perhaps one of the ugliest terms in Christianity).

But here's the beauty thing and this is why I love blogs and the web. Through this blog, I have come across people I don't even know that have the same concerns, even people I worship with every Sunday! Through it, I've "met" Scott Freeman, a preacher in Michigan going through a personal transformation. I've "met" Thomas Stewart, just a guy in Mississippi trying to be a faithful follower. I've made one of the closest friends I think I have these days in Adam Ellis, a guy who has seriously affected my faith in ways that I can't even imagine.

And many others of you that I don't have time or space to mention.

I've heard someone somewhere describe blogging as an outpost of the Kingdom of God on the web and it truly, truly is. Here we can encourage and edify and walk with and pray for people that we may never meet face to face this side of the new heaven and new earth. But in this way that feeling of "unease isolation" isn't really isolation any more. We may still be uneasy or have angst, but we're really not alone.

Truly in this brave new world of technology and mental teleportation to all sides of the world (because isn't that what the web truly does?), the little things in life haven't changed. A kind word here, a blessing there, the sharing of a previously unspoken idea, whether it's done face to face or through cyberspace.

God has provided us a community of faith that extends beyond the boundaries that we could have imagined 15 years ago. Praise Him for His glorious provision.

"We read to know we are not alone." (C.S Lewis)

"We write to let others know they are not alone." (Me)


TCS said...

Great quote. And thanks for the "just a guy" line. Maybe I will change my profile. ;-)

that's two Scott Freeman refernces in two days. I guess I will add one more to the list.

And for the record, theres nothing wrong with Philip Yancey.

Phil said...

I think I meant to say that you were a guy who was just trying to follow Jesus...

And no, nothing wrong with Yancey at all. I was just quoting the author.

Anonymous said...

Tommy's wrong. The guy was right on the money about Yancey.

TCS said...

That must be my brother-in-law. Some of us are simple minded and like to eat books that are the equivelant of pringles.

Anonymous said...


scott said...

Great quote. It is so reassuring to know that I am not alone in this journey. It's good to know that I'm not alone in my apathy toward much of what floods Christian bookstores.
Oh, and I'm in Texas now. And taking kind of a beating for being too "out there." Oh, well.

Jarrod Saul McKenna said...

G’day phil I’m glad you enjoyed the review, I’m Jarrod McKenna the guy who wrote it.

I too was googling to find the chapter outline for Lee’s book online from work where I found your mention of my review. The review was first written for FORGE, an emerging church network in Australia (you might have read “The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21 Century Church” by Alan Hirsch, if not, do, Alan's the instigator of Forge and may be Australia’s equivalent to Brain McLaren).

Lee Camp has been a huge influence on my life, he introduced me to… Yoder :) and saved me from just being a Constantinian lefty emerging church type. God used Lee in a big way to get me where I am today where I’m now asked by groups such as Greenpeace and The Wilderness Society to run nonviolence training at gigs they put on as well as being the director of Empowering Peacemakers in Your Community [EPYC], an outreach program of Scripture Union Australia where we work to “equipe the next generation of ecoprophets in the transformational nonviolence of Christ”. Nor do I think I would be a part of the Peace Tree Community an Anabaptist/Catholic Worker/Holy Transfiguration Monastery inspired commune, if it wasn’t for Lee’s challenge to 'be church'.

Regarding Yancey, I love his stuff and am very thankful for it. The quote was just saying Lee does a great job communicating Yoder to people who don’t read theologians but popularists who take great scholarship and make it accessible.

Something I pray God will use me to do, like he has Lee.

If people would like to read the review in full it’s now on the Jesus radicals website

Hope that’s helpful.

Grace and peace,
Jarrod McKenna (Perth, Australia)

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