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The Presiding Bishop and the Jesus Movement

The Presiding Bishop and the Jesus Movement

On his first full day in office, the Most Reverend Michael Curry released a video introducing his vision for the Episcopal Church.

Now is our time to go.  To go into the world to share the good news of God and Jesus Christ.  To go into the world and help to be agents and instruments of God’s reconciliation.  To go into the world, let the world know that there is a God who loves us, a God who will not let us go, and that that love can set us all free.
This is the Jesus Movement, and we are The Episcopal Church, the Episcopal branch of Jesus’ movement in this world.

The transcript of the video is provided by the Public Affairs Office of the Episcopal Church, in English and in Spanish.

Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry: A Word to the Church

God came among us in the person of Jesus of Nazareth to show us the Way.  He came to show us the Way to life, the Way to love.  He came to show us the Way beyond what often can be the nightmares of our own devisings and into the dream of God’s intending.  That’s why, when Jesus called his first followers he did it with the simple words “Follow me.”

“Follow me,” he said, “and I will make you fish for people.”

Follow me and love will show you how to become more than you ever dreamed you could be.  Follow me and I will help you change the world from the nightmare it often is into the dream that God intends.  Jesus came and started a movement and we are the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement.

Near the end of Matthew’s Gospel story of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, Mary Magdalene and some of the women go to the tomb to anoint his body.  When they get there they find that the tomb is empty, the stone has been rolled away and there is no body there.  Then they see and hear an angel who says to them, “This Jesus of Nazareth whom you seek, he is not here, he has been raised as he said he would be and he has now gone ahead of you to Galilee.  There you will see him.  It is in Galilee that the Risen Lord will be found and seen for he has gone ahead of us.”

Which is a way of talking about the world.
In the streets of the city.
In our rural communities.
Galilee in our hospitals.
Galilee in our office places.
Galilee where God’s children live and dwell there.
In Galilee you will meet the living Christ for He has already gone ahead of you.

A few years ago I was in a coffee shop in Raleigh, North Carolina, just a few blocks away from our Diocesan House there.  While in line I started a conversation with a gentleman who turned out to be a Mennonite pastor.  He had been sent to Raleigh to organize a church in the community on the streets without walls.  As we were talking over our coffee, he said something to me that I have not forgotten.  He said the Mennonite community asked him to do this because they believed that in this environment in which we live, the church can no longer wait for its congregation to come to it, the church must go where the congregation is.

Now is our time to go.  To go into the world to share the good news of God and Jesus Christ.  To go into the world and help to be agents and instruments of God’s reconciliation.  To go into the world, let the world know that there is a God who loves us, a God who will not let us go, and that that love can set us all free.

This is the Jesus Movement, and we are The Episcopal Church, the Episcopal branch of Jesus’ movement in this world.

God bless you, and keep the faith.


Obispo primado Michael B. Curry
Una palabra a la Iglesia

Dios vino [a habitar] entre nosotros en la persona de Jesús de Nazaret para mostrarnos el Camino. Él vino a mostrarnos el Camino  a la vida, el Camino al amor.  Vino a mostrarnos el Camino más allá de lo que con frecuencia pueden ser las pesadillas de nuestras propias concepciones y a convertirlas en el sueño del propósito de Dios. Es por eso que cuando Jesús llamó a sus primeros seguidores lo hizo con una simple palabra: “síganme”.

“Síganme”, dijo “y les haré pescadores de hombres”.

El seguirme y el amor les mostrará cómo llegar a ser más de lo que jamás soñaron que podían ser. Síganme y les ayudaré a cambiar el mundo de pesadilla, que con frecuencia es, al sueño de lo que Dios tiene pensado. Jesús vino y comenzó un movimiento y nosotros somos la rama episcopal del movimiento de Jesús.

En el relato de la resurrección de Jesús de los muertos, casi al final del evangelio de Mateo, María Magdalena y algunas mujeres van a la tumba a ungir su cadáver. Cuando llegan allí encuentran que la tumba está vacía, que han descorrido la piedra  y que no hay ningún cuerpo. Luego ven y oyen a un ángel que le dicen: “Este Jesús de Nazaret, a quien buscan, no está aquí, ha resucitado tal como dijo y va delante de ustedes a Galilea. Allí le verán”. Es en Galilea donde encontraremos y veremos al Señor Resucitado que ha ido delante de nosotros.

Que es una manera de referirse al mundo.
En las calles de la ciudad.
En nuestras comunidades rurales.
Galilea en nuestros hospitales.
Galilea en nuestras oficinas.
Galilea donde los hijos de Dios viven y moran.
In Galilea encontrarán al Cristo vivo porque ya él ya ha marchado delante de ustedes.

Hace unos pocos años, estaba en una cafetería en Raleigh, Carolina del Norte, a unas pocas cuadras de nuestra Casa Diocesana. Mientras hacía la cola comencé a conversar con un señor que resultó ser un pastor menonita. Lo habían enviado a Raleigh para organizar una comunidad religiosa sin muros, en las calles. Me dijo que la comunidad menonita le había pedido hacer esto porque creían que, en este ambiente en que vivimos, la Iglesia ya no puede esperar a que su congregación acuda a ella, sino que la Iglesia debe ir allí donde se encuentra la congregación.

Ahora es nuestro momento de salir. De ir al mundo a compartir las buenas de Dios en Jesucristo. De ir al mundo y ayudar a ser agentes e instrumentos de la reconciliación de Dios. Ir al mundo, para que el mundo sepa que hay un Dios que nos ama, un Dios que no nos desamparará, y que ese amor puede liberarnos a todos.

Este es el Movimiento de Jesús, y nosotros somos la Iglesia Episcopal, la rama episcopal del Movimiento de Jesús en el mundo.

Dios les bendiga y les guarde en la fe.


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Jeremy Bates

“The Gospel is that God came to kill us.”

One can be in favor of a demanding spirituality and yet think that this phrase is something that no Christian should ever think, utter, or type.

There are enough nutsos out there who actually believe that the so-called rapture requires Armageddon, nuclear or otherwise.

And the whole point of substitutionary atonement–if one goes even that far–is that it is a substitution.

Honestly, Christians need to be more careful with our rhetoric. We need to think about how it sounds to someone who comes in the church door for the first time.

Prof Christopher Seitz

Maybe churches need slogans, but it strikes me that this is a consumerist idea. The UCC probably does need to worry about lack of ‘consumers’…

I hope we don’t take ideas they believe are hot ones, at any rate.

One wonders how much thought has gone into these slogans as actually representative of TEC’s character and identity. They sound more like his recycled identifiers that +Curry has warmed crowds up with. That’s fine so far as it goes. The danger is if the challenge calls for a different kind of approach and ‘Jesus Movement’ goes the way of ‘Decade of Evangelism.’

God bless him and his staff during what will be a very challenging first triennium.

Leslie Marshall

…and Christianity is the only faith not based on merit.

Philip Snyder

They only way that we can “proclaim by word and example” “that there is a God who loves us, a God who will not let us go, and that that love can set us all free” is if we can talk of what God has done for us and in us to not let ourselves go and to set us free. We cannot attest to what we have not experienced.

The Gospel is not that Jesus came to make us nice and to approve of us and give us self-esteem. The Gospel is that God came to kill us so that He could raise us to new life through His Son, Jesus Christ. The Gospel is that God has taken men and women who have become so twisted by sin and is in the process of straightening us out and reforming us and rebuilding us – resurrecting us – to make us instruments of reconciliation for the whole world.

We have been crucified with Christ (Gal 3:20) That is the good news. We share in his death and are sharing/will share in his Resurrection. We can call all people to come and be crucified so that they, too, can be raised.

Jeremy Bates

“The Gospel is that God came to kill us.”


David Allen

I’m just going to pass on all that. You read much into texts that isn’t there.

Philip Snyder

Do you know what John was “saying” in his baptisms? He was saying that you all (the Jews) have lost your “jewishness” – your special place. You need to perform the same rituals that Gentiles perform to become Jewish. You need to cross the Red Sea again (that is one of the things that Baptism signifies). This is why John tells Jesus that, compared to Jesus, John is the one who needed to be baptized.

Jesus was baptized because Jesus is the embodiment of Israel. Jesus IS Israel in a very special way. His life recapitulates the history of Israel. Right after his birth, he goes to Egypt (Out of Egypt have I called my son). He is baptized and then spends 40 day in the wilderness – He crosses the Red Sea and spends 40 years in the wilderness.

What was Jesus thinking when he was baptized? I don’t know. That is not recorded. Possibly he was thinking that God, his father, told him to do this and he was being obedient.

Now on to your claim that silence in one section of Scripture trumps expressed theology in another part – that Jesus’ silence on why he was baptized trumps Paul’s express theology of baptism. Isn’t the idea that we can pick and choose which parts of Holy Scripture (particularly the New Testament) that are important expressly forbidden in the Articles of Religion? But, then, you don’t care for the AoR, the Book of Common Prayer, or the teachings of the New Testament when those things don’t agree with what you believe or want to be true.

David Allen

Philip, what was Jesus doing in his baptism? Was he pre-conceiving his death burial & resurrection? Or was he participating with John in the Jewish understanding of the ritual bath? And what did Jesus mean when he said to go into the world and to baptize folks? Paul hadn’t come along and given baptism a new definition, so did the Jewish followers of Jesus have it wrong because that wasn’t the concept they had of their baptisms?

Philip Snyder

Yes, Baptism is also a ritual bath. It is ALL of these things – a crossing of the Red Sea, a Ritual Bath, and sharing in Jesus’ crucifixion. We don’t get to pick and choose which of these are true, they all are true.

God’s plan to redeem the world and to defeat sin and death is to destroy death and sin by suffering the worst it could dish out and to emerge victorious on the other side. The Crucifixion of Jesus – God incarnate, the 2nd Person of the Trinity – was God’s plan to defeat sin and death. Jesus had to die to be resurrected. When we are baptized, we are baptized into Jesus’ death so that we can share in his resurrection.

Jeremy Bates

Philip, baptism is also a ritual bath–about being cleansed from sin. And the whole point of the Red Sea is that the Israelites did not die.

“You cannot have Easter without Good Friday” is a nicely self-flagellating aphorism. But of course it raises the question of who crucified Jesus. I don’t think God did.

Philip Snyder

Baptism is a powerful symbol. In its fullest expression (immersion), it simulates the person drowning. It uses water as a symbol of the chaos out of which God brought order. It is also a potent symbol of Israel passing through the Red Sea.

Yes, Jesus did come to give us life and that we might have life more abundantly. There are two Greek words for “life.” “Bios” (from which we get biology. Everything alive has bios. The other word (and the word that Jesus uses in John 10:10) is “zoe” (from which we get the word “zoology.” It means the fullness of life – the New Life that the Holy Spirit (the Lord, the Giver of Life) gives us.

But to enter this new life, we must die to the old one. We must be baptized into Christ’s death – we must “take up our cross” (the instrument of death) to follow Jesus. Then we can be given this new life. Then we can say “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20).

The Good News is that we give our lives to God who then resurrects them – gives them new life – life that does not require us to take, but causes us to, like God, empty ourselves (Phil 2:7) to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

You cannot have Easter without Good Friday. You cannot have Eucharist without the agony in the garden and the betrayal of Jesus. You cannot have light without the darkness and chaos upon the face of the deep. You cannot have the new life without the death of the old one.

We love to talk about having abundant life and about how much God loves us. If we only concentrate on that (and it is true that God does love us), we forget that we are in active rebellion against God and that our natural state is not a state of friendship with God, but of rebellion. We like to think that we are good people who just have to have our rough edges smoothed out. The truth is that we are rebels who need to surrender and lay down our arms.

Jeremy Bates

Philip, I assume you are referring to Galatians 2:20, not 3:20. Gal. 2:20, in context, says nothing about God doing the killing of the self that dies to sin. Rather, according to this passage, it is the law that kills. “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God”:

16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.

18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.

20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Here one might object that “the law” too comes from God–but obviously the text does not push the point too far.

Romans 6 also does not refer to God killing us. Rather, the image is that baptism makes us dead to sin.

6 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Of course, these are both extended metaphors. In my opinion to say that the Good News is that God came to kill us pushes the metaphor much too far.

It is also quite contrary to the words of Jesus himself, in John 10.

7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.

8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

According to John 10:10, it is the “thief” who wants to “kill” the “sheep.” Jesus came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly.

I think that’s a better metaphor for the Jesus Movement. Don’t you?

Leslie Marshall

‘…those that wish to come after me, must deny themselves (kill the flesh), pick up their cross, and follow me…’ — jesus.

My whole walk with Jesus is about me not getting the one thing that I want [ever].

The new Bishop sounds lively and full of God’s spirit, I’m hopeful for his new leadership. I agree w/ most of what he said, except the phrase, ‘the dream of God’s intending’.

Doesn’t really ring true for me…that Jesus would say something like..”I will show you how to become more than you ever dreamed of being…’

I like his term: ‘Jesus Movement’. I like the term ‘Revival’ . [My second favorite book is, ‘Calvary Road’, by R. Hession.]

Philip Snyder

Doug – Lol. 🙂

I should have said that Christianity is the only faith that offers this new life – the Resurrection life.

Doug Simpson

“Christianity is the only faith that promises new life …”

While I am being a bit tongue in cheek here, I pretty sure Hinduism promises a whole lot of new lives.

Philip Snyder

Jeremy – the language of death to the old nature so that it can be raised in the new life – the resurrection life – is all through scripture. Paul specifically says that he has been crucified with Christ (Gal 3:20) and when we are baptized, we are baptized into his death (Rom 6:3-6) so that we can be raised in his Resurrection.

I put it so inelegantly on purpose. As Bill Paul said above, TEC (and American Christianity in general) has become too much “feel good” religion where we act as if Christ came to say “there, there, that’s ok.” Jesus Christ came to kill our sinful nature (and without him, our nature is sinful) so that he can raise it to new life – the life of the Spirit – the life animated by the Spirit. The “Spiritual Body” of I Cor 15:44.

Christianity is the only faith that promises new life and it is only through Jesus Christ that we have any hope of Resurrected life with God.

William (Bill) Paul III

Shouldn’t speak for him but probably he is trying, without elegance, to get at mortification-vivification, death-to-self, old self/new self, dynamic. See Flannery O’Connor though on value of shocking language when she was asked why one her characters drown to symbolize baptism. She said s’thing like ‘for the blind and nearly blind we need to draw pictures that are large and simple.’ Elegance of expression was not her ultimate concern!
I am sympathetic to his point though and detect more than a little domestication of the gospel in our denomination, despite the hurrah and vigor of the rhetoric, and feel a good bit of Enlightenment Christianity coming through in what is left out, and our failure to risk owning the scandal of particularity.

Doug Simpson

The UCC has a good thing going with their “God is Still Speaking” campaign. Might be a good example to look up. I certainly like it.

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