I was previewing a DVD that I would like to use for teaching in our young adult class. The title is "Not a Fan" and the author is Kyle Idleman (who has published a book under the same title). This is really great stuff which most knee jerk liberal, progressive Christians (like me?) will likely ignore because the author is decidedly conservative. Wade through the language wall of traditional afterlife salvation talk and enter into the challenging world of deep discipleship. Kyle has nailed it for conservatives and liberals alike. Jesus does not need any more fans, Jesus needs followers. Do we admire Jesus or do we follow Jesus? Idleman's film challenges our notions of faithfulness. Prayers, songs of praise, warm hearts of affection for God, and time spent at homeless shelters do not honor Jesus. In a particularly powerful seen, the protagonist has brought his daughter to a local homeless shelter to work. His daughter is fed up with the rude behavior of one of the shelter's clients. Father asks daughter "What is her name?" Daughter answers "I have no idea, she is the girl over there at that table." Father then asks his daughter "Why are you here?" Daughter answers "because it is where I am supposed to be." Father then tells his daughter "Go home and come back when you want to be here."
How do we measure want and desire? I am not sure, but this I know.... Jesus would never describe a client in a shelter as "the girl over there at that table." Jesus would seek a relationship with that girl. Relationships begin with learning someone's name. When we know the name of someone who happens to be poor then poverty moves from being an issue into being a flesh and blood personal tragedy. When we learn the name of another person, acts of discipleship turn from ministry to towards ministry with another human being. True followers of Jesus build love through relationships. All relationships begin when we ask persons new to us "What is your name?"