Jesus knew very well that “the medium is the message.”1 Therefore, he did not come to establish a new religion; he came to establish a new community. Peter Steinfels said,
The work of Jesus was not a new set of ideals or principles for reforming or even revolutionizing society, but the establishment of a new community, a people that embodied forgiveness, sharing, and self-sacrificing love in its rituals and discipline. In that sense, the visible church is not to be the bearer of Christ’s message, but to be the message.2
Do I bear the message or am I the message? What happens when I feel I must choose between speaking the message and modeling the message? To which do I naturally default, bearing or embodying? Let us confess our answers one to another.
1 Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, Marshall McLuhan, McGraw Hill, 1964.
2 Peter Steinfels, On John Howard Yoder, qtd. in The New Christians: Dispatches From The Emergent Frontier, Tony Jones, Jossey-Bass, 2008.