* All “boldened” sections have been highlighted by me.
“When the church fails to be a listening community, attentive to the cries of the poor, then the gospel is implausible and alternative social philosophies take on an air of plausibility. When the church becomes a site of bitter enmity [unforgiveness, unresolved sources of bitterness, hurt, disappointment, cynicism etc] while the world is spinning ever more quickly into war and violence, then the gospel is not only implausible, it is an embarrassment. In the face of such failures to be a community that embodies the truth that can save the world, it is no wonder that alternative visions become more plausible to us.”
[While not all will agree, this general “failure” of the church in the Protestant West to be the resurrection people of God has provided significant impetus and energy to both those who have left church and the so-called “emerging” critique of what Church has been reduced too at the end of the 20th century in the West.]
“The knowledge that Paul is talking about in this passage [Col. 2:1-4] is “Christ himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” One wouldn’t think that that once we have met in this Christ all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, no mere imitation of wisdom, no false claims to knowledge, could ever be plausible to us again. But the implausibility of the opposition is dependent on the plausibility of the gospel as it is enfleshed in the historical, cultural, [everyday contemporary] life of the church.”
The interlocutor responds:
“So the church needs to put up or shut up?”