I was ill late last week with an annoying head cold, so I decided to take Saturday off and heal.
Lately, I’ve been listening to the weekly Phil Vischer Podcast, which talks from a Christian perspective on issues facing American culture and Christianity. Vischer, best known as the creator of VeggieTales, offers the comic relief and pushes the conversation forward, but his co-hosts, Christian Taylor and Skye Jethani, offer the more serious insights.
Jethani, in particular, gets me thinking. I was familiar with his writings at “Out of Ur” (now called Parse) and have read them occasionally, but he comes across better in recordings than in print. Also intriguing to me: He graduated from a college in my area and now lives in Wheaton, Ill., and routinely interacts with students from my alma mater and examines those interactions.
Jethani is a pastor and current editor for Leadership Journal, which is a satellite magazine of Christianity Today intended for Christian leaders. I watched several videos featuring Jethani on Saturday and was blown away by how good they are, not only in their spiritual content but in their conciseness in teaching. Jethani gets to the point and makes it live.
Below are three video links from Jethani that I think everyone should watch. I can’t stress enough how excellent they are. And again, he gets right to the point.
Jethani wrote a book called With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God, and in the following video, unpacks the main points in 19 minutes. This video was so good, I sat down with my 13-year-old son to watch it together. He was touched by it in a way I’ve never seen.
This second video, about 50 minutes long, is aimed more at church leaders and talks about how ministry models must change to better present Jesus to people who are dissatisfied with current church programming and intent. It’s dead on and reflects many of the themes I’ve discussed here.
Finally, in 45 minutes, Jethani cuts through all the noise and confusion and gets to the heart of life: What is the Gospel? (Unfortunately, this video link can’t be embedded, so you’ll have to go to YouTube to watch it.)
Skye Jethani—What is the Gospel?
I hope you have an opportunity to watch these videos. I think you’ll be remarkably blessed.
Lastly, I want to recommend an exceptional book that is not by Jethani but further expands his thoughts on vocation in the second video above:
The Other Six Days: Vocation, Work, and Ministry in Biblical Perspective by R. Paul Stevens.
It’s not only a fantastic look at how the modern Church has totally misunderstood genuine community but also how Christian ideals of community give meaning to people’s vocations, especially those careers that are NOT in “full-time Christian ministry.” This is one of the best Christian books I’ve read in the last five years. A little more academic, but it’s powerful nonetheless.
Have a blessed week.
3 thoughts on “The Gospel, Millennials, Vocation, and How to Be a Real Christian”
I have been listening to the Phil Vischer Podcast as well recently. I found it after I began my podcast and I’ve become an avid fan. My wife and I both think Skye is one of the most articulate and thoughtful people we’ve seen out there. On the podcast and in speech and video, he is one of the best communicators our there right now.
Excellent videos! Very helpful in framing the issues. I may be a ‘boomer’ by definition but I’ve long been a ‘millenial’ by thought process. (must be my aversion to conventional wisdom as has been dispensed by the organizations/institution)
I don’t have time right now to watch the videos, but your mention of Phil Vischer as the creator of VeggieTales reminded me of an article I read a while back that stayed with me. Here’s the link:
A Vischer quote: “I looked back at the previous 10 years and realized I had spent 10 years trying to convince kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity … We’re drinking a cocktail that’s a mix of the Protestant work ethic, the American dream, and the gospel … Our gospel has become a gospel of following your dreams and being good so God will make all your dreams come true. It’s the Oprah god.”
Then Barrett Johnson comments:
“So what is your objective?
Do you teach your kids “be good because the Bible tells you to” or do you teach your kids that they will never be good without Christ’s offer of grace? There is a huge difference. One leads to moralism; the other leads to brokenness. One leads to self-righteousness; the other leads to a life that realizes that Christ is everything and that nothing else matters.”
All I can add is “Amen.”