“Born again” is all messed up…

I never really have liked that language… and in fact you probably won’t ever hear me use it in conversation or speaking.
Here is from Richard Rohr (Adam’s Return)

It seems that most of humanity intuited the need for two births: the first a physical one, and the second a spiritual one, which was necessary to make sense of the first. The phrase “born again” now tends to mean “a Southern USA version of the Christian message,” or a person who has had a certain emotional experience. Someone who is born again usually has a moral and individualistic character, is tied to sets of words, and is extremely self-assured, often with a kind of warrior-for-God energy. Yet after the rebirth of authentic initiation, the effect tends to be much the opposite: ecstatic, communal, earthy, and humble – more the lover-and-wise-man energy.

Jesus term for such a big-picture thinking was the “Kingdom of God” or “Reign of God,” but we have altered it into “my” kingdom and my salvation experience. Being born again does not often feel like a rebirth but more like a continuation of the first biological and cultural birth, with some new buzz words added and some specific actions subtracted – drinking, cussing, gambling, homosexuality, abortion, and dancing being toward the top of the list, none of which Jesus talked about. Too often, there is little or no critique of one’s self, one’s own country, or the closed culture of the born agains. This culture is not prepared to preach the Gospel to all nations because it frankly never leaves home, and it tries to bring everybody back there.

4 thoughts on ““Born again” is all messed up…

  1. Love ya Nate… but I’ve got to disagree. I consider myself “born-again.”

    I like “born-again” because I believe in the equations:
    Born twice = die once.
    Born once = die twice.

    But I am going to ponder what you’ve written… let the pondering begin… 🙂


  2. Josh,
    I want to hear a little more about the equations. Are you saying that if you are born twice… ie born again… that when you die the physical death you then live in eternity? and if you are only born once that you die physically and then die in eternity? So you don’t believe in eternal punishment in hell?

    Not saying I believe that either, but I am just trying to understand the last equation there.

    My other question is this – the born again thing… is it only good for what happens to us after we die the physical death? Is that all that we should be concerned about? It just doesn’t seem to me that Jesus spent that much time emphasizing life after death. What good news does “born again” offer people here and now? How do we proactively help people discover an actual second birth?… not an abstract one that distances them from this world we live in now.


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