Mark Scandrette, the co-founder of ReIMAGINE ministry in San Francisco, brings readers into a gritty, street-level Christianity with "Soul Graffiti: Making a Life In The Way of Jesus" ($14.95 in paperback from Jossey-Bass). "No matter our aesthetics," he writes, "there is something in the motivation of the graffiti artist that we can identify with, a guttural yelp to be heard and understood, to talk back to the universe or to God when we feel helpless, abandoned, or overwhelmed." Being an apprentice to Jesus Christ means becoming, in one's very life, an authentic embodiment of the "good news" Jesus brought.
Scandrette, along with his wife and three children, live in the Mission District, and the stories he tells of street people, down-on-their-luck neighbors, and "respectable folk" are sometimes shocking, sometimes heart-breaking, always unsettling. For the author, the "emerging vision" of the church is more than just correct belief. "Our culture allows us to claim belief without validating faith by actions. Our use of the phrase 'I believe' could more accurately be substituted with 'I agree' or 'That makes sense to me' rather than 'I act on this information with fidelity and trust.'"
Scandrette will be speaking during the Jesus Center benefit dinner Thursday, March 26 from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. at Chico State University's Bell Memorial Union. Tickets are $40 with tables for eight $300; they're available by calling (530) 345-2640.
"Soul Graffiti" looks at the "school of conversion" in terms of Jesus as companion, artist, healer, and mystic (that is, one who is "conscious of the transcendent reality of God, accessing power to love through contemplative prayer, mindful surrender, and the practices of silence and solitude"). He adds that "in the experience of the early disciples, the power of Jesus' resurrection brought the spiritual metamorphosis required to inhabit the kingdom of love."
Finally, "entering the kingdom of God is a lot like learning to dance again. Somewhere in the deepest part of ourselves we have heard the music of our Maker and long to get our groove on. . . . We repent and reimagine how we live in our bodies, knowing that revolutionary force, the Spirit of God, is at work in us, wooing us toward health, wholeness, love, and peace."