Why would anyone want to start all over again to know Jesus? Here are two answers:
- As Oswald Chambers said in the devotion above, for the “freshness” of the relationship. For the residual power present from an encounter that just happened. To prevent our witness from getting old. To be the love of Christ for others that we just felt in ourselves.
- Because Jesus has been kidnapped by one or another cultural-compromise; such as, the Jesus of the prosperity gospel, or the Jesus of White Male Macho Nationalism.
Along these same lines, book writers do interviews. I am answering questions about my new book from both secular and religious sources. I just wrote an answer to the question:
What are the biggest conflicts or obstacles to embracing God who is just love? Here is part of my answer:
Let’s just say it. Christianity, in some of its doctrinal, institutional and culturally corrupted forms.
Over the past three years of research and writing, the question that I have asked the most is, “Who Is Jesus?” There is an endless progression of related questions. What does Jesus teach us about God, about reading and interpreting scripture and discerning the truth from the lie? What does Jesus teach me about loving my neighbor and opposing evil? What do we mean when we say, “Jesus saves.” What is the message of Jesus concerning the Kingdom of God? What are we talking about when we say Jesus is, ”Christ?” How do we, in actual practice, let Jesus live in us and how do we walk with Him? Who was Jesus, really, before institutional, patriarchal, dominance-driven, wealth worshipping (Thus, creation destroying.), big-time builder of systemic injustice and judgmental religion got ahold of Him?
Christianity has been my biggest obstacle. My biggest conflict is with Christians who want to know Jesus only as he has been handed over to them by church traditions and cultural mis-appropriations, such as “White Male Violent Christian Nationalism”.
I have learned that I have only one good choice; that is to follow the recommendation of Marcus Borg, and many others, in his book, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time. I have read a dozen or so amazing books about Jesus over the past three years. However, mostly this journey into Jesus is guided by prayer and daily reading in the gospels. Followers of Jesus must re-invent Christianity for the 21st Century and beyond.
There are a variety of ways to encounter Jesus anew, including prayer and reading a good book. My younger and smarter brother, Jim, recently recommended, Jesus Today, by Albert Nolan, who also wrote, Jesus Before Christianity. I am into it because Nolan is a South African Dominican priest who played a significant role to setting Jesus, and the people, free from their His corrupted captivity to the White Male Macho Nationalism, called “apartheid” in his country. Here it is called, “white supremacy.”
Daily reading of the gospels in is highly recommended to serious seekers after Jesus. Today’s reading was Matthew 8:5-13, the healing of the Centurion’s servant. Here is what I heard, as fresh as this new day, about Jesus.
He is not the Jesus of anyone’s nationalism. To Jesus, there are no favored nations or favored professions, or favored anythings.
What brings Jesus joy, and even amazes Him, is when he sees faith operating in someone’s life, the foreigner, the child, the cast aside or the down-trodden.
Stay tuned for more encounters with Jesus, as fresh as the bread that is about to come out of my oven.