I think for too long we’ve made Jesus just one character or episode in the Bible. If we want to see God, we look to Jesus. In Hebrews 1:3, the writer says that Jesus is the exact representation of the Father. So I think that if we could recapture that centrality of Christ in our churches through our teaching, our worship, our way of life, well then, what would change? … We aren’t bringing Jesus into our lives: he’s welcoming us into his life. Years later, I still feel like the only place that makes sense is in his presence, the only place I want to be is in the dust of his feet….
Rather, I was more telling stories of the places where I have evolved and changed because I’m pretty sure I’ll continue to do that. I do have areas where I can’t imagine changing but I hold even those loosely now. My catalogue of Right Answers has grown smaller over the years, for sure, and I see God as much more wild and wonderful and generous than I could have ever imagined years ago.
I very much mirror almost everything mentioned in the above quote from my friends over at Red Letter Christians. For me it is all about Jesus and his words. Everything else in the Christian Bible is very secondary if even that important. I evolved into this attitude over time to where it has become the cornerstone of my spiritual life.
I don’t particularly like the phrase “What would Jesus do?” Instead I live by the idea of what would Jesus have ME do? I can’t possibly imitate Jesus in most matters in life but I can take what he teaches me in both my heart and my actions.
I remember in 2008 when I started my now archive blog at RedLetterLiving I got a comment from a fairly high authority in the Lutheran church organization I belonged to at the time that totally confused me. I admit that I didn’t really read much of my church’s writing so I didn’t realize the extent of my differences with them.
Getting back to the 2008 comment, the person asked me why I was concentrating on the words of Jesus! He said all the words of the Bible are equally important! So, to him the words about not eating meat from animals with cloven hooves was just as important as Jesus’ messages of loving each other! I was shocked by his comments but eventually discovered that is pretty much the attitude of the clergy in the Lutheran church I belonged. To me they just seem to be more of a “club” type association (they call it fellowship) who focus on adoration of their Bible rather than focusing like a laser beam on the person of Jesus.
Needless to say these revelations started me down the road asking too many questions and correspondingly being expelled from my congregation; in the end that was probably a good thing…. it allowed my faith to evolve to the next level.
If anyone is interesting in going deeper with this topic of evolving faith I would highly recommend the book shown here by Philip Gulley. Despite what some say, it is a normal process for our beliefs in God evolve as we mature. If they don’t then we are not growing in Christ as we should. Don’t get stuck in one static place just because someone tells you they have all the answers. Question everything even your spirituality. I think God expects us to do just that…. and He is certainly up to the questions.