Following the Examples of Jesus….

November 20, 2012 — Leave a comment

Here is a quote by Philip Gulley in his book entitled The Evolution of Faith – How God is creating a better Christianity that will be used for this discussion.

To be sure, if one believes Christianity is primarily about worshipping Jesus, a faith that incorporates other religious traditions will be considered heretical. But if one believes Christianity is primarily about following the example of Jesus, then it is easy to imagine a faith informed by men and women of goodwill, though of diverse traditions. If the future of the Christian faith is creedalism and believing the right things about Jesus, then other traditions will be viewed as the enemy at worst, or contaminants at best. It will be a return to the Age of Belief, and in that sense a spiritual regression. But if the future of the Christian faith is about taking the best from each tradition, while helping people negotiate their spiritual journeys with grace and dignity, then the church might well inspire a world made new. 

I admittedly am a big fan of Philip Gulley. Mr. Gulley is a Quaker and a Hoosier so that probably influences me to some degree.  If you haven’t figured it out by now I tend to gravitate to those authors who believe that the words and teachings of Jesus should be central to all forms of Christianity. Being a follower of Jesus Christ is in my mind much more important than reciting man-made creeds about him.

If we think that following the example of Jesus is primary then it just seems logical that we will celebrate other religious and even secular organizations that do likewise. If we put our creeds on the back burner then there is no reason to look at all others as the enemy of Christianity. We can celebrate what we have in common and as Mr. Gulley says here we could then inspire the world made new.

  • Following the examples and teachings of Jesus would naturally mean that we  would migrate from primarily occupying pews on Sunday to becoming involved in our communities seven days a week. That would certainly get the world’s attention.
  • Following Jesus would mean that we would have compassion for the “least of these” and fight any attempts to unravel our country’s safety nets.
  • Following Jesus would mean that we celebrate life in all aspects and be against death in all it forms. That includes: abortion, capital punishment, war, and allowing other to die from preventable causes.
  • Following Jesus would mean that we would become an immense force for good in the world.  It would mean that we would take back from our government much of the role of care-givers.  If that were to happen I am very confident that Christianity would take it place as a force for good in the world. It would mean a world made new.

Jesus said he is the way to heaven and therefore I believe that. To me that means that to get there you are to follow his examples and teachings. It does not mean that heaven only belongs to those who say the “right” creeds but instead it belongs to those who at least try to do what he commanded of us. I will not take the power away from Jesus to accept our Muslim, Hindi, Jewish, and other friends into heaven and I think in the end he will do just that.

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