I read chapter one this morning in So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore by Wayne Jacobsen and Dave Coleman and from what I can gather so far, it involves reflecting on what John the apostle might have to say about Jesus if he were alive today. Here is some of his description of first-hand experience of Jesus:
“But he was as gentle a man as one would ever know. He could silence detractors without ever raising his voice. He never bullied his way; never drew attention to himself nor did he ever pretend to like what vexed his soul. He was real, to the very core.
“And at the core of that being was love.” The stranger paused and shook his head. “Wow! Did he love!” His eyes looked far past the crowd now, seeming to peer across the depths of time and space. “We didn’t even know what love was, until we saw it in him. It was everyone, too, even those who hated him. He still cared for them, hoping somehow they would find a way out of their self-inflicted souls to recognize who stood among them.
“And with all that love, he was completely honest. Yet even when his actions or words exposed people’s darkest motives, they didn’t feel shamed. They felt safe, really safe with him. His words conveyed not even a hint of judgment, simply an entreaty to come to God. There was no one you would trust more quickly with your deepest secrets. If someone were going to catch you at your worst moment you’d want it to be him.
Though so few ended up following him, for the few moments his presence passed by them, they tasted a freshness and power they could never deny even years later. Somehow he seemed to know everything about them, but loved them deeply all the same.” (p.9-10)
I am captivated by this description of Jesus, mainly because it seems to describe the biblical Jesus in a new and fresh way. It is not the Jesus I know most of the time, however, the “megachurch Jesus” who is more concerned about earthly displays of success and power.
I remember thinking after reading this, If you’re on the run from God and religion, Jesus is a good travel companion.