Now I'm not say that this is what is going to happen, it's just what I fear it might happen. It's like the time I published the notes I used for a sermon about tithing and got a very long response detailing the error of my ways for teaching an Old Testament principle in the era of grace.
You see, sometimes I wonder if all we're doing is seeking to justify our position on this doctrine or that practice when what we ought to be doing is focusing on the person of Jesus. It is, after all, all about him.
It's not that I think theology is a waste of time. It isn't. I should know, I spent four years at college and the last 30+ years trying to learn everything I can about the God whose love for me took him to a savage death on a Roman cross. It's just that I'd rather be around a group of people with bad theology and a passion for Jesus more than I want to be around people with good theology and no passion.
Back in June Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola published A Jesus Manifesto. There are some parts with which I struggle and need to think through more fully, but there are many parts that I found, and find, refreshing. A timely reminder of some of the things that would distract form me from the focal point of my faith: becoming more like Jesus, deepening my relationship with him and sharing his mission in the wider world.
This I do through exploration and discovery not by crossing t's and dotting i's in a never ending quest for the perfect systematic theological exposition with which even God could not disagree.
I am, after all is said and done, just a man seeking to love God with all his heart, soul and strength. A man desperate to know God and to be known by him.
So here are a few choice words form the Jesus manifesto of Sweet and Viola, picked at random because why should I do it any other way?
It is possible to emphasize a spiritual truth, value, virtue, or gift, yet miss Christ . . . who is the embodiment and incarnation of all spiritual truth, values, virtues, and gifts.
The meaning of Christianity does not come from allegiance to complex theological doctrines, but a passionate love for a way of living in the world that revolves around following Jesus, who taught that love is what makes life a success . . . not wealth or health or anything else: but love. And God is love.
If Jesus could rise from the dead, we can at least rise from our bed, get off our couches and pews, and respond to the Lord’s resurrection life within us, joining Jesus in what he’s up to in the world.
Christians don’t follow Christianity; Christians follow Christ.
Christians don’t preach themselves; Christians proclaim Christ.
Christians don’t point people to core values; Christians point people to the cross.
Christians don’t preach about Christ: Christians preach Christ.
As Steven Curtis-Chapman is singing at the moment from my iTunes library "Jesus is life, yes he is!"