Blogging Towards Sunday
This week's scripture is the final in the Jesus for President, Sermon on the Mount Series that I've been doing on Sundays with the faith community I serve in Oakland. At the end of the sermon, or big teaching, Jesus concludes by saying that hearing and doing are the same thing. Those who have heard and do what he teaches are like those that build a house on rock as opposed to sinking sand. The house metaphor still speaks to us today: building, movement, dynamic, homey, life in general. We have to build on a dependable foundation, one that gives and takes in when the earth shakes, one that stands up to the storms of life, one that is a reliable center and source for life. (similar to the tree metaphor in Psalm 1)
For me that's Jesus of Nazareth. And I've found myself confused, meditative and irritated by the recent (and long-time ongoing) demonization and polarization among "believers" over who is a real Christian and who isn't (or who is a heretic). [Chris is doing some great thinking & ranting about this on his blog] It seems like in our emerging public discourse there really is a tired-but-true evangelical affirmation that what counts in faith is predominantly what you believe about Jesus. That there is a right way and wrong ways to believe in him. On the phone today insinuated to me that I'm on the right side, of those that really know who Jesus is (unfortunately for them I don't think I really am)....which argues the point: is it about what we believe, or if we ascribe to the "correct" doctrine/dogma, or is it about what we do, how we live, how we love? If a Christian is one that ascribes to the right things maybe I'm an UNchrisitian. I'm interested in following and doing what Jesus said, taught and lived. For me TRUTH is found in that relationship. It's not a fact, a doctrine, a dogma, or a proposition; rather it's relational, experiential, dynamic and personal. I'm more interested in doing what Jesus taught and challenged those that follow him to do and be, than worrying about who is or isn't following Jesus. I want to experientially and pre-emptively mediate upon the words he spoke and the vision he gave (and gives today) of what God wants the world and human community to look like - starting with you and me.
I'm struck as I finish this series by the first page in the Jesus for President book, as authors Shane Clairborne and Chris Haw explain why they're writing and what they hope to help change or birth in the name of all those that follow Jesus, both the Christians and the UNchristians. Amen.