what if jesus really meant what he said?
that’s a question that can get you into a lot of trouble.
ironically, a good portion of that trouble tends to come from inside the religious community, because taking a serious look at the words highlighted in red in the sacred text seems to cause questions that are easily seen as meddling with the status quo.
but then again – the same thing happened when jesus spoke those red letters in the first place.
i recently had the opportunity to read an advanced copy of Red Letter Revolution, a co-authored dialogue between shane claiborne and tony campolo. in it, they break up their two-way conversation into sections – part i :: red letter theology || part ii :: red letter living || part iii :: red letter world.
while not all of the material was new to me, it was helpful – and i believe this recorded conversation between tony and shane could indeed serve the purpose of inspiring further thoughtful conversation and intentional movement among followers of jesus to find out better what that looks really looks like – if jesus really meant what he said.
i also appreciated the accessibility with which the authors outlined their understanding of how jesus’ teachings have more to offer for us – and the world – in this thing we call christianity.
perhaps my favorite quote from the book comes from shane claiborne ::
‘I always tell our community that we should attract the people Jesus attracted and frustrate the people Jesus frustrated. It’s certainly never our goal to frustrate, but it is worth noting that the people who were constantly agitated were the self-righteous, religious elite, the rich, and the powerful. But the people who were fascinated by him, by his love and grace, were folks who were already wounded and ostracized — folks who didn’t have much to lose, who already knew full well that they were broken and needed a Savior.’
what would happen if we lived with this perspective?
in my experience, one result would be the restoration of some red letters to their intended meaning, rather than a perpetual misunderstanding that lends itself to frustrating the very people jesus has called us to reach, as we discussed a few days ago.
<if you’d be interested in winning a free copy of this book – you’re in luck! thomas nelson graciously gave me ten copies of the book to give away. i’ve sent out three. seven left. want one? easy – like this post on facebook, tweet it, or leave a comment to let me know you’d like to be one of the seven!>
in the meantime, i’m going to unplug and process the things God is speaking to me through my time with rob bell and other new friends…which has literally been life-altering.
and yes, i just name dropped. you would too. he’s amazing.