How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus
Author: Robin R. Meyers
Pubpsher: Harper Collins
“Scholarly, pastoral, prophetic, and eloquent. The invitation to follow Jesus instead of worshiping Christ could not come at a more important time, or be issued by a more credible source.” — Desmond Tutu “Robin Meyers emerges in Saving Jesus from the Church as a national voice for a new Christianity. He is a well read scholar and a superb communicator. He writes with a refreshing honesty and a disarming authority. This book is a treat.” — John Shelby Spong, author of Jesus for the Non-Religious Robin Meyers, a rising star of liberal Christianity, restores the true mission of the faith that captures the heart of Jesus’s concern for people over “right belief.” Saving Jesus from the Church will resonate deeply with those who enjoy the works of John Shelby Spong, Marcus Borg, and John Dominic Crossan.
A revelatory manifesto on how we can reclaim faith from abstract doctrines and rigid morals to find God in the joys and ambiguities of everyday life, from the acclaimed author of Saving Jesus from the Church “In this book of stories from four decades of ministry, Meyers powerfully captures what it means to believe in a God who’s revealed not in creeds or morals but in the struggles and beauty of our ordinary lives.”—Richard Rohr, bestselling author of The Universal Christ People across the theological and political spectrum are struggling with what it means to say that they believe in God. For centuries, Christians have seen him as a deity who shows favor to some and dispenses punishment to others according to right belief and correct behavior. But this transactional approach to a God “up there”—famously depicted by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel—no longer works, if it ever did, leaving an increasing number of Christians upset, disappointed, and heading for the exits. In this groundbreaking, inspiring book, Robin R. Meyers, the senior minister of Oklahoma City’s Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ, shows how readers can move from a theology of obedience to one of consequence. He argues that we need to stop seeing our actions as a means for pleasing a distant God and rediscover how God has empowered us to care for ourselves and the world. Drawing on stories from his decades of active ministry, Meyers captures how the struggles of ordinary people hint at how we can approach faith as a radical act of trust in a God who is all around us, even in our doubts and the moments of life we fear the most.
Why are so many people drifting away from today's churches? John Killinger suggests that part of the problem is that they have personally outpaced the thinking and understanding of the church, so that they no longer find it adequate as a social structure for the celebration of their faith. In their attempts to find Jesus and his teachings relevant within the new culture, they strike out on their own or adhere to para-Christian organizations that retain an allegiance to Jesus without the baggage of the traditional institution. Killinger, a former big-steeple minister and theologian, describes how he himself has been forced essentially to abandon the church in order to remain faithful to the beliefs and ideals that first drew him into it.
In this theological resource for spiritual transformation and social change, Carter Heyward rethinks the figure Jesus and his import for church, academy, and society. Rather than focus on the endlessly variable pictures of Jesus in contemporary biblical scholarship, and in radical opposition to the Jesus of the "Christian Right," Heyward presents "Jesus as our brother, infused with a sacred power and passion for embodying right (mutual) relation, and ourselves with him in this commitment." She goes on "to explore, concretely, how we might live this way."
A Syrian poet noted that, “The world holds two classes of men — intelligent men without religion and religious men without intelligence.” A Nobel Prize winning physicist, Dr. Steven Weinberg said, “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” Could they both be right? Or is it possible that we could have a Christianity that is intelligible, believable, and credible? In order for that to be true we would need to rescue our traditional notions and practice of the Christian faith from its ancient, fraudulent time warp. We need to help it remove itself from the cultural trance in which it exists, and the faulty beliefs which it holds. We continue to survive on and promote an ancient, discredited history of Jesus and the Church. The secular and Biblical Scholarship of the last 200 years has been largely ignored in today’s Christian beliefs and practices. What we have today in Christianity is a distorted, disfigured and fraudulent hero of the Christian faith. We have numbed and parked our mental faculties regarding the historic knowledge of our religion, and the truthful, accurate, and proper exercise or practice of our religion. A Credible Christianity provides you with the best and latest scholarship, behavioral research, and psychological insight. Galileo, a hero of the Renaissance who was accused of sacrilege in his day said, “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forego their use.” Visit his website: walterkaniaphd.com
Grand Winner of the 2014 Nautilus Book Awards Thoughtful observers agree that the planetary crisis we now face-climate change; species extinction; the destruction of entire ecosystems; the urgent need for a more just economic-political order-is pushing human civilization to a radical turning point: change or perish. But precisely how to change remains an open question. In Earth-honoring Faith, Larry Rasmussen answers that question with a dramatically new way of thinking about human society, ethics, and the ongoing health of our planet. Rejecting the modern assumption that morality applies to human society alone, Rasmussen insists that we must derive a spiritual and ecological ethic that accounts for the well-being of all creation, as well as the primal elements upon which it depends: earth, air, fire, water, and sunlight. He argues that good science, necessary as it is, will not be enough to inspire fundamental change. We must draw on religious resources as well to make the difficult transition from an industrial-technological age obsessed with consumption to an ecological age that restores wise stewardship of all life. Earth-honoring Faith advocates an alliance of spirituality and ecology, in which the material requirements for planetary life are reconciled with deep traditions of spirituality across religions, traditions that include mysticism, sacramentalism, prophetic practices, asceticism, and the cultivation of wisdom. It is these shared spiritual practices that can produce a chorus of world faiths to counter the consumerism, utilitarianism, alienation, oppression, and folly that have pushed us to the brink. Written with passionate commitment and deep insight, Earth-honoring Faith reminds us that we must live in the present with the knowledge that the eyes of future generations will look back at us.
How Jesus Saves Us from Try-Harder Christianity into Performance-Free Love
Author: Bryan Loritts
White-knuckling can never get you where you want to go. But grace can. You already know because you’ve tried: repeated attempts to earn God’s love and approval get you nowhere and leave you exhausted. When performance taints our relationship with him, the Christian life can turn into an unholy hustle. It was never meant to be like this. In Saving the Saved, Pastor Bryan Loritts reveals the astonishing truth that God doesn’t want your spiritual scorekeeping. He simply wants your surrender. The punchline of the gospel of Matthew is just that—a message of grace and performance-free love to do-good, try-harder Jews who thought they had to earn their way into God’s favor. It’s an ancient message, yet it can be a lifeline to us today as we live in a world of performance metrics. Just as Matthew wrote to the Jews in his gospel, we were never meant to flounder under the pressures and anxieties of show Christianity. Make no mistake: we are called to live in obedience, but Jesus wants us to save us from the illusion that our actions can ever earn God’s acceptance of us. In Pastor Bryan’s relevant, uncompromising style, Saving the Saved proclaims the good news that once the pressure is off to perform, we are free to abide. Beyond the man-made rules and the red tape, there is a God who knows you by name. Come and meet him as you’ve never known him before.
Saint Paul declares, Live by the Spirit (Gal 5:6). This means our way of living ought to be guided by the Holy Spirit. Through a series of theoretical reflections, questions, and directed activities, this activity book will help you understand the relationship between spirituality and ethics, provide you some theoretical tools and practices for doing ethics and living spiritually, and encourage you to clarify your own manner of approaching ethical questions, founding moral values, and theological positions that undergird ethics and spirituality. Your moral imagination will be stimulated. Have fun!