Now, this is a book that a small group at my church is starting to read. Knowing me and this website, I love to read, but I will be frank and honest here. Sometimes theological words and ideas are so intense that they just fly over my head and I have trouble getting through large chapters just simply because they are so intense. Like, I sit there staring at the pages and think to myself, what in the world did I just read? And what exactly did that mean? Could you please put it in layman words for us ordinary folk?
However, I must say, getting through the first few chapters of The Jesus Style has proven this is not the case for this book. I love Erwin’s style of writing. It doesn’t try hard to sound eloquent with the fancy words and the smart-sounding way of putting things together as a sentence. It’s simply…well, understandable. It may not be the writing style for everyone, but it makes it easier to digest the basics of what he is trying to say. Or in other words, what the author is trying to remind us folks who have professed to be “Christ-like” for some time.
Now, this post isn’t exactly a review, per se. Hence, it’s placed under my “Other Musings” tab on this website. As my group and I go through this book over the course of the next few weeks, I will be occasionally putting my thoughts down as I do still love talking about books.
So, before you decide that this is some long speech and I’m just going to just go on and on about the same book for more than one post, I hope that you’d give my musings and thoughts a chance.
Who is this Jesus and why the heck am I reading about his “style”?
I have once watched video, on Youtube I believe, where someone went around a city and asked random people on the street what they thought about Jesus. Not about what they thought of religion or their opinions of people who profess to be following one. No, they simply just asked people what they thought of some guy named Jesus who may have lived approximately 2000 years ago, give or take.
And you know what’s surprising? Most people had a great many of good things to praise about this man called Jesus. Things like “love, good and compassion” or “he was an excellent man” or “you just gotta have a good opinion about him”. And why is that? Even with people who don’t necessarily put themselves into a religion or denomination, this response is just the same.
And that is why I am rather excited to read this book. There’s enough with church rituals that throw people off. Sometimes it even throws me off. At the end of the day, I think the heart of the matter is what Jesus did. I could only hope to be able to invoke a response in people akin to what these others say about Jesus.
How shall I do that? Simple. By learning what his style of living is and to hope to be a better person like him.
His main doctrine is love
So far, reading into the first few chapters, it seems the answer is simple. How to be like someone like Jesus? Love like he did. That sounds rather obvious, right? If I were to love everyone and truly care for people, then of course people down the generations would associate me with “compassion and goodness”.
Then I sit and ponder and let it sink in for a moment. Crap. The moment of realization where….well, I don’t love everyone. Heck, I barely have patience for some people, and for sure I don’t take the time of day to show “love” for everyone. That’s a mighty large order to fill. Does it have to be everyone? And how exactly do I love them? Does that mean I have to do things for all the people around me? Let them take advantage of me by telling them I’d be willing to do anything they ask of me?
Well, I guess I’d have to answer that question by the old saying “What would Jesus do?”
But for now, I think starting off small is just as meaningful. It’s not about the actions that matter. It’s that the intent behind it was with love. Think of the flip side. If someone were to do so many charitable things but didn’t intentionally do it because they cared (or did it for selfish reasons), would that action mean as much? As for me, maybe my first task is to not just step over a homeless person (which I swear is like every several blocks down the road in certain areas of the heart of the city), and to take the time to help with a physical need like a drink. Or maybe I should volunteer at a soup kitchen this summer.
Either way, for once I think it’s not enough to just want to be someone who loves, but to finally be someone who does. My question is: how about you? I’m not asking some giant theological question or anything. I’m simply asking, would you be willing to learn to love and think less on oneself for a moment?