Tag Archive | theology

Jesus Style – Part II – How to Love

jesus style -gayle D. erwinI wrote in Part 1 that this isn’t necessarily like a traditional book review, which is why I placed it under the tab Other Musings. Although it’s only been about two months since I wrote Part 1, so much has happened since then.

In this smaller blurb to conclude the book The Jesus Style that I’ve read and discussed alongside with others in my small group, I learned a whole lot of what it truly meant to love someone this summer.

First off, this novel is great when it comes to application. Gayle Erwin writes in a manner that sounds like he’s speaking to you. Sure, that style may not be for everyone, especially for the people who do prefer the scholarly type of writing that truly analyzes the fine details of everything. However, it was exactly what I needed this summer. Broken down into small chapters that centred on one trait he took out from Jesus’ life, it was made understandable how we, as normal and mundane people, can figure that trait into our absolutely boring lives.

And let me tell you, when you try to look for opportunities to love people, those opportunities will come knocking on your door. Trust me.

To not go into too many personal details and into an absurdly long story of how my summer unfolded, the bottom line is that I actually found someone to love. Now, love comes in many forms. The kind that you hear most about is, of course, your lovey-dovey OMG I’m in love kinda love. However, the ones that aren’t covered as much in our movies and books include¬† platonic friendship love, and brotherly love, to name a few.¬† I’m not saying which kind of love this was, but the important part is that there is lots of love for this particularly individual. When I least expect it, I found a person who I, for God knows what reason, do love. That’s not to say it was easy or that the individual was all that accepting of it. It makes it that much harder when it’s not reciprocated.

But this short conclusion to this book that became so applicable at the exact right moment is to underline that it’s not because they love you back that you care for them. It’s regardless of what you receive in return that makes your love a love that demonstrates Christ.

Now, I’m not trying to preach here. That is not the sentiment and purpose of such a post. This was to share my experience with the book and to share a piece of my life as I do with all the books and musings I post here. I still struggle to love someone in such a manner, but there is also a lot of joy in doing so. Joy has so wrongly been conceived as something that only occurs when one is happy. But no, joy can still occur even when one is even a bit sad.

Joy is not an emotion or simply a feeling. It’s a state of being. It doesn’t just come when there is reason to be happy. Whether one is feeling sad or feeling glad, joy is consistent through the seasons.

~Sonia Lee

I am also not encouraging the kind of unrequited love in a not-so platonic/romantic feelings that come with that kind of love. This kind of love looks at a more selfless perspective. It doesn’t love to gain anything from that person (i.e. to get them into a relationship with you). It loves just simply because that person matters and you want the best for them. It is more others-focused and not so me-focused.

With this particular person that I’ve found this book so applicable, it’s still an ongoing process and journey. It takes energy and it drains you to give time and effort for someone who takes even without knowing it. That’s where the joy comes in. I don’t focus so much on how little they are giving, but on trying to be a blessing in their life. I may not see much result yet, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect them. I get bummed out when they shut me out, but pushing too hard will get me nowhere. I love them simply because they matter to me and that should be enough.

I am sharing this snippet of my story in hopes of encouraging those who find themselves in a similar bind. Love doesn’t necessarily get easier with time. But here I found the source and example to which I follow in how to love someone like that. If you ever want to hear the full story, send me a message and I’d be more than happy to share life with you too.

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Jesus Style – Part 1 – The Jesus Approach aka to LOVE

jesus style -gayle D. erwinNow, 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?