i am currently reading a book titled Jesus Brand Spirituality, by Ken Wilson. Ken is the pastor of the Ann Arbor Vineyard. The subtitle of the book is: He wants His religion back, and i knew i wanted to read further when i hit upon this in the opening of Chapter 1:
I’ve been in the God business for more than 30 years. Never have I seen or personally experienced such angst over what it means to be associated with Jesus of Nazareth. If my fascination with Jesus had started today rather than so many years ago, I wonder what I would have done with it. How would I begin to pursue faith today? I’ll tell you what would put me off. I’d be repelled by the witch’s brew of politics, cultural conflict, moralism and religious meanness that seems so closely connected with those who count themselves the special friends of Jesus.
Ken goes on to advocate what he calls, the Pilgrim’s Path, as a way of taking the religion back for Jesus. The Pilgrim’s Path is described as moving toward Jesus on a journey in which He acts as a magnetic presence; an “attractor” who continually draws us to Himself. There are lots of ways to do that, and people can come at that from any number of different backgrounds and states in life.
The journey Ken describes has implications within and without the community of people who already follow Jesus.
For one, if we opt for the moralistic and mean form of religion, the addicts of all varieties will remain underground. There won’t be anywhere for them to admit who they are and begin taking steps toward cleansing and freedom. This is most tragic given the fact that as believers we have the addicts all around us. And in many cases, such as mine years ago, we are the addicts.
For another, moralism and meanness don’t mirror the way Jesus interacted with the world, and so we must not interact with it that way either. This is one of the great things about XXXChurch, actually, they aren’t using their energy to attack the porn industry, they are encouraging men and women there to take this journey toward the person of Jesus, who loves them.
The point of living a life which is Dangerous, Passionate, Alive and Free is to be the person God designed each of us to be, thereby creating a culture in which what is truly good and beautiful is celebrated and nurtured.