"The greatest danger to the Christian Church today is that of pitching its message too low." (Dallas Willard)
What if Jesus was right? What if the kingdom he came to bring really is so close you could reach out and touch it with your hand? What if his message really can inspire people to change the world? What if we're missing the point?
What if we've spent 2,000 years institutionalizing and domesticating something that cannot be tamed? What if we've developed a religion that makes pious and reverent-sounding statements about its founder but fails to teach people how to live as he lived? What if that's not even an expectation any more?
What if Jesus' mission has been intentionally distorted by some and unintentionally misunderstood by others for so long that we're missing out on something vital and necessary? What if we've been too selective in our favoring some of Jesus' teachings while ignoring other parts of his message -- so much so that what we are left with no longer bears much resemblance to what he was trying to communicate? What if there are treasures to be found buried in the essence of his character and nature?
What if today's religious leaders are the last to get it and the first to reduce, oppose, distort, or suppress the search for Jesus' meaning and purpose -- just like they did during his lifetime? What if religious leaders are more concerned with protecting their base of power than with setting captives free? What if we'd rather build fences to keep "insiders" in and "outsiders" out?
What if Jesus didn't come to create a new religion with new rules and rituals? What if he intended to start a revolution with political, social, cultural, economic, intellectual, and artistic implications? What if his message could radically change the world as you know it -- beginning with you, beginning with how you live your daily life, how you earn and spend money, how you treat people who are different from you?
What if Jesus' message was really good news for everyone -- not just people you like, not just people who are like you, not just people with whom you are comfortable? What if it was good news for everyone -- rich and poor, gay and straight, young and old, Democrat and Republican, black and brown and white, foreign and domestic? What if Jesus intends to bless every single person on earth, and he wants to use his followers to do it -- but his followers are too busy drawing lines to figure out who is "in" and who is "out" and what someone has to do before they can be allowed "in" and what someone has to do to be thrown "out"?
What if this is not at all what Jesus intended?
Would we even want to know?
Photo Credit: Jacob Meyer