There is a religious shift happening. People on the inside and outside are questioning Christianity’s centuries-old practices, teachings, and doctrines more than ever. With the rapid spread of information, culture, and ideologies (thanks to amazing social media technologies - Twitter, Facebook), will the powerful message of Jesus be heard?
I’ve never had so many spiritual quotes and videos flashed in front of me. Many are good. Others tend to be shallow and misleading. Good or bad, right or wrong, they’re influential. Few take the time to plumb the deeper meanings of these quotes or explore the framework from which they’re derived. Yet folks grab onto to them. They’re reeling in people left and right, and folks, like Jesus, get ignored.
People may even get offended when you start talking about Jesus – or quoting him. Why? Why is even a Bible quote subject to disdain these days? The message of Jesus has been tarnished through the years through incorrect teaching and misunderstanding. This is often the lens through which people envision (not see) Jesus. This is a tragedy.
At the same time, the teaching of Jesus is naturally offensive. The guy claimed to be God. He didn’t call upon a higher power – he claimed to be the higher power. This offends many. But is it true?
As it is, we take all these other religious and spiritual ideas (a la carte) and create our own belief system? Is this truth?
If Christians have the greatest story to tell, they must really suck as storytellers. People have stopped listening. At this point, people will listen to anything (or go it alone) because so much trust has been broken. So much hypocrisy has been exemplified. So much judgment passed.
So what the hell are churches teaching? In many cases, hell. They’re focused on sin. Focusing on the negative does one thing. It increases negativity. To be clear, we’re full of a lot of junk – greed, envy, sloth, pride, ego, anger, malice, jealously and more. This does need to be addressed. But it’s addressed by focusing on Jesus and his life-transforming power. As we reflect on the teaching of Jesus and what he’s “done” for us, our lives are transformed into his likeness.
What did Jesus teach? Life. He offered Life to the fullest – in him. It’s an amazing and personal relationship with God. Many argue that Jesus was a great teacher – he’s not – he’s much more – his own teaching tells us that. Check it out for yourself.
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson