[Continued from yesterday]
Jim Woodroof’s latest book, Famous Sayings of Jesus, deals in the beatitudes and the parables. I have often appreciated Jim’s Jesus-focused heart, and have posted in the past (find one such essay here) on a seminal truth articulated by Jim: “In the gospels we find the power to do what’s in the letters.”
In essence, what the above statement suggests is centering on Jesus. Not a new truth, but a radical one.
At the close of this post two years ago, I offered a list of some themes that may pose as central “in church.” Now, two years later, I’m zooming out from the church establishment a bit: one goal of these early, “post-sabbatical” writings has been to envelop faith overall, enthroning Messiah Jesus in the middle of everything Christian — including individual disciples’ lives, church structures, and eternity. Truly, a Jesus-centric faith is the only one worth having, and the only one that will ultimately stand.
- Not that those who practice a humanistic form of meditation or Buddhist yoga or other self-help stuff aren’t helping themselves temporarily– many of them are.
- Not that adherents of Islam don’t have a thing or two right — many of them do.
- Not that Jewish underpinnings are worthless — far from it. They’re just underpinnings, though.
- Not that moderate Mormons and Buddhists live bad lives — they can be model neighbors and are often exemplary in terms of temperament and strong, moral values.
And, more to the point for my readers . . .
- Not that a vast lot of traditional Christian churches aren’t somewhat within Christian tradition on this or that point; not that they don’t believe in Jesus; not that they aren’t duly Protestant, or Arminian, or Calvinist, or restorationist, or Roman, or Byzantine, or pietist, or charismatic, or Lutheran, or Swedenborgian, or anabaptist, or what-have-you. Many of these frameworks are on target in one or more aspects.
It’s just that these other, superimposed doctrinal and practical systems are not in all points Jesus-centric and are therefore less than sufficient.
Once more drawing from past essays, I would point readers to thoughts I shared on central concepts at work. (Actually, the bulleted items are applicable to a much broader spectrum!)
If you read nothing else there, perhaps you will simply wish to worship privately, meditating on the words of the song “Jesus, Be the Centre.”
P.S. Want another encouraging prod or four in this vein? Try Roger Thoman’s latest blogpost, “Jesus Alone at the Center.”