People are always trying to guess what-would-Jesus-do? Granted he was a remarkable figure in history, but lets not presume to know what he would say today. Having said that, I’m going to presume he wouldn’t join your church anytime soon. Nor mine. Because I figure he’d figure today’s faiths have his message all wrong…!
Perhaps that’s exactly what millions of former church-goers have decided as well. The number of attendees has plunged in the last 50 years. Churches in western Europe are largely empty; in the US, except for some Evangelical and Mega-churches, it’s often true too. People say they can believe in a divine creator without all the human liturgical paraphernalia.
If Jesus is your starting point, here’s a rough take on how we got from there to here:
* In Israel Christians were mostly a CAMARADERIE (circa 30-33 AD)
* Later in Greece it was mostly a PHILOSOPHY (circa 33-325 AD)
* Reaching Rome it grew into an INSTITUTION (circa 325-500 AD)
* Spreading through Europe it became a CULTURE (500-1600 AD)
* Reaching America it became an ENTERPRISE (1600-2012 AD)
In those earlier stages, a lot of serious asceticism with fellas like Benedict and Francis of Assisi. In these later stages, a lot of serious money-makers like our nightly passel of bellowing televangelists. Meanwhile back in the Vatican, so much pomp and circumstance you wonder if Jesus could get into the place without a pass!
So here’s an offer I hope you won’t refuse. However you remember the life of Jesus — preacher, prophet, redeemer, or all three — can we agree his message fits any faith: “Love one another as I have loved you…”
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