I’m starting to write a book, with the working title What Really Happened to Jesus? A Lawyer Reexamines the Evidence, and What It Means for Christianity and Christians. I’d like my readers to help by providing critiques and comments.
The book arises from my identification with what we might call doubting seekers. By that I mean people who sort of wish they could be Christians, but who are uncomfortable with “Christianity.” These folks often spend their Sunday mornings worshipping at the Little Church of St. Starbucks, with the Sunday paper as their prayer book. I used to be one of them.
I mourn what these people are missing in their lives. I know firsthand what a difference it makes to trust in God.
For many such people, the religion of Jesus is an attractive proposition, but that’s not what they see when they look at your average church. What they see certainly does include the religion of Jesus, more or less, but it’s encrusted by a variety of dogmatic barnacles.
For centuries, too many in the church have insisted that Christians cannot merely embrace the religion of Jesus: they must also accept a variety of additional speculations about the nature and mission of Jesus. As has been said by others, the religion of Jesus has been transformed into a religion about Jesus.
Seekers typically have at least a nodding familiarity with the religion about Jesus. They also know, through education and experience, about the so-called modernist worldview. They know that the modernist worldview has a very respectable track record in dealing with the real world. When it comes to the religion about Jesus, they’re not so sure we can say the same thing.
Not without reason, seekers often doubt whether the religion about Jesus is compatible with a modernist worldview. Too often, however, "the church" wants seekers to accept the religion about Jesus in toto, while offering no plausible reconciliation of the disparities, nor brooking any dissent from the dogmas of that religion.
Seemingly faced with an all-or-nothing choice, many seekers choose nothing. They show up in church only for weddings and funerals, and perhaps for the occasional Christmas and Easter.
To a great extent, I'm still one of these doubting seekers. But I no longer think the term “Christian” can be reserved exclusively for those who adhere to the religion about Jesus. It now appears to me that a Christian is simply someone who believes in the existence of a Creator, and who tries to follow the way of Jesus of Nazareth. I'm one of them, too.
For several years I’ve felt a calling to reach out to my fellow seekers. (My teen-aged son can fairly be called one of them.) This blog has been one product of that calling. I’ve also wanted to write a book addressed to such folks. I’ve made several starts, none of which has gotten very far.
John F. Kennedy once told a story of a boy who, coming to a high wall, tossed his cap over, so that he would have no choice but to follow it. I’ve seen the story attributed to Irish poet Frank O’Connor but haven’t been able to track down an exact cite.
With that story in mind, I’m making a fresh start on a book. My focal point is is one of the central claims of “Christianity,” that Jesus was raised from the dead. I’ve got most of it outlined already. Much of the text will be adapted from previous postings here.
I intend to post major sections of the book on this blog as I complete them, then transfer them to a wiki. I’ll worry about hard-copy publication later.
I hope to post at least two sections a week. I beg your assistance in the form of questions, comments, suggestions, and critiques. If I slack off in posting, please nag me.
Wish me luck, or pray for me, as you see fit.