Part 1: Letting Go
Jesus’ arrival signaled an end to one way of relating to God and the beginning of something entirely new. Jesus instructed us to love one another as well as those who won’t love us back. Over time and across cultures, different churches have tried to live that out in different ways. But when you reduce church to its irreducible minimum, it is a group of people doing their best to follow a teacher—Jesus—that we believe was sent from God to clear the way to God.
Part 2: Apoplectic
Jesus stepped into a world where religion was characterized by the temple model: sacred places that housed sacred texts that were interpreted by sacred men who used those texts to control superstitious people. Jesus initiated something entirely new, a complete departure from the temple model. But soon enough some of his followers began to try to assimilate Jesus into the temple model.
Part 3: Recycled
Religion is powerful—so powerful it can shape our consciences. Unfortunately, our consciences have been shaped by a version of Christianity that reflects a blend of the rules-focused temple model and the Jesus movement, which is demonstrated by love. As a result, we’re tempted to prioritize law-keeping over loving others. How do we reconcile God’s law with Jesus’ call to love our neighbors?
Part 4: What Love Requires
The arrival of Jesus signaled the end of the temple model and the beginning of something brand new—an approach to faith characterized by love of others. The temple model is you-focused, but Jesus’ new covenant calls for a focus on the you beside you. So, what is required if we want to follow Jesus’ example and radically love the people around us?
Part 5: Redefining Terms
Many of the things people resist about the church are things the church should have resisted. Jesus initiated the church to resist the temple model, which was focused on sacred places, sacred men, and sacred texts . . . superstition. He initiated a new covenant that is less complicated but far more demanding. It prompts us to ask, “What does love require of me?”