Who is the original Jesus? A new book by Daniel Darling dares to answer this question, and in the process leaves the reader with rich morsels to chew on long after the book is complete.
Jesus isn't a hippy who walked around singing que sera sera. He didn't tell people, "Go ahead, do what feels good and makes you happy, cause I came to set you free from all those old rules."
The God who walked among us, set us free from the law as our way to please God, yes, but didn't abolish the law. He only added to it.
Love, grace and mercy. He challenged us to not only walk obediently but do it with great love.
He didn't wear a man bun and skinny jeans, nor did he walk around scratching his crotch (at least I hope not!), making caveman noises.
I recently had the opportunity to read and review, "The Original Jesus: Trading The Myths We Create for the Savior Who Is," by Daniel Darling.
And I'm left thinking...Isn't that the way of our culture today? We have recreated a mythical Jesus who loves us flaws and all, yes, but doesn't seem to mind when we sin, because he get's it, man! He knows how hard life is and we need our crutches. Plus, isn't He the one who said we are to love above all else?
Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect when I began reading this book. However, I found it quite interesting and thought the author made some valid points. For example:
"We make the most difference in the world by being the most different from the world. Sadly, the church has often lost influence because people see no discernable distinction between God's people and the rest of the society."Take a look at some of the chapter titles: Guru Jesus, Red-Letter Jesus, Braveheart Jesus, American Jesus, Left-Wing Jesus, Dr. Phil Jesus, Prosperity Jesus, Post-Church Jesus, BFF Jesus, and Legalist Jesus.
The author seems to cover every aspect of the different forms of Jesus modern society has transformed Him into.
I think he also does a good job of analyzing how we as a church twist our view of Jesus to fit what we want, along with society.
He makes points as to how the church needs to do a better job of teaching our men what a biblical man looks like (amen, anyone?), how we as christians can follow Jesus' example of helping the poor among us without enabling them (this was a very interesting chapter (Left-wing Jesus), especially with the upcoming elections), and getting over ourselves as Christians.
As you know, we are seeing a shift in Christianity here in America. We have had a dynasty of Christendom for centuries. Longer than what has ever been seen, perhaps, in history.
"Sure, like God's people in any era, we've had to deal with the sort of trials that befall humanity, some crushing and some light. But in terms of where Christianity fits into the larger cultural narrative, we've had it pretty good. We've lived in a bubble of acceptance, even affirmation, rarely seen in two thousand years of church history."
I enjoyed reading The Original Jesus and the different characterizations of Jesus by Mr. Darling. I look forward to more of his books in the future.
"The world needs from the church is not less engagement but deeper, more redemptive engagement that abandons a sort of zero-sum, win-at-all-costs, cutthroat type of politics and instead offers gospel-shaped solutions to the most vexing problems facing our communities."
*I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.