Have you taken a moment away from church, christianity, and religion to simply focus for a moment on Jesus?

Pandemic time, and i would probably add American election time, has been a hard one for christians. 

How do you continue to follow God when the world is on fire? When church leaders around the world are being exposed for secret, often devastating sins? When churches fight tooth and nail to keep Sunday meetings happening but are silent when poor people are being tear-gassed and water cannoned on the streets? When people who call themselves christian look and sound nothing like the God they are meant to be following?

Well, in a time – which has gone on quite a while longer than the homepocalypse to be honest – when i have found it increasingly hard to align with many churches and people who call themselves christian, one thing has remained constant:

Cast your eyes upon Jesus

In fact last night i took to the Twitterer to remind myself – and others – of some of the things Jesus said which i believe are things we can all get behind whether we believe in Him or not.

Starting with this controversial piece:

i mean, it’s not though, right? Isn’t that something we can all get behind? Whatever we believe, surely this idea of showing love to your neighbour is a universal invitation with everyone’s name on it.

And just imagine how the world would be transformed overnight if we all committed to this one. A quite horrific thought to me is how much the world would be radically transformed if only people who claimed to be christian started taking this one seriously.

Jesus neighbour love

Following Jesus

i moved on to some other words of Jesus and again did not find these too big a leap to be worth aspiring to:

As i moved on to the next quote from Jesus, this one felt like it might cause a lot more people some trouble:

Perhaps if we take a moment to consider just how strongly Jesus lived this one out, we might consider it to be something we could maybe take on board a little more:

So not only did Jesus speak enemy love, He demonstrated it in the most powerful of ways. Calling on us to do the same.

Life-changing encounters

The next tweet i shared was a reminder of a powerful story of the transformation of a life that happened simply after one encounter and a meal with Jesus:

Which led me naturally to another meal where Jesus demonstrated another invitation that He expected us to repeat and pass on:

All of which led me to this final tweet:

Cos that’s really it for me. Church is made up of people and the Bible is always read through a lens or a combination thereof [upbringing, context, history, denomination] and so mistakes will be made.

Which is why we should always avoid putting people on pedestals and the past year has reminded us why this is especially true for christian leaders.

But Jesus. Always worth listening to, always worth following, always worth emulating. 

Which is why it is a wonder so few christians do…

The recent American election and storming of the Capitol reminded us that many people will claim to be christian and yet look/sound barely like Jesus at all.

“I asked participants who claimed to be “strong followers of Jesus” whether Jesus spent time with the poor. Nearly 80 percent said yes. Later in the survey, I sneaked in another question, I asked this same group of strong followers whether they spent time wit the poor, and less than 2 percent said they did. I learned a powerful lesson:

We can admire and worship Jesus without doing what he did.

We can applaud what he preached and stood for without caring about the same things.

We can adore his cross without taking up ours.

I had come to see that the great tragedy of the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor.”
― [Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical]

What i love about Jesus is His accessibility. 

Loving your neighbour, making peace with your enemy, serving one another in love, looking after those who are less fortunate than you… these are not exclusive religious acts you have to be in the club for… these are invitational ‘how to create a society that resembles heaven a lot more than it feels like hell’ ways to live.

So i get it if you’re struggling with church.

i understand if you find christians hypocritical and judgemental and arrogant and dismissive. 

i own the fact that for many people i may have been the reason you think one or both of those things [i am truly and deeply sorry for every time i have not represented Jesus to you in thought, word or deed!]

But Jesus. Don’t let me, us, it, put you off Him. Jesus is the real deal.

Which brings me back to the start of this all:

But Jesus! Don’t walk away completely until you’ve given Him a proper look. Jesus Big L Loves you more than you will ever know. Give following Him a chance and see if everything else doesn’t fit somewhat into place…