Monday, January 15, 2007

Gospel Simplicity

Here's an odd question: what kind of Christian would Jesus be? Sounds strange, doesn't it. But let's face it, Christians come in all shapes and sizes. There are the intellectuals, those into pop culture, mission oriented, Bible thumper (bashers, whatever adjective you like), praise and worshipers, etc. You get the point. So what kind of Christian would Jesus be? Well, I can't answer that question entirely. However, judging from what we know of Him I feel confident that Jesus would be a simple Christian, or to put it another way, simply, a Christian.

It occurs to me as I am thinking about it that supreme intellect is not required to become a Christian. One does not even need to know how to read. Furthermore, one does not need to understand the complexities of politics, history, or culture. One need not be a theologian, an ethicist, or a philosopher. One just needs to love God and obey Him. Really, that's all there is to it.

Isn't that what Jesus was continually getting at in His teaching? He was compelling us to a genuine relationship of the heart. This did not need to involve rules or rituals. It did not require forms and ceremonies. It simply was about loving God.

Now I can hear the critics screaming- "You've oversimplified it. It really isn't that easy." Then why did Jesus say that even children could do it? In fact, why does He compel us to become like little children if we're really going to enter the kingdom of heaven?

The more I ponder this idea, the more I'm sure it must be true. I must confess, I am not such a person. I get real heady about it all. I try to be an intellectual, a philosopher, or a theologian, but I'm really not that smart. Still, my approach to faith is very abstract and cerebral. Facing the Jesus that I have just described is really intimidating. For it means that I have not yet begun the journey down the road that I thought I had all but mastered. But I will also confess that it is a welcome relief to find it so. And so I am off to simply follow Jesus down this wonderful road of Gospel simplicity.


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