The young adult group at my church has for the most part disbanded. Many of us have just been going to the Bible 101 class, and so I am going through the book on my own.
James Bryan Smith wrote a second book called “The Good and Beautiful Life,” where he looks to use the teachings of Jesus to expose the false narratives in our day to day lives. The book is meant to ask us as Christians – What did Jesus think? Jesus reveals the true character and nature of God, and as we read the book there is both a spiritual and a character formation that occurs. As the book changes your heart, it will be revealed in both your actions and your character, and from there you can hopefully go out and change the world for the better.
John Wesley was a great preacher and the founder of the Methodist movement, and at one point a man came to him lost and asking what he preached. He gave an answer that I can only summarize with a quote, “And what is the religion Wesley prescribes? Not a religion of laws or ceremonies or mystical knowledge, but of love and kindness. Our world is badly in need of people who love, and it is hungering for people who demonstrate genuine kindness. We are so deprived of it that we are astonished when we encounter it. And what is the point of this religion? To get us to heaven? No, to get heaven into us. To help us discover a relationship with God wherein we enjoy God and are easy in ourselves. If we can discover such a life, Wesley believed, we can even face our death with calm assurance and the certainty of a joyful eternity.”
Quite frankly, I don’t know how much these books are changing me, but the act of going through them and doing the reflections every month puts a new thought in my head, and that is sometimes just the start. One thing I hope the book covers is the idea of spiritual gifts, because not all of us have the full esteem of our pastors at church, but each of us has been given a series of spiritual gifts we can use in our day to day lives. We each have our own ministry.
As a reminder, my blog helps to raise awareness and is by no means a replacement for actually reading the book, and so it is my hope you will follow along with me!
Never pay the full price! Those book people are out to get you!
– James –