So anyway, I started reading another book -- Scot McKnight's One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow. It came highly recommended by an old college professor, so I had a feeling I would like it. I was right.
Here is a sampling:
From Chapter 1, "One.Life."
Christianity isn't enough. Religion isn't enough. Being accepted in a church isn't enough. Climbing the corporate ladder isn't enough. Solving intellectual problems isn't enough. Chasing the American dream isn't enough. Friends aren't enough. Science isn't enough. Politics isn't enough. Money isn't enough. Nothing's enough. The only thing that is enough is Jesus, and the only way to get to Jesus is to follow him, and that means one thing: giving your One.Life to him and his dream.
From Chapter 2, "Kingdom.Life."
We need to shed our unearthly and nonsocial and idealistic and romantic and uber-spiritual visions of kingdom and get back to what Jesus meant. By kingdom, Jesus means: God's Dream Society on earth, spreading out from the land of Israel to encompass the whole world.
From Chapter 3, "Imagined.Life."
Imagine a world, Jesus tells us, where people perceive just how extremely valuable this kingdom vision of Jesus really is -- like a hidden treasure accidentally found or a pearl of great value amazingly discovered -- and then these same people sell everything they own to participate in the kingdom.
From Chapter 4, "Love.Life."
A lesson that I have learned each year all over again is this: There's a difference between focusing on being right and focusing on being a follower of Jesus.
This is where my old answer of accepting Jesus and doing the right things and not doing the wrong things falls short. For Jesus, everything is shaped toward becoming people who love God and who love others, and nothing less than a life absorbed in love is sufficient to describe what a Christian is for him. Any accepting of Jesus and all pious practices are designed to make us people who love God and who love others.
Intrigued? Read the book. I'm glad I am.