It’s fitting that I finished reading Practicing the Way of Jesus: Life Together in the Kingdom of Love a couple days into Lent. Practicing the Way of Jesus — the fifth book I’ve read in full this year — is written by Mark Scandrette, co-founder of RE-IMAGINE and the Jesus Dojo.
The book outlines “experiments” in which Scandrette has participated: short and long term projects, some conducted privately, others in groups, others publicly in his community. A lot of what resonated most with me from the book was focused on the importance and purposes of self discipline and self denial, both of which are big parts of Lent for me. See below for some of my favorite excerpts:
“And yet, a tremendous gap exists in our society between the way of radical love embodied and taught by Jesus and the reputation and experience of the average Christian. … We can be frustrated by this gap and become critics, or be inspired by a larger vision of the kingdom and get creative.” -pages 21-22
“If the invitation from Jesus to practice the Way sounds like a burden or obligation, then we aren’t hearing him correctly. The offer of the Rabbi promises the freedom we long for: ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light’ (Matthew 11:28-30). … The invitation to follow the way of Jesus doesn’t help us cope with the busy lives we have or support our quest for the American dream. It does offer us a radical alternative to the ways of this world that are making us hurried, weary and tired. We are being invited to discover a way of life, in surrender to the Master, that is more fulfilling and free than any way that we could imagine or make for ourselves.” -pages 35-36
“The crisis of evangelism in the Western world is not a lack of information about the gospel, but a scarcity of examples of transformed people who would provoke others to ask, ‘How did you discover this remarkable new way of life?'” -page 90
“Think back to the account of Adam and Eve in the garden after they had eaten fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was the cool of the day and the Creator was calling out, ‘Adam, where are you?’ They were hiding in the bushes, covering themselves with leaves. Who had withdrawn? Was it God? No, Adam and Eve were the ones who pulled away. Nothing, including their disobedience or shame, could keep the Creator from continuing to pursue relationship. Even now we are being invited to step out of the shadows and into the light of God’s loving presence. For many generations we have been on the run from God, both in our minds and in our bodies. This posture of hiding is what keeps us from being more aware of God’s care and presence. … We do many things with our minds and bodies to distract ourselves from God’s presence. The pace of life in our society and the pervasiveness of media and technology make it challenging to find space to hear God’s voice. It is countercultural and it takes immense courage to be quiet in body and mind.” -pages 115-116
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For more information about the book, click here.