Do you sense it? A new thing among Christians? There’s certainly a new direction for this Christian (me). And I’m not going back to distorted American Christianity, because the new thing is actually the old thing that was a new thing 2000 years ago. It’s the Christ message, and I fear we’ve massively missed the point.

Jimmy Carter parted ways with the Southern Baptists. Bart Campolo (son of Tony Campolo) defected to humanism entirely. Brian Maclaren said it like this a few days ago.

“With our global politics so highly charged this Christmas season – by a resurgence of white nationalism, by renewed talk of a nuclear arms race, by tensions between democracy and demagoguery, by concerns about real and fake news, by our need for a better option beyond dead religion and deadly religion – I have a feeling that the issue of Christian identity is going to matter more and more in the months and years ahead.

If Jesus had said, “By their beliefs you will know them,” it would be one thing. But he said it was by their “fruit” (Matthew 7:20, see also Galatians 5:22-23) and above all by their love (John 13:35) that his disciples would be known.” (http://brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/nicholas-kristof-tim-keller-chri.html

The “new” thing won’t be glitzy or materialistic or selfish or full of political distortions. It will look like the life of Jesus, which is about self-sacrifice and helping people and being prepared to die for what is right. Not sexy!

Are you craving that kind of religion? The authentic Jesus? For me, 2017 will bring a combination of local church fellowship and something more global—a meeting of the minds and hearts among Christians worldwide. A new definition. New practices. New sacrifice but mercifully, new joy and peace in knowing I/we are headed in the right direction…toward God. Toward love.

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