I recently read a book by Dave Schmelzer, a pastor in Boston, titled “Not the Religious Type:Confessions of a Turncoat Atheist.” Schmelzer was an atheist turned Christian.
The book is divided into 4 sections: The Universe, God, Happiness, Welcome to Your Centered-Set Life
In the first section you realize that Schmelzers’ emphasis is not on being a church member or being part of Christianity as a religion, but a concern for following Jesus.
In one story he relates how a Jewish man came to him saying that he was going to die a Jew and there was no need in trying to convert him. But as the man had been attending the church, because of his girl friend, he noticed something that seemed miraculous happening in his life. Where previously he had a terrible problem with anger, it now seemed that his anger had left him. When asking the pastor about it, with emphasis upon not being converted, the pastor asked if it would be alright, without trying to convert him, to say that all the “good things that were happening in his life was because of Jesus?”
The second section deals with the more subjective aspects of our relationship with God. Does God really speak to us? Again the author is trying to focus upon our relationship with God (Jesus) vs. just being religious.
The third section, which I enjoyed the most, dealt with our pursuit of happiness. He references a book by Darrin M. McMahon titled, Happiness a History. In which the author brings out that during the first 100 yrs. after our new republic, Americans had filed more law suits per capita than had ever been seen. That being the result of our right to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Evidently we thought someone, somehow, owed us happiness and we were not getting it. So someone had to pay.
His point here is that following Jesus should bring a sense of happiness (joy) to our lives.
In the final section he emphasizes our need to be heading toward God (Jesus) instead of away from him.
The author summed up the book this way, “I’ve become less interested in ‘objective truth’, if only because it seems to me that the only person who could claim such a thing is God….So we’re living in a time of newfound interest in subjective truth, of truth as we-fallible humans that we are-experience it.”
Following Jesus is not just a belief but a experience. Believe it and enjoy it.