“THE JESUS LIFE: Eight Ways to Recover Authentic Christianity” by Stephen W. Smith published by David C. Cook
The author’s emphasis upon following Jesus as a ‘way of life’ was refreshing. He ask this question, “Do we follow the Way or are we following a denomination, a person, a culture or a program or even a church?” He suggests that many times we have left the Jesus life for the church life.
The confession the author makes can apply to many of us. He says, ”I knew how to live the church life, the American life, and the Baptist life. But I had to face the fact that I did not know how to live the Jesus life.” The author then suggest eight practices that can help us to begin living the Way
One of those eight ways is the ‘way of companionship’. Jesus chose and wanted friends. The author points out that in life we have many acquaintances but as far as any deep friends are concerned we do not have the heart capacity to have that many. Just as God chose us we are to choose friends, but in that choosing we should expect that those friends will disappoint us. We must enter community knowing that no one in the group is perfect. We are an imperfect person in the midst of imperfect people.
Another practice the author brings out is ‘the way of the table’. “We stay alive and enjoy life when we learn to treat the mealtime as more than a meal.” It should become a time of communion as well as consumption. He gives some surprising statistics that show that families who share at least 5 meals together each week provide a shelter against many social vices including drug abuse.
The author also says that we need to practice, ‘The Way of Ritual”. Just as the Jews had many rituals that they followed (the festivals, special days etc) we need to establish rituals into our lives. He says that “rituals are familiar and recognized acts, events and traditions that help us have meaning, tie us together, and interpret through symbols what is happening in and around us.” Some New Testament rituals are baptism and the Lord’s supper.
In reading I was reminded of Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
The question we may need to ask ourselves is what way are we practicing, the American way or the Jesus way or some other way? Possibly the reason many of our children are not Christians (followers of Jesus) today is because we showed them another way of life that was not of Jesus.