Presenter: David Yarbrough
In the first two class sessions of February, David helped us through the first two-thirds of Diana Butler Bass’s new book, Freeing Jesus. In the book, she is moving through her own faith journey and identifying different perceptions of Jesus that she held. Diana is proposing that we make sense of our lives and our theology in relationship to our culture and life experience. This is what David writes about this class:
“Our last session of Freeing Jesus by Diana Butler Bass will follow Diana’s journey as she walks out— moves to a focus upon Jesus as Way and Presence. She will describe her personal journey out of feeling trapped by inner conflicts mirroring the turbulence within her life settings in seminary studies, an early teaching career, an unhappy marriage. Diana describes new happenings where Jesus was a Lord who wanted to be with us in a changed world, including people of different sorts, care for the world itself, and compassion for the poor. This was the evangelicalism of Jim Wallis in Sojourners, and Jimmy Carter during and after his presidency. This view clashed with the politicized evangelicalism of Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority and most Baptist clergy where Lordship was a dominion over an ordered society where people were slotted in different hierarchies of how close or how far they were from God. For Diana Butler Bass her theme came from Deuteronomy “Today I lay before you two ways, a way that leads to death and a way that leads to life.” She wishes to show that there is a way of following Jesus that leads to death and not to life, and way that leads to more life!”
Diana’s final chapter takes literally Jesus’s words in Matthew 28:20: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” She says, “Living with Jesus is where it gets messy. This is why, I suppose, I became a historian and not a theologian. I prefer fluidity to precision, how we actually live rather than what we should believe.” In the end, she speaks of Jesus as Mystery—“that beyond our wildest imaginings, the ever-creating Love of the cosmos made its way into our small, hurting world, living and dying with us and for us, and promises never, never, never to leave us alone.” She says that we live that mystery in ordinary days and extraordinary ones, whether rocking the baby or watching rocks crash to earth. She will end with a conclusion celebrating the Universal Jesus whom we know through our experience. She has shared her Jesus and invites us to share ours.
Come join us on the journey!”
You may join the class either in person in room 13 or on Zoom. If you don’t get the Sunday morning Zoom link, this is how to enter the Zoom class. Open the Zoom app on your phone or computer. The ID for this class is: 976 0612 3777. There is no passcode. We will meet approximately 10 to 15 minutes after the close of the morning service.