Presenter: David Yarbrough
This week’s class is a continuation of our exploration of Diana Butler Bass’s new book and videos on how her view of Jesus has changed throughout her life. David Yarbrough, who is facilitating this class, says this about the class:
“Pleasant View Baptist Church near Clarksville, Tennessee, has a cherished place in my life story, a hundred-plus years old church whose Sunday School teachers, pastors, deacons and youth leaders loved me and deepened my interest in following my friend Jesus as my life work. A missions program called Royal Ambassadors, somewhat similar to scouting, provided fun recreational activities, recognition for passing through ranks, scripture memorization, and developed my search for “God’s will for my Life.” At age twelve I concluded God was calling me to become a missionary to South America. It sounded far more adventurous than becoming an ordinary pastor serving most likely near my roots in the South.
Sadly, almost the entire focus of my Christian journey growing up in that church was focused upon bringing others to “accept Christ,” following Him in baptism by immersion, and serving Him mainly by becoming “soul-winners” who would convert others to the good news that Jesus saves from sin, death, and hell. Liberal churches that followed “the social gospel” were criticized as irrelevant to Jesus’s great commission to His church to make disciples of all nations by getting people “saved” so they would go to heaven when they died. Making disciples or “leading people to Christ” was essentially making sure that those converted looked, talked, and thought like we did. No persons of color were welcome at our church, and social justice, and social concerns were “this worldly” emphases, departing from the eternal Gospel seeking salvation of souls so they would go to heaven. I wish I could say, “Tell me it wasn’t so!”
Diana Butler Bass will share this week her similar journey from her Methodist childhood into adolescence in Scottsdale Bible Church in Arizona after her family moved when she was fourteen and her parents quit church. She will explore contrasting nuances between seeing Jesus as Savior and Lord in the evangelical world she became a part of during adolescence and her college years at evangelical Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA., and seeing Jesus as Savior (the one who makes us whole), and Lord: not as subservient to a new Emperor Jesus, but followers of the trailblazer who is found on the streets of the poor “fixing what is broken in the world.” The Lordship of Jesus is located within the kin-dom” where “kin-ship,” the way we are related to our kind God and to one another takes place, far removed from the power structures of kingdoms whose hierarchies most often rule through fear and intimidation.”
We will know on Thursday whether we are meeting in person or online this week. The Church Council will decide. Either way, join us on Zoom about 10 minutes after the morning service. 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 look forward to gathering this week.