As readers know, my New Year’s Resolution is, for me, revolutionary. I’m taking a journey back to the New Testament, casting aside all my preconceived ideas and asking, “What did those original apostles believe?” . . . “What was important to them?” And other stuff like that.
The goal of the journey is to really know who Jesus was and is; and gain a fresh perspective.
I’m 54 and can say I’ve been following him for 37 years now with some success, some falling short and everything in between.
So I ask, Would my faith be more powerful and effective if I started from the beginning with fresh eyes?
The dangerous part of this Journey is the idea of finding things I’ve held onto forever which must be discarded, or finding new and difficult truths I’ve got to embrace.
Here are the Journey’s parameters:
First, we start with the premise that we know nothing. Not a thing. We will bounce around the New and Old Testaments a bit, but wherever we go, we will act as if no one has told us a darned thing about Jesus (am I allowed to say “darned?” in a blog post regarding faith?).
Not. One. Thing.
What does this mean? For our Journey, it means I’m not allowed (you either, if you contact me on Twitter, Facebook or via email at kirk(at)kirkwalden.com) to say, “Well, we already know that . . .”
Nope. Can’t do that stuff. We’re going straight to the Biblical accounts and letters we find; not off onto theological debates.
Second, we can’t call upon the great minds of the day (or past days) to help us interpret what we are reading. In truth, Jesus took his message to regular people. If you can even read this blog, your educational level is above many whom Jesus reached. Peter and Andrew—two early disciples of Jesus–were fishermen, not theologians or professors.
Therefore, Jesus didn’t make things complicated or mysterious. Basically, anyone could understand him if they had “ears to hear.” So if we march into complicated-land, we’re likely off track.
Recapping the rules:
1. We know nothing.
2. Stick with the stories and letters from those who were there and truly knew Jesus. We’re staying with the first followers.
There is a third rule: Let’s enjoy the journey. It’s in my DNA to laugh and find humor in things. When I speak at events, if we aren’t laughing in the first five minutes, it’s going to be a long night. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen often.
Early next week, we’re off on the journey. Our subject? Jesus’ first words.
I can’t wait to get started.