Last night I finished reading The Jesus Proposal by Rubel Shelly and John York.
Yes, I know; most folks in my tribe of Christianity started and finished reading it years ago when it was first published. (Those who are of a mind to seek to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, anyway.) But I am behind on my reading list by several years, and if it hadn't been for the fact that my LIFE Group at church is studying this tome, I might not have made time for it for a few more years.
You see, I've been trying to spend more time in scripture itself and less time with books telling me what the authors think it says.
The Jesus Proposal states many of the same conclusions that I have reached in my study of scripture and have blogged about here - and states them far more eloquently than I could.
(David U, it's quite possible that the book you are always nudging me to write has already been written!)
So I would encourage you to purchase or borrow it, read it, and weigh it carefully.
But first, read an article from the archives of New Wineskins that predates my tenure as its WebServant or Managing Editor: On Second Look, Maybe There Is a Pattern by Mark Black (January-August 2001 edition).
Meditate on the implications of the author's premise: that the companion works of Luke and Acts form a pattern for living and community set by Christ and imitated by His followers ... that the early church did virtually everything they did; taught everything they taught; helped in every way they helped because Jesus did so first.
Then, when you have a copy of The Jesus Proposal in your hands, think about the implications of living as part of that Christ-centered, Christ-fascinated church - and how much broader your definition of that church might become; how much more inclusive and how much more characterized by the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Now excuse me; I need to go back to the Leafwood Publishers site right now and order Shelly and York's followup work, The Jesus Community.