Monday, August 31, 2009

"Them" or Him?

The real glorious thing about The Transforming Friendship is that Weatherhead's idea that Christianity is essentially the acceptance of the friendship of Jesus is anything but fluffy. So often we hear it said or read somewhere that Jesus is our "Friend." But what follows is a soft description of friendship that doesn't at all add up to the Jesus of the gospels and what He asks of us.

Weatherhead warns against this kind of interpretation over and over again. He even strongly suggests, "Religion has become a soft and flabby and aesthetic thing...We are all attracted by Christ, but we are held back by a thousand things." For some, this might simply be the appearance of things. We know that communion with God would afford us the freedom and peace we so desire. But we find ourselves so consumed with worry about what other people think "until in the end we care more for what they all think than what the eternal Christ thinks.

And who are "they"? I ask myself this question all the time. When someone tells me, "They say" this-or-that or I find myself worried about what people will think if I do this-or-that, I am faced with this question. Who are "they" and why do I care about what "they" think. I know who Jesus is...and what He thinks counts more than the opinions of "them," whoever "they" are.

I think deep down inside of us we know why we listen to "them" instead of Him. We have this fear that God might ask of us and do more than we could ever imagine. So, we listen to "them," limit ourselves, and settle for far less than our potential. All in the name of fitting in to the status quo.

But friendship with Jesus - the real, transformative kind - offers us so much more. It demands all...and gives all. Accepting the friendship of Jesus will make you more yourself than you will ever be listening to "them" instead of Him.

1 comment:

christianne said...

Hi Julie,

I happened upon your blog today as I was doing some online shopping for Leslie Weatherhead's book on transforming friendship. Your blog showed up in the Google search, I guess, because you've been blogging about the book lately.

It's so exciting to hear how this book has struck you so profoundly. I have been working with a gentleman named Wally Armstrong (a former golf pro who is a believer and written a couple of books) to write a book about his own experience of having his life changed five years ago by this book by Leslie Weatherhead.

In fact, just over this last month, as we've been working on the book, we've also launched a website that will help others begin to see Jesus more clearly and grow into this same kind of transforming friendship Weatherhead talks about. It's just getting started, but we're excited about it. (And this is why we were even more excited to find your blog and learn you'd just recently read the book, too!)

If you want to check out the website, it's called The Chair Experiment. You can access it here. (You can also see on the website a link to download the first three chapters of Wally's book that tells the more in-depth story of how he came to be changed by Weatherhead's book.)