Monday, June 08, 2009



There is a universal truth in the marketplace: "Only 5% think, 15% think they think and 80% would rather die than think." We live and move in herds. We go along and rarely question what we hear. This is especially true after hearing things over and over throughout our lives. The tendency is to accept without question whatever we hear that is attached to a Scriptural verse and delivered by a pastor, teacher, guru, priest, imam, or monk we trust. I call these blind beliefs "myths" that are passed on so frequently that they become THE truth and a vital doctrine in our religious beliefs.

Once we have embraced a given myth, we tend to use it to establish that we are more right than another. There is something in our humanity that works overtime to be right, which makes those who disagree with us wrong.

I have been caught up in a series of myths my entire life. After growing up in a Christian home, attending a Christian liberal arts college and a four year graduate seminary, I went along with many of the myths without questioning what I read or was taught. The result? My eyes gradually glazed over and I became hard of hearing.

I've spent most of my life seeking to understand how to relate to the non-churched, non-Christian world. My books and speaking platforms have all had a crossover flavor to them and I finally ended up at the peak of professional speaking opportunities on the largest platforms in addition to pastoring one of the early mega-churches.

During that season of my life I came to the conclusion that only Jesus could transform our lives. 1. NOT Churchianity 2. NOT Christianity 3. NOT conversion methods 4. ONLY JESUS

I came to the conclusion that in order to reach the non-churched world I would have to separate myself from mainstream churches and Christianity. So, I did that to a certain degree, but I still had to take up offerings to keep the church and its staff alive.

In the second season of my life Jesus apprehended my heart in a fresh way and poised me toward taking this same "Jesus plus nothing" message beyond the "secular", non-churched world into the 7 major cultures of the world.

So, now my focus and perpendicular learning curve have taken me to a simple understanding of Jesus and the Kingdom. I've spent so much time and energy unlearning a lot of my theological premises I received at graduate seminary while a student and professor. It's been a fresh look at Jesus and His message of the good news of the Kingdom. His message was not the church, but all about the Kingdom. He only mentions "church" on two occasions.

In this journey now we are working with the 7 primary cultures of the world-Buddhist, Hindu, Moslem, Jewish, Animist, Christian and Atheist/Agnostic. We don't present Christianity to them, but Jesus. We teach them to follow the teachings and principles of Jesus as the early disciples did. The results are amazing. Instead of further dividing the world into more warring factions, we are experiencing a new and supernatural unity in the name of Jesus. You see, Jesus unites and all else divides! I am now convinced that Christianity isn't the way; Jesus is!

One of the repeated themes and challenges within the teachings of Jesus is to have ears to hear and eyes to see. Jesus knows our human tendency to drift away, get off-message, become distracted, and to divide up and take sides. So, He warns us to be careful that we listen and see clearly.

We are going to make our way through 32 myths. These aren't the only myths, but seem to be some of the most common ones. It is not my purpose to shake up your faith in any way other than to strengthen it and refocus it on Jesus. As you read through each of the myths, remove your religious blinders, think and evaluate what you believe Jesus' teaching really is. Don't be afraid to go with His teachings, when they counter things you have believed all your life. It may be a little shocking at first, but when the light bulb clicks on in your head and heart, you'll know what is true.

Jesus without religious baggage is awesome, attractive and even irresistible! The only thing Jesus requires of you and me is to be interested-to have ears to hear and eyes to see.

If you are Muslim, know that your holy Qur'an teaches the uniqueness of Jesus and reveres Him most highly. If you are Buddhist, know that His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, loves the teachings of Jesus and encourages people to study them and follow Him. If you are Hindu, know that there are millions within your culture who have come to love and follow Jesus as did Ghandi. If you are Jewish, do as your many scholars are doing and study this Jewish Rabbi for yourself. If you are agnostic, you may be better able to check this out for yourself, who this Jesus without religious baggage really is.

If you are Christian, you may have the toughest time examining these myths. It's because you think you already know Jesus. What I have found to be true is that many Christians seem to know a lot about Jesus, but don't really know Him and follow Him.

Whether Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, agnostic or Christian, Jesus will never ask you to leave your culture. Jesus supersedes all culture. As a Buddhist friend said to me: "Jesus trumps everything!" If you myth out on Jesus, you will find that you are missing out on life at its fullest!