Our choice of political party does not define our faithfulness as a Christian. On Facebook, the polarity between my passionate friends is obvious and shows very little of the love of Christ. Those with the righteous indignation of the right-wing Republican assume you can’t be an authentic Christian if you aren’t striving toward developing a “Christian” nation. And some on the other side of the spectrum assume you cannot be an authentic Christian if you are not on the democratic side of fighting injustice and standing up for the poor and marginalized. Are you tired of taking sides, of being judged by which side you take? Or are you guilty of judging those who are not aligned with the side you take?
The attitude that “The Bible says it; that settles it” is a lazy, alienating approach. Even among Christian believers of all denominations and branches, we must allow ourselves to be shaped by each other, to be willing to move outside the lines of our traditions and cultures so that we are all moving together toward Jesus.
I just finished reading Scott Sauls new book Jesus Outside the Lines: A Way Forward for Those Who Are Tired of Taking Sides. He provides a good approach as to how to hold firmly to our beliefs without perpetuating divisiveness. He addresses the issues of politics, the institutional church, money, sexuality, hypocrisy, suffering, and self-esteem. He shows the compassion of being open to other people’s beliefs and thoughts and seeing the beauty in those who disagree. Learning to see from other perspectives enhances our faith.
Scott Sauls firmly holds to the importance of the local church and the importance of celibacy before marriage which is to be defined as between a man and a woman. He provides his own personal examples of how to hang on to his convictions while still being loving and compassionate.
The subject of pain and suffering is one of the biggest struggles of people choosing to believe God exists. Scott Sauls frowns on the use of pie-in-the-sky theology or superficial Bible Band-Aids. He openly shares his seasons of insomnia, anxiety, and panic attacks. His approach to pain and suffering is refreshing and instills hope.
This book is light reading, not academic or deeply theological in approach. While Scott Sauls tries to come across as speaking to those who have taken sides on both sides, he seems to be more pointed toward an audience on the conservative side. However, I highly recommend this book to believers who are tired of taking sides and just want to live and love like Jesus.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., in exchange for my honest review.