Jesus Outside the Lines

March 31, 2015

This afternoon I started reading Scott Sauls‘ refreshing new book, Jesus Outside the Lines: A Way Forward for Those Who Are Tired of Taking Sides. It seems timely – at least for me.

I for one am growing weary of a culture in which increasingly polemic debates seem never ending.  And while I was at first skeptical of the phrase, considering it a bit exaggerated and overblown, I am more-and-more inclined to agree that the United States is appropriately labeled a “post-truth society” – where what matters are not the facts, but rather striking a blow for your political side. That’s what it seems to me, as I read and watch the news regarding the Riots of Ferguson, Missouri, the RFRA in Indiana, among other items.

There is truth. There is wisdom. And what’s more, there are effective ways of finding the wisdom without sacrificing truth.That’s what I long for.  I want to engage in intelligent discussion, both with those with whom I agree and with those with whom I do not agree.  I want to understand, so I can process things from perspectives I may not presently possess. I want to be heard, without being demonized as either a bigot or a half-hearted traitor.  I want to align myself to truth and wisdom, and I want to see truth and wisdom win the day.  I get that most things are more complex than we may want to make them.  I get that we can act wrongly even in those times when we are in the right.  But call me naive, or utopian, but that is what I want.

That is what Scott Sauls advocates in these pages.  Having not yet finished the book, I cannot say that everything Sauls writes will be as music to my ears.  But I can say is, having read a couple of related interviews, what Sauls endeavors to do resonates with my sensibilities.

It is not compromise I desire, but something transcendent: I want to remember that God is truth, for his truth to reign. I want for God’s people to be the champions for the good of all humanity – which is, after all, created after God’s image.  And I want these truths and values brought wisely, winsomely, and effectively into the Public Square.  The fact that some – maybe many – don’t want these ideas in the Public Square is no reason to stop taking them there.  And the fact that some seem to despise these ideas is no excuse for Christians to act in a manner unworthy of the Gospel, as we engage those who oppose and even hate us.

So far, Scott Sauls is not disappointing.

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