Dear Hank: I want to help fellow believers around the globe to live and share the fullness of the cruciform life with a spiritually hungry but skeptical world. Please send me the following:
“Christians are familiar with the idea that Jesus shows us who God is. But seldom do we realize that Jesus also shows us who humanity was created to be.”
“We can talk about the ways the cross turns our world upside down. It certainly does overturn our expectations. But in truth the cross actually turns the world right side up.”
– from The Cross Before Me: Reimagining the Way to the Good Life, Rankin Wilbourne & Brian Gregor
For more excerpts and information click on the description section below.
In The Cross Before Me, author Rankin Wilbourne and co-author Brian Gregor offer a unique and provocative perspective on God’s design for the cross and explore how the way of the cross is the path to life, happiness, and being human.
Drawing on biblical truths, historical writings, and modern examples they ask,
Excerpts from The Cross Before Me: Reimagining the Way to the Good Life, Rankin Wilbourne and Brian Gregor
What humanity was created to be
Christians are familiar with the idea that Jesus shows us who God is. But seldom do we realize that Jesus also shows us who humanity was created to be.
On imitation without participation
This book is also not about the imitation of Christ. Imitating Christ is impossible if our faith isn’t grounded in our union with him… Imitation without participation is not life giving. It’s exhausting. It’s just religious moralism.
Right side up
We can talk about the ways the cross turns our world upside down. It certainly does overturn our expectations. But in truth the cross actually turns the world right side up.
“…that saved a wretch like me.”
“It seems that if you can’t ever admit to being a wretch, you haven’t been paying attention.” —Kathleen Norris
On theologies of glory
There is much to critique, lament, and ultimately reject in these theologies of glory. They encourage a kind of narcissism or vanity that makes the self and our projects the center of reality. This is the sense in which theologians like Augustine and Luther described sin as “incurvature” (the self curved in on itself). This is the self that must die (Mark 8:34) and that we should hate (John 12:25), the self that seeks its glory through its own reason or its own doing, which Paul called “the old self” (Ephesians 4:22). This self must be crucified.
Finding our true identity
Finding your identity in Christ means learning to look outside yourself to another, to Jesus, to tell you who you are. No longer is your identity what you do or how others see you, but it becomes what Jesus has done for you and how he sees you.
It’s one thing to agree theoretically and abstractly: my life is not about me. It’s another for this truth to take root in the soil of your heart so you can withstand storms at work and push beyond the thorns of worry that seek to choke out the new life (Mark 4:7, 18–19). Like all biblical knowledge, this knowing has to be lived to be learned. But when we finally glimpse that our worth is in Christ, not in our work, we no longer have to worry about being remembered for what we’ve done or how others view us.
As creatures there is nothing we have that we have not received (1 Corinthians 4:7). It has often been commented that the Latin root of “humility,” humus, means “earth.” Our bodies come from the dust of the earth, and for a span of time between two dates on a tombstone, we borrow this dust. The breath in our lungs was breathed into us by God.
When a good Christian looks like a good American
The problem with Christendom thus defined is that it teaches that you can be a Christian and still be fully at home in the world. When the world and Christianity are on such good terms, it can be difficult to see where they diverge. Being a good Christian looks a lot like being a good American. And thus, being a good American means you are being a good Christian. It is difficult to see where one ends and the other begins, and as a result it becomes easy to adopt the values of one’s culture without recognizing when they are in fact antithetical to the way of Jesus.
On suffering…and a glory yet to be revealed
Suffering is hard to square with the way we envision the good life. This is supposed to be a book about happiness, after all, yet very few of us would voluntarily choose suffering, even if it does promise to lead to the happiness we seek. And we shouldn’t. The way of the cross is not one of seeking our suffering, nor does it treat suffering as an end in itself. But suffering, when it comes, is the unavoidable way to new — and true — life. There is no way around it….When we are in Christ, our suffering is both transformed and transformative. It is suffering unto new life and a glory that is yet to be
revealed in its fullness.
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