Jesus Outside the Lines: A Way Forward for Those Who Are Tired of Taking Sides

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
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Whether the issue of the day on Twitter, Facebook, or cable news is our sexuality, political divides, or the perceived conflict between faith and science, today’s media pushes each one of us into a frustrating clash between two opposing sides. Polarizing, us-against-them discussions divide us and distract us from thinking clearly and communicating lovingly with others. Scott Sauls, like many of us, is weary of the bickering and is seeking a way of truth and beauty through the conflicts. Jesus Outside the Lines presents Jesus as this way. Scott shows us how the words and actions of Jesus reveal a response that does not perpetuate the destructive fray. Jesus offers us a way forward—away from harshness, caricatures, and stereotypes. In Jesus Outside the Lines, you will experience a fresh perspective of Jesus, who will not (and should not) fit into the sides.
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Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
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Published on
Mar 1, 2015
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Religion / Christian Life / Social Issues
Religion / Christian Ministry / Evangelism
Religion / Ethics
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Young people aren’t walking away from the church—they’re sprinting. According to a recent study by Ranier Research, 70 percent of youth leave church by the time they are 22 years old. Barna Group estimates that 80 percent of those reared in the church will be “disengaged” by the time they are 29 years old. Unlike earlier generations of church dropouts, these “leavers” are unlikely to seek out alternative forms of Christian community such as home churches and small groups. When they leave church, many leave the faith as well.

Drawing on recent research and in-depth interviews with young leavers, Generation Ex-Christian will shine a light on this crisis and propose effective responses that go beyond slick services or edgy outreach. But it won’t be easy. Christianity is regarded with suspicion by the younger generation. Those who leave the faith are often downright cynical. To make matters worse, parents generally react poorly when their children go astray. Many sink into a defensive crouch or go on the attack, delivering homespun fire-and-brimstone sermons that further distance their grown children. Others give up completely or take up the spiritual-sounding “all we can do is pray” mantra without truly exploring creative ways to engage their children on matters of faith. Some turn to their churches for help, only to find that they frequently lack adequate resources to guide them. This is where Generation Ex-Christian will lend a hand. It will equip and inspire parents, church leaders, and everyday Christians to reawaken the prodigal's desire for God and set him or her back on the road to a dynamic faith. The heart of the book will be the raw profiles of real-world, young ex-Christians. No two leavers are identical, but upon close observation some categories emerge. The book will identify seven different kinds of leavers (the postmodern skeptic, the drifter, the neopagan, etc.) and offer practical advice for how to connect with each type. Shrewd tips will also intersperse the chapters alerting readers to opportunities for engagement, and to hidden landmines they must sidestep to effectively reach leavers.

From an influential pastor and author--whose writing Ann Voskamp calls "sharp, informed, [and] culturally savvy"--comes a revelatory blueprint for an utterly transformative and enticing Christianity.

Jesus said his followers would be a light to the world and a city on a hill. He envisioned a wildly diverse yet compellingly unified multitude of strangers that would penetrate the world with love. They would be a counter-culture, in a way that was for the culture not against it. They would lead the world in acts of love and justice and be the most life-giving bosses, employees, neighbors, and friends. They would also be the best enemies, returning insults with kindness and persecution with prayers. They would stay true to their biblical convictions and--not in spite of those convictions but because of them--would love, listen to, and serve those who don't share their convictions. Over time their movement--Jesus' movement--would become irresistible to people from every nation, tribe, and tongue.

This is not how many, perhaps most, today see Christianity. And justifiably so, given that many bearing the name Christian use the Bible to justify behavior that Jesus would never endorse and would always condemn, that would in fact make Jesus furious. But Jesus's vision for the church is possible, and Irresistible Faith provides a blueprint for Christians to pursue it as redeemed individuals, as a renewed community, and as those working for a restored world. This is a way of being that gives a tired, cynical world a reason to pause and consider Christianity . . . and to start wishing it was true.

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