Taking flight is a triumphant chapter in So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore. After the long process of poking holes in Jake’s illusions about God and what it means to follow him, Jake is finally finding his footing on a better trailhead as he begins to learn how to live out a life in Jesus free from guilt and personal performance.
Here’s a brief excerpt from that chapter:
Jake speaks, “As I read the life of Jesus now, I see more clearly that’s what he was doing-freeing people from shame so that they could embrace his Father. And I’m seeing that with increasing freedom in my own life too. That’s probably the greatest gift you’ve given me, John. I no longer labor under the oppressive guilt of how short I fall nor under the demanding obligations of self-produced righteousness. And I’m no longer putting that on others.”
“That’s fabulous,” John smiles.
“I never realized how much of what I thought was ministry was only manipulating people’s shame—whether it was to make them feel guilty for falling short or to earn other people’s approval.”
“That’s what religion is, Jake. It’s a shame-management system, often with the best of intentions and always with the worst of results.”
This is a great moment in someone’s journey when the gravity of human effort and guilt loses its hold, and the pull of his love and power takes over. At that moment, everything changes, and we look with new eyes at the trail Jesus has laid out for us. Yes, we still have struggles, but we are changed in the process. I’ve treasured this change in my own life and have watched it happen in so many people. It’s brutal to watch people labor under the burden and arrogance of religious performance, thinking that by doing so they curry God’s favor. His love is all we need to transform us with his glory as he invites us on the adventure of following him.
We’ll be talking about that this weekend for the next gathering of the Jake Colsen Book Club, which will be held this Sunday, April 2, at 1:30 pm PDT. For our international participants, the U.S. has moved our clocks ahead one hour to daylight savings time, so you may need to recalculate what time it is where you live. Lots of websites will help you sort that out. Anyone is welcome to join us, even if it’s your first time. We will also stream it live on my Facebook Author Page, but if you want to be part of the conversation, you can get a link to the Zoom Room by emailing Wayne and asking for it.