Friends have asked me how the Jesus Principle began.
It’s best explained in the opening of my book, The Jesus Principle:
A Stranger in a Formerly Familiar Land
Shortly after turning 30 years of age, I returned to my hometown with my wife, three kids, and a dog and cat. As I settled in and became re-accustomed to small town living, I noticed something strange: Most of the friends that I grew up with — at least those still living in this tight-knit prairie community — had become born again Christians. Even though the denominations varied, from Roman Catholic to Protestant faiths, all were on the far edge of conservative Christianity.
It was bewildering. Most of my friends had no visible connection with fundamentalist-leaning Christianity when I left over a decade earlier. Of those who had not already converted, most would do so over the next year or two. These transformations came to include my best friend Mike and his wife Connie. They in turn converted my wife, Wanda, who converted my children. I was left a stranger in a formerly familiar land.
Thus began my search to understand one of the fastest growing segments of Christianity in America today. It set off a personal quest that would consume my life for the next few years and beyond.
In the Beginning
It wasn’t long after my wife began her new life as a born again Christian that I received my first inkling of what would later become the Jesus Principle. It emerged out of my attempt to understand a gap — a morality gap — between the ideal behavior that Jesus represents and the actual way that I was treated by the born again Christians in my life, often in His name. This soon expanded to include the national stage and the way that Christians, especially conservative Christians, treated other Americans.
The principle evolved over time to its present form:
The Jesus Principle
The inability of Christians to be like Jesus
because of the less-evolved beliefs and practices of their religious faith.
Back to the beginning. In the weeks following Wanda’s conversion I was both worried and encouraged…