Implications for Christian Life

How we think about Jesus will very much affect what we think the Christian life is most centrally about.

~ Marcus Borg

To take Jesus seriously, as the image of God, to see the historical Jesus as having a spirit dimension, wisdom dimension, and political dimension leads to a vision of the Christian life with those same three dimensions.

Spirit dimension

A life centered in the spirit is centered in God, in the same spirit Jesus knew in his life.

detail of The Agony in the Garden. Fresco. Giovanni Canavesio. France, 1492.God is all around us and has been in relationship with us whether or not we are aware of it.

A life that flows from taking Jesus seriously as a spirit person is centered in spirituality: becoming conscious and intentional about a relationship with God.

Wisdom dimension

Life centered in the spirit also means life lived in accord with the alternative wisdom of Jesus rather than the conventional wisdom of culture.

Jesus’ alternative wisdom leads to a life whose fruit is growth in compassion not in righteousness.

detail of The Miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes. Lithograph. Jean Heiberg, USA, contemporary.

Jesus teaches:

“Be compassionate as God is compassionate”

Love and compassion are the primary fruits of the spirit.

To take Jesus seriously is to embody his example and vision of compassion and inclusiveness.

Political dimension

A life with a social-political imperative involves political consciousness-raising about the way political structures profoundly impact human life.

JesusJesus was a social prophet:

  • in the tradition of the great social prophets of Israel
  • with passion for a just and compassionate social order

God cares about human suffering and the causes of human suffering.

Bad political structures are the single greatest source of suffering in human history.

Wars, starvation, brutality, etc. are caused by unjust human social structures.

detail of Crucifixion. Wood. New Irlanda, Melanesia, 20th century.One can make a very good case that Jesus was killed because he stood against the domination systems of his day and advocated an alternative social vision.

To care about human beings means to care about devising more humane and just and compassionate social structures.

Spirit, compassion, and the quest for justice are at the center of a Christian life that takes this portrait of Jesus seriously.

Question to ponder...

How does your image of Jesus affect your life?

NextBooks by Marcus Borg for further study