by Rev. Mason Dorsey
In their book A is for Abductive, Leonard Sweet, Brian McLaren and Jerry Haselmayer use the letter W to point out that Jesus is the Way (John 14:5-6). In previous models of the Christian faith, Jesus has been defined as a static center point and people are either moving towards Jesus or away from Him.
The authors then ask the question, what if Jesus is moving? What if Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Kingdom of God are not static but dynamic? What if Jesus is still the itinerant preacher, the Way, walking along the shores of Galilee and into Samaria and back to Jerusalem? What if the Holy Spirit is still the wind that blows of which no one knows where it comes from or to where it goes? What if the Kingdom of God is still advancing bringing in the eschaton, the final culmination of Heaven on Earth that we as followers of Christ are here to make happen?
Then the question becomes, are we moving in the same direction with Jesus? As Wesley, who hated the idea of field preaching, learned early on, he had to go where the people were. If it was to the mine shafts at 5:00am, and that was where Jesus wanted to be, there he went. If it was to the sanitariums and slums of London, and that was where Jesus wanted to be, there he went.
As United Methodists, some of us pride ourselves at being in the center of all things. Some have even written books on how we lead from the extreme center. What if Jesus is not in the center? What if the center has become a point that Jesus would completely disagree with those who are now centrists?
So if Jesus is The Way and we are called to Follow Him, are we going with Him to the places He is leading us to go? Are we opening our souls up to the Jesus who says “Here is where I am going, Follow Me”? Are our lives a reflection of the transformation Jesus works in us so that we go wherever He desires us to go? Staying in the center, and the center can be as changing as society redefines the margins, may no longer be the same as following Jesus. The question Methodists were really good at asking was, “Where is Jesus going?” Is that the question we still ask today?