This book is an alternative to what passes for Christianity in movies, television, videos, novels, political campaigns, and, sadly, in many churches. It is for Christians, people of other faiths, and people of no faiths. It is for those who have given up on religion and those with secret doubts about concepts and biblical narratives most Christians seem to believe easily.
Douglas Heidt contends that traditional Christian theology deals primarily with intellectual conclusions and emotion, leaving seekers with the idea that if they believe certain propositions, and love God, they will lead safe, happy lives, and go to heaven when they die. But this book argues that Jesus didn’t teach a theological or ecclesiastical system. By his words and life he simply revealed a way to live, the way God created life to be lived, the life of sacrificial, eternal, universal love, kindness, forgiveness, justice, and compassion. Life’s goal is not to believe certain things and go to heaven. Life’s goal is to love your neighbor. This uncomplicated assertion has crucial implications for the church, how we understand the Bible, the Christian story, and the Christian life and its conclusion. It presents ideas that may be challenging, and describes how being Christian is not what you think, it’s what you do.
Douglas Heidt is a retired Presbyterian (PCUSA) minister living in Charleston, WV, after serving as pastor since 1969 in churches in North Carolina, Virginia, Arkansas, and West Virginia. He and his wife have two grown children, five grandchildren for whom this book is written, one dog, one cat, and one bass boat.