The subject of this book has been on my mind for well over a decade. Since
my tumultuous teenage years, I was fascinated by the ancient history of
Christianity: The miraculous life of Jesus and the apostles; the seemingly
unstoppable spread of the gospel; and the prophetic development of a world
religion. I was always overwhelmingly captivated by the vast complexity, as well
as subtle nuances, of this religion.
Two years ago, a particular experience became the turning point and catalyst
for this book. Because this subject has been a driving influence throughout my
life, I feel it appropriate to begin by explaining why and how this subject became
so important to me.
I was raised in a strict Christian home and for the majority of my life I was
actively involved in religion. From the time I was little I was awed by the power
of God in parting the Red Sea; the majestic fury of Moses as he boldly demanded
of Pharaoh, “Let my people go”; and Joshua’s jubilation as the walls of Jericho
crumbled under the trumpets’ triumphant blare.
My skin crawled as I learned of the sinister serpent’s insidious deception in the
garden and I spent days wondering what it would be like to live inside the belly of
a whale. Would there be any light? Would I be able to look out the blowhole on the
whale’s back? Would there be other fishermen in the beast’s belly like in the Disney
cartoon Pinocchio? Such were the thoughts of an eight-year old boy.
My parents, four siblings and I attended Church every Sunday. As a family, we
read from the scriptures together. I can vividly remember summer evenings spent
learning about Jesus’ importance at Vacation Bible School while making crafts
and singing “This Little Light of Mine.”
Jesus was so important, in fact, that teachers were constantly giving me
stickers with His picture on them to help me remember how to act. Countless times
I heard the questions, “Young man, would Jesus do that?” or “Would Jesus say
that to a friend?” or “What would Jesus do right now?” I was even told, “If He were
here, Jesus would be so upset with you right now.”
I learned Jesus made all the rules when it came to how we should act.
As a child, acting “like Jesus” was my noblest aspiration – that is, of course, when I wasn’t trying to save the princess from the evil clutches of Darth Vader with my plastic green light saber or leaping from one piece of furniture to the other as Superman, with my cape (a homemade, patchwork quilt) billowing behind me.
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