Monday, January 23, 2012

"Jesus Did It Anyway" (Kent M. Keith)

TITLE: Jesus Did It Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments for Christians
AUTHOR: Kent M. Keith
PUBLISHER: New York, NY: GP Putman's Sons-Penguin, 2005, (206 pages).


What is the key to personal meaning and deep happiness? What is God calling each of us to be doing? Are we searching for meaning and happiness in the wrong places? These questions are answered through ten paradoxical statements. Often attributed to Mother Teresa in the ANYWAY poem, Keith puts in writing that the 'paradoxical commands' are actually collected and pieced together by some people from his earlier writings. The author asserts:
"The point is not to be against the world. The point is that our faith isn't about secular, commercial success or social prestige. Our faith is about loving God and following Christ. . . . .........  When we are in the world but not of the world, we are free. We are free to be who God wants us to be, not who the world wants us to be. We are free to love God and others, and fulfil God's will for our lives, without worrying about what the secular commercial world thinks of us." (13)

Other gems include:

  • "When I choose a job, it should be the job that I believe I am called to do, not the job that offers the most power, wealth, fame, or social position. And I should not be afraid to take risks, or break social norms, when it is necessary to follow Jesus." (17)
  • "The paradox here is that when things in the secular, commercial world are going badly, our spiritual lives can still be meaningful and full of deep happiness." (17-18)
  • "But the story of Good Friday is not about how the world treated Jesus; the story is also about how Jesus responded to the way he was treated. And his response was astonishing. It was breathtaking. In the face of cruelty and pain and hate, Jesus loved people anyway. He forgave people anyway. And he saved people anyway. What a powerful message!" (25)

THE TEN PARADOXICAL COMMANDMENTS

  1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
  2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
  3. If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
  4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
  5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
  6. The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shut down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
  7. People favor underdogs, but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
  8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
  9. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
  10. Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

It is tempting for us to jump straight into the details of the ten paradoxical commandments. I strongly advise against it. It is the CALL that we are not of the world, that sets the stage for the entire book. The author does a good job in giving personal illustrations, biblical examples, and many different ways to describe the meaning of the paradoxical commandments. While the book is easy to understand, the working out of the commandments can be more challenging. I suggest that the study questions at the end of the book be used as a guide for us to apply.Now, some readers may ask me. "What if I do not feel like doing the commandments today?" I suppose I can then speak on behalf of the author: "Do it anyway."

Ratings: 4 stars of 5.

conrade

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