i was first turned on to Tom Wright in my first year of university (leading edge to be precise). we read a book called “the challenge of Jesus” by Wright and it began to shift the way i thought (this book is a must-read for Christians, IMHO). after leading edge i took numerous new testament courses taught by one steven thompson (read: stevie t) who further cranked-my-chain in regards to Wright.
anywho, i’ve just finished reading “simply christian” and you ought to do the same. here is sample on the relationship between God and the world:
“Option Two was to see God and the world as a long way apart from one another. Many today, faced with the question of Christian ethics, assume this model, taking it for granted that if this distant God wanted humans to behave in particular ways he would give them instructions. The idea of an overarching moral law, common to all humankind, written perhaps within human consciences but also needing to be thought out, argued through, and taught, has been extremely common in Western society for the last two hundred years at least. Indeed, many people have supposed that when St. Paul was talking about “the law,” he was referring to that sort of overarching moral system. Christian ethics then becomes a matter of struggling to obey a somewhat arbitrary code of law promulgated by a distant deity. Within that struggle, “sin” is seen in terms of breaking laws conceived in that fashion; and “salvation” is the rescue of human beings from the punishment that this deity would otherwise inflict on those who disobey his decrees,” (Wright, N.T. Simply Christian, 220).
i think we all, at one point or another had boiled Christianity down to “following the rules.” this was, of course, until we heard Jesus’ (through james) incredibly liberating words, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” than-you Lord for forever fulling (how’s that for alliteration?) the law on our behalf.
so, what is this Christian way of life about then?
“Rather, it is the new way of being human, the Jesus- shaped way of being human, the cross-and-resurrection way of life, the Spirit-led pathway. It is the way which anticipates, in the present, the full, rich, glad human existence which will one day be ours when God makes all things new,” (Wright, N.T. Simply Christian, 222).
if that doesn’t get you excited, then check your pulse sir/ma’m.