The approach to this issue of Conversations is different from past issues—we transcribed talks from the Renovaré International conference in 2009 on the theme “Following the Jesus Way” and turned them into articles and interviews. I invite you to revisit this new/old issue as you journey on the Jesus Way. Perhaps there will be something that speaks to you in a new way!
In her introduction to this topic, Tara Owens, senior editor of Conversations, discusses what it means for one to follow the Jesus Way and sets the tone of this issue; “The way of Jesus is robustly human, deeply conversational, and highly ordinary. Jesus requires our participation. We can’t simply be a fan or an admirer; we must enter the story; we must participate in making meaning, just as we participate in and personalize our understanding of what the metaphor of ‘the way’ might mean.”
The pieces we gathered on this theme were personal stories of transformation—the writers shared their experiences of becoming like Jesus. The examples were different—but all included an element of honesty, softening of one’s heart toward self and others, and being deeply loved. James Bryan Smith quoted a friend who was able to notice the change in his life that took place because he committed to follow Jesus and train his mind to the things of God: “I have changed. I know who I am, and I know where I am. I am a person in whom Christ dwells, and I live in the kingdom of a God who loves me and is caring for me.” What a deep confidence that comes when a person is grounded in and lives out of that identity.
You’ll also have the chance to listen in on a few conversations on this topic between Gary Moon and Eugene Peterson, as well as Mindy Caligure and Juanita Rasmus. Dallas Willard’s piece challenges the notion of our kingdoms and entering servanthood through exile.
Each article in this issue includes discussion questions or resources the editors felt helpful for the topic. The Conversations Guide feature is also still included, which allows you to turn this magazine into a personal or small group discussion guide. We’ve modeled this offering in the classroom section of Conversatio, as we took a deeper look into Eugene Peterson’s article, The Jesus Way. What is it and Why Should I Care?
As Tara Owens put it, “It will be easy enough to skim through this issue, to take in the information impersonally rather than engaging with the meaning Christ would make of these articles in your own life. However, we hope you’ll receive the challenge to resist the temptation to accept the kind of passivity that the world is seeking to bring into what it means to ‘follow.’ Engage. Reach out. Pass along. Make following the Jesus way something that you do, rather than something you simply read.”