The world—and especially the freakin’ Internet—is filled with pastors and ministry leaders furiously (and, mostly, smugly) pimping themselves and whatever nonsense they’ve made of the Gospel. That makes any sane person extremely suspicious of anyone holding up a Bible and saying anything like, “Look at me! I’m doing God’s work! I have a special relationship with God! God loves me and the work I’m doing! Come join me in the wonderful Godly work I’m doing! Don’t forget your wallet!”
I get that. And I realize that my writing the ThruWay Christians founding documents (one traditional-style, and a better one for teens) makes me the leader of that group. And that, I know, automatically makes me vulnerable to being considered one of those guys.
So if you’re thinking I am one of those guys, think about this: Publishing the document for ThruWay Christians threatened me. It was not to my personal advantage to do that. It wasn’t ambitious of me. It was the exact opposite. That was me nearly committing career suicide.
The only people who are paying me to write (right now) are giant companies who cater to the sensibilities of very conservative Christians. Writing for those guys is how I’ve made my living for five years now. (And for a group that’s supposed to be so intolerant, the evangelical people who literally support me have been astoundingly tolerant and gracious.) When I stepped out, and as I did turned unequivocally left, I bit down hard on the only hand that feeds me.
When I began ThruWay Christians, I was, literally, going for broke. I get paid a lot of money to write “Christian” books. It’s how I bought my house. If I wanted to, I could just shut-up, and make a very good living for the rest of my life writing books offered by large Christian companies to large Christian audiences. And I’d definitely get mine. I’d be more than okay.
But doing this? Starting ThruWay Christians? That meant very definitely going out on my own. That was me jumping off a cliff into midair.
So why’d I do it? Simple: I didn’t have a choice. I’m not stupid. I know when God is talking to me. He’s not exactly subtle about it. It’s not like he drops little hints in my life about the fun I might have ruining my career. People fond of saying God works in strange and mysterious ways don’t know jack crap about God. If God is subtle, I’m a hairless albino female.
In my life, God has been absolutely intrusive. (I, a Rabid Anti-Christian, Very Suddenly Convert. And … well, see my book “Penguins, Pain and the Whole Shebang: Why I Do the Things I Do,” by God, as told to John Shore.) I actually resent what practically feels like a hostile takeover.
Anyway, the short of it is that I did what I had to. I wrote what I wrote—and have written what I’ve written—because I know that the Christianity I thus help to define is the future of Christianity.
ThruWay Christians will happen. It is happening. I could no sooner stop it than I could the stars moving through the sky. And I’m honored to lead and shepherd it, and I’ll definitely be honored to write the book through which ThruWay Christianity will be fully and properly expressed.
Like I know my own name I know that one day I’ll be washing dishes, or doing laundry or something, and God will suddenly and fully barge into … well, me.
“John!” God will intone. “Time to write that book. Like, now.”
So then I’ll go into my office, sit down, and basically start taking dictation.
And the book that God will then write through me * will take off in a way that only God can do. And I’ll hate it, because if there’s one thing in this world I do not want to be, it’s famous.
But God wants what he wants. And he wants people to start understanding that he became the Christ for reasons that have now become so ridiculously muddled and lost that people who actually do get it, who really do understand the purpose of nature of God and Christ, are freakin’ embarrassed to call themselves Christian.
That’s what it’s come to. The people who are closest to Christ have to pretend they don’t know him.
Join ThruWay Christians. Don’t. Bitch about us. Love us. Hate us. Call us heretics. Call us (if you absolutely must) relevant. Ignore us. Kick us. Embrace us. Shun us.
Either way, tonight look up at the stars. And then, with all of your might, try to stop their movement.
* I know this is a weird thing to say. I got that.