Hello, I am Tim Chastain the author of this blog—Jesus without Baggage.
In this first entry I want to let you know what this blog is about, why I wish to share it, and whom I think might be interested.
When I was seven years old, I ‘got saved’ in a fundamentalist church. That event set me on a journey that is still unfinished, and I am now 61 years old. During that time, I have never rebelled against God or the church. However, for reasons I still do not understand, my journey involved a characteristic I do not always find among fundamentalists or evangelicals. I had a strong need to follow the truth.
Now this is not to say that other fundamentalists are not concerned for the truth; in fact, they often contend fiercely for the truth. But the fundamentalist position on most things is that they already have the truth and it is not up for consideration. Of course, this is not unique to fundamentalists and evangelicals; it is a concept shared by many religious individuals and movements.
As a seeker for truth, when I became a teen I began to examine the truths that I had accepted in the fundamentalist-evangelical package that came from my desire to follow God. Some of the truths did not hold up, and some of those were BIG ones! Among my conclusions:
- God is not an angry God and he is not angry at us. In fact, he is the Father.
- No one is going to be tortured in hell for eternity.
- The Bible is a wonderful book, but it is not inerrant. It is the story of people trying to understand the Father and the story of the Father’s response to those people.
- Jesus is the central focus of what we can learn about the Father and he is the only one I can trust with my spiritual well-being. I would give my life for him. I believe that in his resurrection he demonstrated a power over death that assures our own eventual victory over death.
- The message of Jesus is tremendously inclusive. He gives us good news. He frees us from feelings of alienation from the Father, from others, and from ourselves; he frees us from fear and superstition; and he assures us of eternal life. This good news is without conditions.
I believe this good news is for all of us and our task as believers and followers is to share the good news with others, so that they can access it in their lives. It is not based on acceptance of ANY set of doctrinal beliefs nor ANY list of behavioral rules. Of course, behavior does matter—it matters very much, but not in the way most people think, and not in any way that one person can dictate to or judge another person. His good news is for everyone, whether or not they have even heard the name of Jesus.
The conclusions I have drawn from my journey are now my pre-suppositions. Although, as a seeker of truth, my beliefs are always open to further consideration.
As a believer and a follower, I wish to share this good news to others. We will elaborate on the many practical ramifications of this good news. I have no desire to persuade anyone to accept my views, but some may find that they make sense and are helpful in their own journeys. Among the people whom I anticipate might want to read this blog are:
- Those who are struggling with doubts about the Christian ‘truths’ they have accepted.
- Those who are interested in Jesus but not in the baggage they find associated with him among many Christians.
- Those believers who have rightfully abandoned Christian baggage but who need strength from and communication with others on the same journey.
- Those who have rightfully abandoned Christian baggage but who have abandoned Jesus along with it.
If you are interested in Jesus, but not the baggage, I invite you to join me on my journey.