Extended: A Friend of the Family | Sojourners

Extended: A Friend of the Family

“Jesus Christ transcends all religions! Judaism – Islam – Buddhism – Hinduism… He is greater than all these – including Christianity. Religions are the inventions of men. They may begin with a great leader in mind – Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha… But human tradition soon reduces the original to a mere set of ethical standards and a dead letter of the law which no one can follow. The original sin was not murder, adultery or any other action we call sin. The original sin was, and still is, the human choice to be one’s own god – to control one’s own life – to be in charge – to be religious. Rising out of this choice evolved religion: mankind’s attempt to please God. Jesus transcends religion because he is the incarnation of all that is true, good, loving, gentle, tender, thoughtful, caring, courteous, and selfless. Jesus does not want you to become a Christian. He wants you to become a new creation! There is a great difference between the two.” [i] --Richard Halverson, former Senate Chaplain and Family member

WHEN LAST SEPTEMBER'S issue of Harper’s landed on my coffee table, I hardly expected to find my past within its glossy pages -- least of all in an article about Uganda’s persecution of homosexuals. But right there, in Jeff Sharlet’s “Straight Man’s Burden,” was an indictment of the organization that had shaped my college years.

The article transported me to the beginning of my involvement with the Family, also called the Fellowship and sometimes the Christian Mafia (pejoratively by outsiders, playfully by insiders). This loose global network, based out of Washington, D.C., has no organizational structure, no formal leadership, and no mission statement. Its collective purpose is to “live by the principles of Jesus”: servant leadership, reconciliation, commitment to a small group of brothers (or sisters), and obedience to God and authority.

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