Just before trying to unsuccessfully trick him, some of Jesus' religious opponents said to him "we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality." (Matthew 22:16).
I love the part about showing partiality to no one; see, Jesus regarded all equally, even his opponents got that (it seems to be a big part of what upset them too).
How cool would it be if all the Christians in the world did that, too? That's the point of Jesus' Way; well, that and believing in love (which is God) and loving (which is doing God's work in the world).
Being a Christian can seem complicated. There are these notions that Jesus Way is supposed to be about believing a lot of doctrines and that the Bible is somehow otherworldly, magical, like a written incantation or something.
There are places where church can seem like that, but not all churches are like that.
Jesus' Way is actually quite simple and the Bible is considered sacred, but not necessarily magical.
See, at its heart Jesus' Way can be understood to be about equality and love - about making those two things paramount in your life and in your community so that justice and peace get closer and closer to a reality in the world for everyone.
A big part of my journey is that I left the church as a teen over my own misperception that Christianity as a whole lacked a love center and an impartial regard for people.
Church felt to me judgmental and close-minded, when I knew God was love and called me to open thinking and equal treatment of all.
I actually stayed out of church for 20 years, labeling myself an agnostic, because I simply could not believe in any God but love and had rejected the deity that I misunderstood Christianity to be about.
My journey up to that point is, sadly, not unique.
Many leave (or avoid) Christianity, disenchanted with the version of God perceived to be worshiped in churches.
My journey took a remarkably sharp turn when I discovered that there are many, many churches (and Christians) that are love-centered and equality-oriented, and those that even celebrate open thinking!
If you are staying away from church for the same reasons I did, but want to find a faith community with reverence for God, compassion for all and a love center, I strongly urge - and humbly invite - you to check out churches in your area.
Look for those that claim to be love oriented; and you can tell if they are once you get there, because (like Jesus) they will be "sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth and show deference to no one; (and) not regard people with partiality."
Jesus' Way = love and equality. It is at its heart that simple. Good luck on your journey.
The Rev. Scott Elliott is the pastor at Riviera United Church of Christ in Palm Bay. Visit Riviera UCC's website at rivieraucc.org.