A New Iteration of Our Present World

Mountain view

Herb Montgomery | January 27, 2023

To listen to this week’s eSight as a podcast episode click here.


“Jesus’ words aren’t about leaving the status quo untouched and unchanged while we work on privatized, individual, spiritual virtues that give us a ticket to a postmortem heaven. These words are Jesus’ vision for a world here, now, today, where those presently being harmed are harmed no more.”


Our reading this week is from the gospel of Matthew.

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

  Blessed are those who mourn,

for they will be comforted.

  Blessed are the meek,

for they will inherit the earth.

  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

for they will be filled.

  Blessed are the merciful,

for they will be shown mercy.

  Blessed are the pure in heart,

for they will see God.

  Blessed are the peacemakers,

for they will be called children of God.

  Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:1-12)

As we read Matthew’s sermon on the mount, I find it helpful to remember that these words are descriptive, not prescriptive. They are also about practicing a preferential option for people living in a different social location than the locations this world priorities, centers, and privileges. Let’s break these ideas down a bit.

First what do we mean by “descriptive, not prescriptive”? Jesus’ words have long been interpreted as rules or prescriptions in more privileged expressions of Christianity. These “beatitudes” or blessings have been read as spiritual virtues that Christians should foster in themselves so they can receive the referenced blessings: be poor in spirit, mourn for the “sins of the world” or one’s personal sins, practice meekness, hunger for righteousness, practice mercy, strive to be pure in one’s heart, be a peace keeper, and patiently and often passively endure under persecution. In this interpretation, we should practice all of these virtues for our whole lives, knowing that we will reap a reward.

I could not disagree with this interpretation more. And it’s deceptively slick! This interpretation, as it prescribes values Christians should practice, also distracts us, averting our minds from contemplating the social locations being contrasted and the political changes the passage could bring about. By focusing on prescribing virtues we are to develop individually, the social location of the privileged, powerful, and propertied is protected rather than being addressed or called into question. Jesus’ originally deeply political words have been replaced with a supposedly apolitical and benign interpretation that leaves our present systems of privilege and priority unquestioned, unchallenged, and thus unchanged.

To interpret these words descriptively means being concerned with the material, political harms people are presently suffering right now and not only focusing on future rewards. Let’s look at what that means, starting with the first blessing.

In the first blessing, Jesus called for a blessing on those who are “poor in spirit.” Who were these people?

Speaking of John the Baptist as a child, Luke’s gospel reads, “And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.” (Luke 1:80)

John the Baptist was “strong in spirit,” and contrasts with those Jesus describes as “poor in spirit.” Jesus is referring to those who have pushed down, pushed out, treated unfairly, or whose spirits have been broken by the systems of this world: those who have been so mistreated they don’t even have the spirit to fight back or work for change. In Jesus’ new version of our world, those whose spirit has been so beaten down, who have a poverty of spirit, are the ones who will be centered. Our present world instead blesses those who are strong in spirit, those who self-advocate, or stand up to injustice.  Strong in spirit can also apply to these who play the economic and political games of their era, also (although John’s strength of spirit would have been manifest in standing up to those systems.) It can apply to those who are motivated to get out of bed each day with initiative and the drive, for whatever purpose their spirit is set to.

Next, Jesus describes those who mourn. These are those to whom our present system brings the grief of loss. For those who mourn the way things are and things that have been taken from them, Jesus offers a new world especially for them.

The contrast resonates with me. Our present system rewards those who are assertive, confident, bold, assured, and decisive. Those who are meek get trampled. Jesus calls us to reshape our systems so that the meek are centered and taken care of.

To hunger and thirst for righteousness, those things that are right, means to long for a world of distributive justice where privilege is replaced with egalitarianism and we value our differences rather than sustain a valuation system and hierarchy that disenfranchises some members of our community. To hunger and thirst for righteousness is to hunger and thirst for a world that is a just, safe, compassionate home for all of us, with space large enough for all the ways we are different from one another.

Those who are pure in heart are those who have not allowed the present system to change them. I think of the elderly war protestor who stood alone night after night in front of the White House with a single candle lit in protest of the Vietnam war. When asked if he really thought his little candle would change anything, he responded, “I don’t do this every night to change them, I do this so that they don’t change me.”

Peacemakers are quite different from peace keepers. People who prioritize keeping the peace are those who don’t want to rock the boat: don’t cause a scene; don’t cause a stir. Leave things the way they are. Keep the peace. Peace makers instead realize that genuine peace is arrived at through distributive justice for all: a society where “everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid” (Micah 4:4). Peace is the fruit of this kind of justice. This blessing is pronounced upon those who desire peace for everyone and who therefore work toward a justice that bears that fruit. They disrupt the present system. When confronted with their own inability to make the changes that are necessary, they make those who do have the ability uncomfortable until they make the changes. They are peace makers, not peace keepers.

Lastly, Jesus calls for a world where those presently persecuted, insulted, and lied about are instead, blessed. But persecution by itself is not a safe indicator that one is on the right path. If people do not like you, it might be because you are a jerk.

So social location matters here. You have to ask yourself, where are the insults or criticisms coming from? Are those who on the undersides and margins of our society against you while those at the top in more centered, privileged social locations singing your praises? Then your life story is in stark contrast with the Jesus story we read in the gospels.

Are you standing in solidarity with and working alongside those on the margins and undersides of your society while those at the top and more centered, privileged social locations insult you, lie about you, and say all kinds of evil things about you? If so, then you’re standing in the right story.

Those at the center of society might respond to you harshly if your work threatens their privilege. Those who are benefited by the present system don’t want things to change. To them, you are evil. So again, it’s not enough to have folks speaking poorly of you. You have to ask who is speaking and what their social location is in our present system.

This way of reading the Sermon on the Mount descriptively is deeply political, social, and economic. It asks us to consider who our present system prioritizes and who it harms. Then it calls us to stand in solidarity with all those being harmed, and work for a world that “blesses” them instead. This is what liberation theologians refer to as practicing a preferential option. Who does our present system harm? These are those the sermon on the mount calls us to practice a preferential option for while we work toward a different world.

Jesus’ words aren’t about leaving the status quo untouched and unchanged while we work on privatized, individual, spiritual virtues that give us a ticket to a postmortem heaven. These words are Jesus’ vision for a world here, now, today, where those presently being harmed are harmed no more. But even more so, it’s a world where those presently being harmed are given everything they need, not only to survive, but to thrive. A world where their value, worth and humanity are embraced and supported.

If you were to rewrite this sermon on the mount today, which people would yours include?

HeartGroup Application

1. Share something that spoke to you from this week’s eSight/Podcast episode with your HeartGroup.

2. If you were to rewrite this sermon on the mount today, which people would yours include? Discuss with your group.

3. What can you do this week, big or small, to continue setting in motion the work of shaping our world into a safe, compassionate, just home for everyone?

Thanks for checking in with us, today.

You can find Renewed Heart Ministries on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. If you haven’t done so already, please follow us on your chosen social media platforms for our daily posts. Also, if you enjoy listening to the Jesus for Everyone podcast, please like and subscribe to the JFE podcast through the podcast platform you use and consider taking some time to give us a review. This helps others find our podcast as well.

And if you’d like to reach out to us through email, you can reach us at info@renewedheartministries.com.

My new book, Finding Jesus: A story of a fundamentalist preacher who unexpectedly discovered the social, political, and economic teachings of the Gospels is now available at renewedheartministries.com

Right where you are, keep living in love, choosing compassion, taking action, and working toward justice.

I love each of you dearly,

I’ll see you next week.


Now Available at Renewed Heart Ministries!

It’s here!  Herb’s new book Finding Jesus: A story of a fundamentalist preacher who unexpectedly discovered the social, political, and economic teachings of the Gospels, is available at renewedheartministries.com, just in time for the holidays!

Here is just a taste of what people are saying:

“Herb has spent the last decade reading scripture closely. He also reads the world around us, thinks carefully with theologians and sociologists, and wonders how the most meaningful stories of his faith can inspire us to live with more heart, attention, and care for others in our time. For those who’ve ever felt alone in the process of applying the wisdom of Jesus to the world in which we live, Herb offers signposts for the journey and the reminder that this is not a journey we take alone. Read Finding Jesus with others, and be transformed together.” Dr. Keisha Mckenzie, Auburn Theological Seminary

“In Finding Jesus, Herb Montgomery unleashes the revolutionary Jesus and his kin-dom manifesto from the shackles of the domesticated religion of empire.  Within these pages we discover that rather than being a fire insurance policy to keep good boys and girls out of hell, Jesus often becomes the fiery enemy of good boys and girls who refuse to bring economic justice to the poor, quality healthcare to the underserved, and equal employment to people of color or same-sex orientation.  Because what the biblical narratives of Jesus reveal is that any future human society—heavenly or otherwise—will only be as  good as the one that we’re making right here and now. There is no future tranquil city with streets of gold when there is suffering on the asphalt right outside our front door today.  Finding Jesus invites us to pray ‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ on our feet as we follow our this liberator into the magnificent struggle of bringing the love and justice of God to all—right here, right now.”—Todd Leonard, pastor of Glendale City Church, Glendale CA.

“Herb Montgomery’s teachings have been deeply influential to me. This book shares the story of how he came to view the teachings of Jesus through the lens of nonviolence, liberation for all, and a call to a shared table. It’s an important read, especially for those of us who come from backgrounds where the myth of redemptive violence and individual (rather than collective) salvation was the focus.” – Daneen Akers, author of Holy Troublemakers & Unconventional Saints and co-director/producer of Seventh-Gay Adventists: A Film about Faith, Identity & Belonging

“So often Christians think about Jesus through the lens of Paul’s theology and don’t focus on the actual person and teachings of Jesus. This book is different. Here you find a challenging present-day application of Jesus’ teachings about the Kingdom of God and the Gospel. Rediscover why this Rabbi incited fear in the hearts of religious and political leaders two millennia ago. Herb’s book calls forth a moral vision based on the principles of Jesus’ vision of liberation. Finding Jesus helps us see that these teachings are just as disruptive today as they were when Jesus first articulated them.” Alicia Johnston, author of The Bible & LGBTQ Adventists.

“Herb Montgomery is a pastor for pastors, a teacher for teachers and a scholar for scholars. Part memoir and part theological reflection, Finding Jesus is a helpful and hope-filled guide to a deeper understanding of who Jesus is and who he can be. Herb’s tone is accessible and welcoming, while also challenging and fresh. This book is helpful for anyone who wants a new and fresh perspective on following Jesus.”— Traci Smith, author of Faithful Families

Get your copy today at renewedheartministries.com


Are you receiving all of RHM’s free resources each week?

Begin each day being inspired toward love, compassion, action, and justice. Free Sign-Up HERE.

When Healing Justice Comes Near

sunrise

Herb Montgomery | January 20, 2023

To listen to this week’s eSight as a podcast episode click here.


“Today we still have social sicknesses that desperately need healing justice. I think of the sicknesses of patriarchy and misogyny, of racism and White supremacy, of classism and victim blaming practiced toward poor people, of heterosexism and bigotry toward same-sex sexuality, and bigotry from certain cisgender people toward transgender or nonbinary people. Healing justice can still liberate today as it did in some of our most sacred, ancient stories.”


Our reading this week is from the gospel of Matthew:

When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:

Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,

the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,

Galilee of the Gentiles—

  the people living in darkness

have seen a great light;

on those living in the land of the shadow of death

a light has dawned.”

From that time on Jesus began to preach, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. Come, follow me,” Jesus said, and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. (Matthew 4:12-23)

This week’s reading starts with John the Baptist in prison. As we discussed two weeks ago, John preached against social and systemic injustices of his society. (See Breaking With the Way Things Are) Preachers don’t get imprisoned for handing out tickets to heaven. They’re imprisoned for calling for systemic, societal change that threatens those benefiting from the current status quo (see Letter from a Birmingham Jail).

When Jesus hears of John being arrested and put in prison, he leaves the area and goes to Galilee. The author associates this geographical shift with a passage from Isaiah. As much as I understand the rhetorical purpose of contrasting light and darkness for those who lived in the Middle East before electricity and modern lighting, we should now be careful with this language.

The authors of both Matthew and Isaiah were people of color. The Bible was not written by White people. Today, though, we live in the wake of a long history of White people demonizing darkness in ways that harm people whose skin color is darker than theirs. Whiteness and light  and darkness and Blackness have been closely associated in White supremacist polemics. Today it behooves us, given White degradation of Black people, to say unequivocally that we are all equal. Our differences reveal the rich diversity of the human family of which we are all a part. And our differences are to be celebrated, not used to create hegemony or a hierarchy of value.

This impacts how we talk about the Bible’s use of light and darkness, too. We don’t have to demonize the darkness to talk about the benefits of light. Light has intrinsic value and benefit. So does darkness. Darkness is not evil. It is life giving. Things grow in darkness, not just in light. In darkness, we rest and heal. Too much light can also harm.

We could perhaps reclaim the rhetoric of light and darkness today by speaking of balance between the light and the dark. Socially, making one difference supreme over another is death-dealing. As we need balance biologically, we need egalitarianism socially. Our call is not to lift up light over the darkness, but to work toward a world that is safe and just for us all; a place where each of us can feel at home. We are called to work toward a world that has room for all of our differences and is big enough for us all.

In our reading, with John now in prison, Jesus embarks on his own journey, preaching that the kingdom has arrived. This language, too, needs updating within our context. The language of a kingdom might have been meaningful when contrasted with the Roman empire and given the hopes for the renewal of David’s kingdom among 1st Century Jewish liberationists, but today we live in a multiracial, multi-gendered, richly diverse democracy.

Kingdoms are both patriarchal and hierarchical. What could Jesus’ “kingdom” be called in our democratic context today? Some have updated the language to call it the beloved community. Others refer to this change as God’s just future that is breaking through into our world here and now. Still others call it a kin-dom referring the kinship we all share being part of one another within our human family. (See Finding Jesus, Herb Montgomery, p. 53)  Here at Renewed Heart Ministries we call it making our world a safe, just compassionate home for all. Whatever one decides to call it, we are talking about changes here and now, not post mortem bliss in the future but life-giving healing and change from the violence, injustice, and oppression (hell on earth) that many people face on our planet, today.

Lastly in our reading this week, Jesus calls the disciples. Last week’s reading had these events taking place on the banks of the Jordan. This week, John has been arrested and the action takes place in Galilee instead. Each of the gospels have differences like this depending on the audiences and political purposes each was written for. Matthew was written for Galilean and primarily Jewish Jesus followers.

As we’ve discussed before, in several Hebrew scriptures, fishing for people was about hooking or catching a certain kind of person, a powerful and unjust person, and removing them from the position of power where they were wielding harm. It wasnt about saving souls so they could enjoy post mortem bliss, but about changing systemic injustice in the here and now.

Speaking of those who do harm within their positions of power, Jeremiah reads:

But now I will send for many fishermen,” declares the LORD, “and they will catch them. After that I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them down on every mountain and hill and from the crevices of the rocks. (Jeremiah 16:16)

Speaking of those who oppress the poor and crush the needy,” Amos reads:

The Sovereign LORD has sworn by his holiness: “The time will surely come when you will be taken away with hooks, the last of you with fishhooks.” (Amos 4:2)

Speaking of the abusive Pharaoh, king of Egypt, Ezekiel reads:

In the tenth year, in the tenth month on the twelfth day, the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt and prophesy against him and against all Egypt. Speak to him and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says:

‘“I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt,

you great monster lying among your streams.

You say, “The Nile belongs to me;

I made it for myself.”

But I will put hooks in your jaws

and make the fish of your streams stick to your scales.

I will pull you out from among your streams,

with all the fish sticking to your scales.

I will leave you in the desert,

you and all the fish of your streams.

You will fall on the open field

and not be gathered or picked up.

I will give you as food

to the beasts of the earth and the birds of the sky.

Then all who live in Egypt will know that I am the LORD. (Ezekiel 29:1-6)

And commentators agree on this association:

In the Hebrew Bible, the metaphor of people like fish’ appears in prophetic censures of apostate Israel and of the rich and powerful: I am now sending for many fishermen, says God, and they shall catch [the people of Israel]…’ (Jeremiah 16:16) The time is surely coming upon you when they shall take you away with fishhooks…’ (Amos 4:2) Thus says God: I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt…. I will put hooks in your jaws, and make the fish of your channels stick to your scales…’ (Ezekiel 29:3f) Jesus is, in other words, summoning working folk to join him in overturning the structures of power and privilege in the world!” (Ched Myers, Marie Dennis, Joseph Nangle, Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, Stuart Taylor; Say to This Mountain: Marks Story of Discipleship, p. 10)

If this is a new interpretation for you, you may be interested in reading my brief article Decolonizing Fishing for People.

Our reading this week ends with Jesus’ Jewish renewal movement traversing through Galilee, teaching in synagogues and proclaiming the good news or “gospel” of the kingdom. The term “gospel” was taken from the Roman empire. Rome proclaimed a gospel each time it arrived to take over new regions. The gospel authors appropriate this term to contrast Rome’s approach with Jesus’ vision for ordering our world in ways that are life-giving for all.

Our passage characterizes Jesus’ way as being one of healing.

Today we still have social sicknesses that desperately need healing justice. I think of the sicknesses of patriarchy and misogyny, of racism and White supremacy, of classism and victim blaming practiced toward poor people, of heterosexism and bigotry toward same-sex sexuality, and bigotry from certain cisgender people toward transgender or nonbinary people.

This week, let’s choose to focus our following of Jesus on working to heal and eradicate these social diseases. Healing justice can still liberate today as it did in some of our most sacred, ancient stories. May it continue to do so through us, today.

HeartGroup Application

1. Share something that spoke to you from this week’s eSight/Podcast episode with your HeartGroup.

2. How has your Jesus following changed as a result of testing the fruit of your beliefs and actions by the condition of whether they are life-giving? Share with your group.

3. What can you do this week, big or small, to continue setting in motion the work of shaping our world into a safe, compassionate, just home for everyone?

Thanks for checking in with us, today.

You can find Renewed Heart Ministries on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. If you haven’t done so already, please follow us on your chosen social media platforms for our daily posts. Also, if you enjoy listening to the Jesus for Everyone podcast, please like and subscribe to the JFE podcast through the podcast platform you use and consider taking some time to give us a review. This helps others find our podcast as well.

And if you’d like to reach out to us through email, you can reach us at info@renewedheartministries.com.

My new book, Finding Jesus: A story of a fundamentalist preacher who unexpectedly discovered the social, political, and economic teachings of the Gospels is now available at renewedheartministries.com

Right where you are, keep living in love, choosing compassion, taking action, and working toward justice.

I love each of you dearly,

I’ll see you next week.


Now Available at Renewed Heart Ministries!

It’s here!  Herb’s new book Finding Jesus: A story of a fundamentalist preacher who unexpectedly discovered the social, political, and economic teachings of the Gospels, is available at renewedheartministries.com, just in time for the holidays!

Here is just a taste of what people are saying:

“Herb has spent the last decade reading scripture closely. He also reads the world around us, thinks carefully with theologians and sociologists, and wonders how the most meaningful stories of his faith can inspire us to live with more heart, attention, and care for others in our time. For those who’ve ever felt alone in the process of applying the wisdom of Jesus to the world in which we live, Herb offers signposts for the journey and the reminder that this is not a journey we take alone. Read Finding Jesus with others, and be transformed together.” Dr. Keisha Mckenzie, Auburn Theological Seminary

“In Finding Jesus, Herb Montgomery unleashes the revolutionary Jesus and his kin-dom manifesto from the shackles of the domesticated religion of empire.  Within these pages we discover that rather than being a fire insurance policy to keep good boys and girls out of hell, Jesus often becomes the fiery enemy of good boys and girls who refuse to bring economic justice to the poor, quality healthcare to the underserved, and equal employment to people of color or same-sex orientation.  Because what the biblical narratives of Jesus reveal is that any future human society—heavenly or otherwise—will only be as  good as the one that we’re making right here and now. There is no future tranquil city with streets of gold when there is suffering on the asphalt right outside our front door today.  Finding Jesus invites us to pray ‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ on our feet as we follow our this liberator into the magnificent struggle of bringing the love and justice of God to all—right here, right now.”—Todd Leonard, pastor of Glendale City Church, Glendale CA.

“Herb Montgomery’s teachings have been deeply influential to me. This book shares the story of how he came to view the teachings of Jesus through the lens of nonviolence, liberation for all, and a call to a shared table. It’s an important read, especially for those of us who come from backgrounds where the myth of redemptive violence and individual (rather than collective) salvation was the focus.” – Daneen Akers, author of Holy Troublemakers & Unconventional Saints and co-director/producer of Seventh-Gay Adventists: A Film about Faith, Identity & Belonging

“So often Christians think about Jesus through the lens of Paul’s theology and don’t focus on the actual person and teachings of Jesus. This book is different. Here you find a challenging present-day application of Jesus’ teachings about the Kingdom of God and the Gospel. Rediscover why this Rabbi incited fear in the hearts of religious and political leaders two millennia ago. Herb’s book calls forth a moral vision based on the principles of Jesus’ vision of liberation. Finding Jesus helps us see that these teachings are just as disruptive today as they were when Jesus first articulated them.” Alicia Johnston, author of The Bible & LGBTQ Adventists.

“Herb Montgomery is a pastor for pastors, a teacher for teachers and a scholar for scholars. Part memoir and part theological reflection, Finding Jesus is a helpful and hope-filled guide to a deeper understanding of who Jesus is and who he can be. Herb’s tone is accessible and welcoming, while also challenging and fresh. This book is helpful for anyone who wants a new and fresh perspective on following Jesus.”— Traci Smith, author of Faithful Families

Get your copy today at renewedheartministries.com


Are you receiving all of RHM’s free resources each week?

Begin each day being inspired toward love, compassion, action, and justice. Free Sign-Up HERE.

The Myth of Redemptive Suffering

Herb Montgomery | January 13, 2023

To listen to this week’s eSight as a podcast episode click here.


“As Jesus followers, Jesus is our example. In his teachings of the Golden Rule and his life of love, Jesus’s life models a path for healing our world. And that’s why how we interpret Jesus’ death matters. If we interpret Jesus’ death as redemptive suffering, then his suffering becomes a life model for us even if it means we die in the process at the hands of our oppressors and abusers. It’s dangerous.”


Our reading this week is from the book of John:

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” Then John gave this testimony: I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is Gods Chosen One.”

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, What do you want?” They said, Rabbi” (which means Teacher”), where are you staying?” “Come,” he replied, and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, Simon Peters brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).” (John 1:29-42)

John the Baptist’s relationship with Jesus evolves through the four gospels in our sacred canon. By the time of this last written gospel, Jesus goes from being a disciple of John’s to being someone John didn’t even know: John merely prepares the way for Jesus. (Luke gospel is also different; see Luke 7:18-20.) In this week’s passage, John uses the unique language of Jesus being the “lamb of God.” This language developed late in the early Jesus community, and different ways of explaining Jesus’ death coexisted alongside each other. We’ll discuss the image of Jesus being God’s “lamb” more in a moment.

First, though, it is helpful to understand some of the political context in which John was written. The early Jesus community was establishing its authorities and choosing leaders to rally around. Peter’s leadership is referenced in this week’s reading.

The synoptic gospels juxtapose Peter’s denial of Jesus with Peter’s confession, the first in the gospel stories, that Jesus is the “messiah”: But what about you?” Jesus asks Peter in Mark 8:29. Who do you say I am?” Peter answers, You are the Messiah” (see also Matthew 16:16 and Luke 9:20).

John’s gospel affirms and expands this tradition:

Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69)

In Matthew, Peter’s confession even more significant: it becomes a foundation of the community that forms around Jesus:

Simon Peter answered, You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Jesus replied, Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my community (ekklesia), and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (Matthew 16:16-18)

So much has been written on the wordplay in this passage, and the relationship between Peter’s name (petros) and the rock (petra). Through this story of Peter’s confession of Jesus as the “messiah,” people in the early Jesus movement are endeavoring to establish their preferred authorities. Peter’s confession of Jesus’ messiahship was especially important to the community that recognized and followed Peter’s apostleship.

There are a few minor differences between the early gospels’ story of how these men became apostles and John’s later version. In John, they begin following Jesus at the Jordan. In earlier gospels, they meet him in Galilee on the seashore.

“This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.” (John 1:28)

The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, ‘Follow me.’” (John 1:43; emphasis added)

“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.” (Mark 1:16)

Now let’s discuss Jesus being the lamb of God.

Christian feminist and womanist scholars have written a lot about how Christians have used this kind of language and the myth of redemptive suffering to harm women.

In their well-argued essay For God So Loved the World? Brown and Parker write:

“Women are acculturated to accept abuse. We come to believe that it is our place to suffer . . . Christianity has been a primary—in many women’s lives the primary—force in shaping our acceptance of abuse. The central image of Christ on the cross as the savior of the world communicates the message that suffering is redemptive.” (in Christianity, Patriarchy and Abuse, p. 1-2)

Mary Daly similarly wrote:

The qualities that Christianity idealizes, especially for women, are also those of a victim: sacrificial love, passive acceptance of suffering, humility, meekness, etc. Since these are the qualities idealized in Jesus who died for our sins,his functioning as a model reinforces the scapegoat syndrome for women.” (Beyond God the Father, p. 77)

One of the key, intrinsically harmful impacts of redemptive suffering theology and it being held up as an example for victims of injustice and/or abuse to follow is that it asks those being harmed to suffer patiently to change the hearts or “redeem” those who are doing them harm. By its very nature, this theological thread puts concern for oppressors and abusers above concern for those being harmed. This can be and has been lethal, and it makes people being harmed the servants of those harming them under the guise of saving oppressors and abusers. (For more, see Christianity, Patriarchy and Abuse, p. 20.)

Delores S. Williams, in her classic Sisters in the Wilderness, offers a special warning for Black women: African-American Christian women can, through their religion and its leaders, be led passively to accept their own oppression and suffering— if the women are taught that suffering is redemptive.” (Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk, p. 161)

Elizabeth Bettenhausen has also written about how men have used a theology that defines Jesus’ death as redemptive suffering to impose on women a life of self-sacrifice in imitation of Jesus.

As Jesus followers, Jesus is our example. In his teachings of the Golden Rule and his life of love, Jesus’s life models a path for healing our world. And that’s why how we interpret Jesus’ death matters. If we interpret Jesus’ death as redemptive suffering, then his suffering becomes a life model for us even if it means we die in the process at the hands of our oppressors and abusers. It’s dangerous. Bettenhausen challenges her readers with an exercise she once shared with her students. Note: this account involves intimate abuse. Feel free to skip it if doing so is better for you.

Several years ago I asked a group of seminarians to choose New Testament stories about Jesus and rewrite them imagining that Jesus had been female. The following recreation of the passion story of Luke 22:54-65 was one womans knowing by heart. They arrested the Christ woman and led her away to the Council for questioning. Some of her followers straggled along to find out what was to become of her. There were seven women and two men followers. (The men followers were there mainly to keep watch over their sisters.) Someone from among the crowd asked a question of a man follower, Havent I seen you with this woman? Who is she, and what is your relationship with her?He replied defensively, She is a prostitute, she has had many men. I have seen her with many!The men who were guarding the Christ [woman] slapped her around and made fun of her. They told her to use magic powers to stop them. They blindfolded her and each them in turn raped her and afterward jeered, Now, prophetess, who was in you? Which one of us? Tell us that!Thy continued to insult her. (Kandice Joyce) After this story was read aloud, a silence surrounded the class and made us shiver. Ever since, I have wondered would women ever imagine forming a religion around the rape of a woman? Would we ever conjure gang-rape as a salvific event for other women? What sort of god would such an event reveal?” (in Christianity, Patriarchy and Abuse, p. xi-xii)

That is a question worth asking. Would women have formed a religion around a woman being victimized this way? To be clear, strong arguments can be made that early Jesus communities were led by women (see In Memory of Her by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza). Interpreting Jesus’ death as somehow salvific or redemptive was also a later development in the Jesus movement.

As Jesus followers, we are shaped by how we interpret the story elements of the Jesus story, including Jesus’ death. If we aren’t careful in what we say about Jesus’ death, we might tell those being harmed to be patient, that something good will come of their suffering, rather than to stand up for themselves and what is right.

Redemptive suffering theology has devastated the lives of those who suffer abuse, oppression, and injustice. Abuse, oppression and injustice can lead to a lifetime of pain if they’re not refused or stood up to. They can destroy a person’s sense of worth, dignity, meaning, and value. And some people die because of this. When we interpret Jesus’ death as redemptive suffering and then ask abuse survivors to follow that example, we slander those standing up to abuse and injustice and we trivialize the suffering, abuse and injustice of those who are choosing to patiently endure.

How can we reconstruct an understanding of Jesus’ death that is life-giving? First, let’s understand that this has been a question within Christianity from its very beginning, we aren’t alone, and there is also a long history of answers to this question. I want to close this week by amplifying the answer that Brown and Parker offer, and I’ll link to the essay these selected statements are gleaned from:

“Jesus did not choose the cross. He chose to live a life in opposition to unjust, oppressive cultures…. Jesus chose integrity and faithfulness, refusing to change course because of threat.”

Suffering is never redemptive, and suffering cannot be redeemed. The cross is a sign of tragedy. God’s grief is revealed there and everywhere and every time life is thwarted by violence. God’s grief is as ultimate as God’s love. Every tragedy eternally remains and is eternally mourned. Eternally the murdered scream, Betrayal. Eternally God sings kaddish for the world. To be a Christian means keeping faith with those who have heard and lived God’s call for justice, radical love, and liberation; who have challenged unjust systems both political and ecclesiastical; and who in that struggle have refused to be victims and have refused to cower under the threat of violence, suffering, and death. Fullness of life is attained in moments of decision for such faithfulness and integrity. When the threat of death is refused and the choice is made for justice, radical love, and liberation, the power of death is overthrown. Resurrection is radical courage. Resurrection means that death is overcome in those precise instances when human beings choose life, refusing the threat of death. Jesus climbed out of the grave in the Garden of Gethsemane when he refused to abandon his commitment to the truth even though his enemies threatened him with death. On Good Friday, the Resurrected One was Crucified.” (For God So Loved the World?)

It is not the acceptance of suffering that gives life; it is commitment to life that gives life. The question, moreover, is not Am I willing to suffer? but Do I desire fully to live? This distinction is subtle and, to some, specious, but in the end it makes a great difference in how people interpret and respond to suffering.”

For the entire essay see, For God So Loved the World?

HeartGroup Application

1. Share something that spoke to you from this week’s eSight/Podcast episode with your HeartGroup.

2. Has the practice of redemptive sacrifice or suffering born harmful fruit in your own experience? If you are comfortable sharing, share your story with your group.

3. What can you do this week, big or small, to continue setting in motion the work of shaping our world into a safe, compassionate, just home for everyone?

Thanks for checking in with us, today.

You can find Renewed Heart Ministries on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. If you haven’t done so already, please follow us on your chosen social media platforms for our daily posts. Also, if you enjoy listening to the Jesus for Everyone podcast, please like and subscribe to the JFE podcast through the podcast platform you use and consider taking some time to give us a review. This helps others find our podcast as well.

And if you’d like to reach out to us through email, you can reach us at info@renewedheartministries.com.

My new book, Finding Jesus: A story of a fundamentalist preacher who unexpectedly discovered the social, political, and economic teachings of the Gospels is now available at renewedheartministries.com

Right where you are, keep living in love, choosing compassion, taking action, and working toward justice.

I love each of you dearly,

I’ll see you next week.


Now Available at Renewed Heart Ministries!

It’s here!  Herb’s new book Finding Jesus: A story of a fundamentalist preacher who unexpectedly discovered the social, political, and economic teachings of the Gospels, is available at renewedheartministries.com, just in time for the holidays!

Here is just a taste of what people are saying:

“Herb has spent the last decade reading scripture closely. He also reads the world around us, thinks carefully with theologians and sociologists, and wonders how the most meaningful stories of his faith can inspire us to live with more heart, attention, and care for others in our time. For those who’ve ever felt alone in the process of applying the wisdom of Jesus to the world in which we live, Herb offers signposts for the journey and the reminder that this is not a journey we take alone. Read Finding Jesus with others, and be transformed together.” Dr. Keisha Mckenzie, Auburn University

“In Finding Jesus, Herb Montgomery unleashes the revolutionary Jesus and his kin-dom manifesto from the shackles of the domesticated religion of empire.  Within these pages we discover that rather than being a fire insurance policy to keep good boys and girls out of hell, Jesus often becomes the fiery enemy of good boys and girls who refuse to bring economic justice to the poor, quality healthcare to the underserved, and equal employment to people of color or same-sex orientation.  Because what the biblical narratives of Jesus reveal is that any future human society—heavenly or otherwise—will only be as  good as the one that we’re making right here and now. There is no future tranquil city with streets of gold when there is suffering on the asphalt right outside our front door today.  Finding Jesus invites us to pray ‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ on our feet as we follow our this liberator into the magnificent struggle of bringing the love and justice of God to all—right here, right now.”—Todd Leonard, pastor of Glendale City Church, Glendale CA.

“Herb Montgomery’s teachings have been deeply influential to me. This book shares the story of how he came to view the teachings of Jesus through the lens of nonviolence, liberation for all, and a call to a shared table. It’s an important read, especially for those of us who come from backgrounds where the myth of redemptive violence and individual (rather than collective) salvation was the focus.” – Daneen Akers, author of Holy Troublemakers & Unconventional Saints and co-director/producer of Seventh-Gay Adventists: A Film about Faith, Identity & Belonging

“So often Christians think about Jesus through the lens of Paul’s theology and don’t focus on the actual person and teachings of Jesus. This book is different. Here you find a challenging present-day application of Jesus’ teachings about the Kingdom of God and the Gospel. Rediscover why this Rabbi incited fear in the hearts of religious and political leaders two millennia ago. Herb’s book calls forth a moral vision based on the principles of Jesus’ vision of liberation. Finding Jesus helps us see that these teachings are just as disruptive today as they were when Jesus first articulated them.” Alicia Johnston, author of The Bible & LGBTQ Adventists.

“Herb Montgomery is a pastor for pastors, a teacher for teachers and a scholar for scholars. Part memoir and part theological reflection, Finding Jesus is a helpful and hope-filled guide to a deeper understanding of who Jesus is and who he can be. Herb’s tone is accessible and welcoming, while also challenging and fresh. This book is helpful for anyone who wants a new and fresh perspective on following Jesus.”— Traci Smith, author of Faithful Families

Get your copy today at renewedheartministries.com


Are you receiving all of RHM’s free resources each week?

Begin each day being inspired toward love, compassion, action, and justice. Free Sign-Up HERE.

Breaking With the Way Things Are

sunset road

Herb Montgomery | January 6, 2022

To listen to this week’s eSight as a podcast episode click here.


“That our participation in John’s baptism might symbolize that for us today gives me pause. Do I really want to break with the way things are? Do I really want change? How committed am I to that change? Am I committed enough to choose those differences in my daily life? All of this and more is on my heart as this new year begins. What changes will our choices and actions bring this new year?”


Happy New Year from all of us here at Renewed Heart Ministries!

Our reading this week, as we begin the new year, is from the gospel Matthew:

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

Jesus replied, Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17)

The first thing we have to understand about this story is that the narrative details were designed for its original audience: people in Galilee. These details were designed to echo liberation and justice themes from other passages from the Hebrew scriptures. Three passages they’d have reminded that original audience of are from Isaiah and Psalms:

Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,

that the mountains would tremble before you!

  As when fire sets twigs ablaze

and causes water to boil,

come down to make your name known to your enemies

and cause the nations to quake before you! (Isaiah 64:1-2)

This passage is about being liberated from foreign oppression, and Matthew’s version of the Jesus story was written for people longing for liberation from Roman imperialism.

The kings of the earth rise up

and the rulers band together

against the LORD and against his anointed, saying,

I will proclaim the LORDS decree:

  He said to me, You are my son;

today I have become your father.

Therefore, you kings, be wise;

be warned, you rulers of the earth. (Psalms 2:2, 7, 10)

This verse would have reminded the Galileans of King David’s struggles against the empires around his country. It also hints at Jesus and his movement being a renewal movement of liberation and restoration in the context of Roman imperialism.

  Here is my servant, whom I uphold,

my chosen one in whom I delight;

I will put my Spirit on him,

and he will bring justice to the nations. (Isaiah 42:1)

This last passage speaks of a servant YHWH delights in as the conduit through which the nations experience justice. This association speaks to the early Jewish followers of Jesus’ belief that Jesus’ movement would begin their liberation from foreign oppression, right all injustice, and end all violence.

All of these connections to liberation and justice would have been made by those who originally heard this story read to them. What lessons might we draw from it today in our context?

First, before forming his own movement, Jesus participated in the renewal movement of John the Baptist. John’s movement called people to reject the present order, power structures, and the complicity with Roman imperialism embodied in Rome’s client overseers, Herod and his sons. John called the propertied, privileged, and powerful in his society to repent of participating with Roman oppression and be washed clean of acts of injustice through both water and restitution.

There are a lot of similarities between John’s movement and Jesus’. John was originally a mentor of Jesus. Both led a Jewish renewal movement. Like John, Jesus called for both individual repentance and social, community repentance. And in our reading this week Jesus participates in the baptism of repentance John practiced. I side with the scholars who see Jesus’ baptism as a genuine act of social repentance and a confession of past social mistakes of the society he belonged in relation to the teachings of the prophets. These societal injustices Jesus was rejecting could have been things such as complicity with Rome, injustice toward the poor, and/or the exclusion of those marginalized. His baptism by John signals his inward resolve to break away from the unjust power structures of his society and to choose a different path. Jesus’ baptism clearly rejects the social, political and economic order of Rome. As a Jewish man, Jesus isn’t rejecting his Judaism. He is rejecting the elites’ Jewish-Roman collaboration and he is canceling their approach to power and community life.

There are also some differences between Jesus’ movement and John’s. John’s movement is a forerunner movement: it announces that a change is coming! Jesus, on the other hand, announces that the time for change has already arrived: “The kingdom of God is in your midst” (Luke 17:21).

How does this relate to us today?

As this year begins, we need some honest reflection. We are living in the wake of harmful laws and social structures. Christianity in America has been complicit in or directly responsible for many of them. The legal assault on women’s bodily autonomy has roots in a patriarchal expression of Christianity that tries to regulate a woman’s choices and sexuality. Many LGBTQ folks have experienced harm at the hands of Christians. And while I’m deeply grateful for the recent Respect for Marriage Act, what stands out is the compromising exemptions that seem to say, “Fine, let them marry, but don’t involve us.” Certain Christians have loudly ensured that they don’t have to participate in social progress. I recently spoke with a pastor friend who still loses members every time his weekend sermon is about an issue of social salvation, things such as racial justice or economic justice for the poor, instead of on personal, individual (psychological) salvation.

What would it look like for Jesus followers today to participate, like Jesus, in a baptism that symbolized us breaking away from the injustices of systems in our society. What if we chose alignment and solidarity with efforts to bring about change? What could a baptism of social repentance look like for us?

Many Christians have a “Jesus-instead-of-us” religion based on the belief that Jesus died instead of us. We must be careful not to let that mean that Jesus was also righteous instead of us, that he was baptized instead of us, or that he lived a life of social concern instead of us.

To follow Jesus instead means to model our lives after the example of Jesus. I’m thinking specifically in the areas of the Golden Rule: neighborly love, solidarity with the marginalized, economic justice for the poor, egalitarianism toward women, nonviolent resistance, and more.

As we begin this new year, how can we renew our commitment to reshaping our world into a safe, compassionate, just home for everyone? How can we renew our dedication to creating a world that’s big enough for our many and varied differences, one where differences are celebrated rather than feared?

As this new year begins, I want to be baptized by John the Baptist, too! Not in the sense of traveling back in time to the banks of the Jordan, but in the sense that in my own social context, I want to, like Jesus, break with the way things are and be immersed in working toward change.

The Sermon on the Mount, remember, was not a prescription for how to make it through the pearly gates. The Sermon on the Mount announced changes breaking out in our world and invited all to participate in them. It was a pathway, not to heaven, but for a transformed earth. That transformation is hard work. But in the end, it’s worth it.

Matthew tells us that “People went out to John from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.” (Matthew 3:5-6)

Luke’s version clearly names these “sins” as social injustices:

What should we do then?” the crowd asked.

John answered, Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

Even tax collectors came to be baptized. Teacher,” they asked, what should we do?”

Dont collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.

Then some soldiers asked him, And what should we do?”

He replied, Dont extort money and dont accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.” (Luke 3:10-14)

I can understand why many preachers are reluctant to focus on the social elements of John’s (and Jesus) teaching and preaching. Pastors today find it much easier to talk about Jesus and John than to talk about the themes they both talked about.

Yet once you see the social emphasis of the gospel stories, it’s really hard to unsee. Now that we have, though, which social injustices might we include in our confessions and choices for change today?

What can it look like for us today to, like Jesus, break from the way things are and choose to follow a different way.

As the late Peter Gomes wrote in his book, The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus:

“When Jesus came preaching, it was to proclaim the end of things as they are and the breaking in of things that are to be: the status quo is not to be criticized; it is to be destroyed.” (p. 31)

That our participation in John’s baptism might symbolize that for us today gives me pause. Do I really want to break with the way things are? Do I really want change? How committed am I to that change? Am I committed enough to choose those differences in my daily life?

All of this and more is on my heart as this new year begins.

What changes will our choices and actions bring this new year?

HeartGroup Application

1. Share something that spoke to you from this week’s eSight/Podcast episode with your HeartGroup.

2. What hopes do you have for change in this new year? Discuss with your group.

3. What can you do this week, big or small, to continue setting in motion the work of shaping our world into a safe, compassionate, just home for everyone?

Thanks for checking in with us, today.

You can find Renewed Heart Ministries on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. If you haven’t done so already, please follow us on your chosen social media platforms for our daily posts. Also, if you enjoy listening to the Jesus for Everyone podcast, please like and subscribe to the JFE podcast through the podcast platform you use and consider taking some time to give us a review. This helps others find our podcast as well.

And if you’d like to reach out to us through email, you can reach us at info@renewedheartministries.com.

My new book, Finding Jesus: A story of a fundamentalist preacher who unexpectedly discovered the social, political, and economic teachings of the Gospels is now available at renewedheartministries.com

Right where you are, keep living in love, choosing compassion, taking action, and working toward justice.

I love each of you dearly,

I’ll see you next week.


Now Available at Renewed Heart Ministries!

It’s here!  Herb’s new book Finding Jesus: A story of a fundamentalist preacher who unexpectedly discovered the social, political, and economic teachings of the Gospels, is available at renewedheartministries.com, just in time for the holidays!

Here is just a taste of what people are saying:

“Herb has spent the last decade reading scripture closely. He also reads the world around us, thinks carefully with theologians and sociologists, and wonders how the most meaningful stories of his faith can inspire us to live with more heart, attention, and care for others in our time. For those who’ve ever felt alone in the process of applying the wisdom of Jesus to the world in which we live, Herb offers signposts for the journey and the reminder that this is not a journey we take alone. Read Finding Jesus with others, and be transformed together.” Dr. Keisha Mckenzie, Auburn University

“In Finding Jesus, Herb Montgomery unleashes the revolutionary Jesus and his kin-dom manifesto from the shackles of the domesticated religion of empire.  Within these pages we discover that rather than being a fire insurance policy to keep good boys and girls out of hell, Jesus often becomes the fiery enemy of good boys and girls who refuse to bring economic justice to the poor, quality healthcare to the underserved, and equal employment to people of color or same-sex orientation.  Because what the biblical narratives of Jesus reveal is that any future human society—heavenly or otherwise—will only be as  good as the one that we’re making right here and now. There is no future tranquil city with streets of gold when there is suffering on the asphalt right outside our front door today.  Finding Jesus invites us to pray ‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ on our feet as we follow our this liberator into the magnificent struggle of bringing the love and justice of God to all—right here, right now.”—Todd Leonard, pastor of Glendale City Church, Glendale CA.

“Herb Montgomery’s teachings have been deeply influential to me. This book shares the story of how he came to view the teachings of Jesus through the lens of nonviolence, liberation for all, and a call to a shared table. It’s an important read, especially for those of us who come from backgrounds where the myth of redemptive violence and individual (rather than collective) salvation was the focus.” – Daneen Akers, author of Holy Troublemakers & Unconventional Saints and co-director/producer of Seventh-Gay Adventists: A Film about Faith, Identity & Belonging

“So often Christians think about Jesus through the lens of Paul’s theology and don’t focus on the actual person and teachings of Jesus. This book is different. Here you find a challenging present-day application of Jesus’ teachings about the Kingdom of God and the Gospel. Rediscover why this Rabbi incited fear in the hearts of religious and political leaders two millennia ago. Herb’s book calls forth a moral vision based on the principles of Jesus’ vision of liberation. Finding Jesus helps us see that these teachings are just as disruptive today as they were when Jesus first articulated them.” Alicia Johnston, author of The Bible & LGBTQ Adventists.

“Herb Montgomery is a pastor for pastors, a teacher for teachers and a scholar for scholars. Part memoir and part theological reflection, Finding Jesus is a helpful and hope-filled guide to a deeper understanding of who Jesus is and who he can be. Herb’s tone is accessible and welcoming, while also challenging and fresh. This book is helpful for anyone who wants a new and fresh perspective on following Jesus.”— Traci Smith, author of Faithful Families

Get your copy today at renewedheartministries.com


Are you receiving all of RHM’s free resources each week?

Begin each day being inspired toward love, compassion, action, and justice. Free Sign-Up at:

Contact forms