This episode looks at Chapter Nine of Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. We start with John’s confusion and discomfort with the amount of “shoulds” and how following Jesus seems to be defined as being crazy, misunderstood, and even hated. John also observes Idleman’s continued emphasis on a Christian’s need to love and pursue God with no mention of what Gregg sees in the Bible and from his own experience–God pursuing and loving us.
Both John and Gregg are disappointed by Idleman’s continued lack of practical reasons or justification for why people would want to be a “follower.” Nor are there any experiential examples of what it means to have “the life that we can have in Jesus” (Idleman’s words).
Gregg sees Idleman’s understandings of love as dysfunctional (i.e. loving God so much that you hate everyone else, being self effacing in order to make room for the Holy Spirit, etc.) and notes that while Idleman explains love as passionate, he somehow misses the fact that love is deeply self-involving, in a manner that must be elicited.
In summary, a warped picture of God cannot be a reliable yardstick to measure how (and how well) we’re relating to God. Instead, Gregg argues that since Christianity is not a historical religion, we need and can expect tangible, experienceable connection to God’s love for us. Thus embarking on a relationship with God is built upon sufficient evidence, both to merit believing in God’s existence and in God truly loving me, acquired over time.