This episode looks at Chapter Two of Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. In light of Kyle Idleman’s view that Christianity must “cost us” and that authentic Christianity is marked by Jesus “interfering” with our lives, John opens the question of what constitutes Christian commitment.
So we explore Idleman’s view that Nicodemus, while being impressed by Jesus’ love, remained only a fan (which cost Nicodemus nothing). Gregg disagrees: Can we remain untouched by love? And how does the notion of “interference” fit within a love relationship—do my children mostly “interfere” with my life, or is there a better way of seeing the matter?
We go on to consider believing in God versus following God, and so discuss the implications for monotheistic Jews “believing” that Jesus was the son of God compared the implications for us believing the same thing today.
Bringing together the question of Christian belief or commitment and the idea that Christianity involves a love relationship with God, Gregg argues that Christianity is not about reward (going to heaven) or punishment (going to hell). We examine this by contrasting love and the experience of love—as a law written upon the heart—with an orientation to God that stems from will and duty.
In this episode we discuss Chapter One of Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. Idleman asserts that Jesus pushes us to “define the relationship” (DTR) that we have with him. Idleman argues that a core distinction of being either a fan or follower of Jesus, is the need properly to resolve this crucial question:
What if all of life comes down to this one question? What if there really is a heaven and there really is a hell, and where I spend eternity comes down to how you answer this question?” (Not a Fan, page 21).
In response, Gregg argues that rather than pushing us to ‘define the relationship’ God instead seeks and woos us, and that Christianity is not essentially about punishment (hell) or reward (heaven) but about whether God really loves us and how we would know this.
Also, Gregg argues that a binary distinction (where being a ‘fan’ is bad and a ‘follower’ is good) is neither relevant nor warranted, because where we stand in a relationship is a deeply complex matter based on our experiences and history as an individual.
John sees as an ongoing theme of drama, doubt and sowing seeds of “never enough.” He also wonders how often we see examples in the bible of Jesus forcing people to define their relationship with him and if this cornerstone idea from Not A Fan squares with the Bible.
Idleman’s assertion in this chapter about making a decision about eternity comes up frequently in future discussions, hereafter known as “page twenty one.”