Below are seven of the most common questions we receive about Jesism:
(Question 1) Who founded Jesism and why was it created? (Answer) In 2015 Jesism was founded by Eric Alexander. Eric holds a Master of Theology degree and over a decade’s experience of being on the inside of the Christian institution. After holding a number of leadership positions, including Chair of the board of the Wesley Foundation at the University of South Florida, and board member of ProgressiveChristianity.org, Eric concluded there could be a better way forward and sought to build a team to make it so. You can see more about Eric here.
If you would like to have Eric speak at your event, church, or retreat, you can send a proposal to MyJesism@gmail.com
(Question 2) What is the goal of Jesism? (Answer) At Jesism we are building a council of trusted leaders who feel passionate about there being a wonderful, beneficial, and fresh path forward. Most are leaders who have been on the inside of traditional Christianity and have concluded that the entrenched self interests and creedal requirements are held too tightly in order to evolve much further. Jesism is a global movement, not an attempt at a new religion or denomination. It’s an idea, not a label anyone has to adopt. The key ideas of Jesism are outlined in The 9 Guidelines of Jesism. It isn’t about any specific leaders or ulterior motives, it is a movement you can claim as your own.
(Question 3) If you’re not content to prioritize the established creeds, why not just leave behind the Jesus tradition all together and become a Secular Humanist, Spiritual But Not Religious, or Atheist? (Answer) Because Jesism is founded upon the idea that one doesn’t always have to leave their roots in order to evolve or find new meanings. The human subconscious and “ego” is designed for growth and adaptation, so for anyone with a connection or interest in Jesus as a social or spiritual leader, it can be beneficial to peel things back to the enduring message and spirituality, instead of just leave it all behind and start over with another belief system that will also be incomplete, corrupted, and imperfect. BONUS: If in the process we progress the Jesus tradition toward the most beneficial teachings and examples of Jesus, we can at the same time curtail the destructive radical agenda that occurs when many thoughtful and educated people bail out for other more tolerant or inclusive paths and only leave those who wish to stunt any and all growth behind. The Dalai Lama also says that no path is perfect, and often the best thing to do is stay within one’s own tradition and make the very best of it.
(Question 4) I like Jesism but don’t want a label anymore. Why do we need another label, or another “ism” in the world? (Answer) Think of it as a pun, not a label. The key is the movement, not the name. Jesism is not a traditional label, or ism that you’re used to. Progressive and Emerging Christianity haven’t been able to delineate sufficiently from traditional Christianity to stand out as different enough. Calling oneself a Follower of Jesus / Christ is fine, but sometimes even the most caustic Christians identify in those terms. Part of the goal of Jesism is to delineate from that. So this movement needed a name that could stand alone and be recognized clearly for what it is. Because of it’s simplicity and its ability to have Jesus stand out in the name, the term Jesism was chosen. In fact, the same naming etymology as Buddhism was chosen intentionally to highlight that it is not a new religion, or exclusive path, but rather a philosophy. It’s a state of mind, and a paradigm. The name only exists as a place to find it, and a way to describe it.
(Question 5) I love Jesism. It is exactly what I have been looking for, how do I get involved? (Answer) One way is to subscribe to our newsletter here. Another is to follow the facebook page where we post updates and resources. Lastly, if you have relevant skills and enthusiasm for Jesism, and would like to contribute to the leadership council, you can send email to MyJesism@Gmail.com to learn more.
(Question 6) What does this mean for the Church? (Answer) The churches that exist on every corner around the world could be an amazing outpost for good, but in all too many cases they become consumed by their own interests and turn inward. The path of Jesism could affect churches in two ways. One way would be to get people thinking, and adopt ideas consistent with Jesism. This can happen in existing churches. For example, an Episcopal, Methodist, or UCC church could keep it’s name and denomination, but what would change is the mindset (if it hasn’t already). Jesism is not a denomination or religion, it is a movement, so it is not in any sort of competition with denominations. Another outcome could be to simply have no impact on certain churches and watch them continue to die off one by one because of their insistence on the same orthodoxy and need for control. After they close they could become commercial spaces, or could be taken over by groups who are in line with Jesist philosophies. Some churches, such as the growing trend of Baptist influenced non-denomination mega churches, will continue on just fine for a while because of their critical mass and strong family programs, and sometimes even an admirable commitment to missions (despite their often fundamentalist informed theology).
(Question 7) I’ve been a Christian my whole life. I like the tenets of Jesism but the thought of not calling myself a Christian makes me nervous in how it will effect my relationships with friends, family, or God. (Answer) Then keep calling yourself a Christian. The point here isn’t so much that you have to change your label, but more that you join a movement of people who are aligning with the most relevant teachings and examples of Jesus. We don’t need to over complicate it, just move at your own pace and comfort. And when you find yourself around someone similar, call yourself a Jesist just for fun and watch some stimulating and exciting conversation unfold!
If you have a question you would like answered, feel free to submit it using MyJesism@gmail.com