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 more fruitful path forward, and sought to offer some ideas around it.
Eric is also the Executive Producer of Progressing Spirit, a subscription-based publication featuring many of today’s leading progressive thought leaders. And author of Teaching Kids Life IS Good, a popular children’s book that builds a foundation for happiness and success in young children.
(Question 2) What is the goal of Jesism? (Answer) The mission of Jesism is to be a fresh path forward for those who are attracted to the message and teachings of Jesus. It is a global movement to improve lives individually and collectively, 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, it is a movement you can claim as your own.
(Question 3) If you’re not willing 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) Jesism is founded upon the idea that one doesn’t always have to leave their roots in order to evolve or find new enlightenments. The human subconscious and ego is designed for growth, adaptation, and awakening. So for anyone with a connection or interest in Jesus as a social or spiritual leader, it can be beneficial to build along with the enduring message and spirituality of Jesus, instead of focusing time on deconstruction and rationalization.
(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 always been able to delineate sufficiently from traditional Christianity to offer the enlightenment and evolution that the world is ready for. Calling oneself a follower of Jesus / Christ is fine, but sometimes even the most closed minded Christians identify in those terms. Having “soft” labels offers a way to find others of similar mind, interests, and background, but Jesism isn’t meant to be a “hard” label that creates an in and out mentality.
To help share this path, the movement needed a name that could stand alone and be recognized clearly for what it is. Because of its 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 enlightening life path and 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. As the movement grows we will keep in touch. One thing you could do today is share it with anyone in your network who may be interested. A big part of any new paradigm is just getting used to the idea so it doesn’t seem threatening or obscure.
(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 spiritual growth and good charitable works, but in all too many cases they become consumed by their own interests and insecurity, and they turn inward. They narrowly define their beliefs and create lines in the sand.
So 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 its 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 existing organizations. Another outcome could be to simply have no impact on certain churches and watch them continue to close their doors one by one. 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 anymore makes me nervous about how it will effect my relationships with friends, family, or God. (Answer) Then keep calling yourself a Christian. That is perfectly find and Jesism fully embraces that. The point here isn’t that you have to change your label, but more that you feel a movement of people who are aligning with the most relevant teachings and examples of Jesus for personal and collective awakening. We don’t need to over-complicate it, you can 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