Another Excerpt From Follow

From Floyd's new book Follow - available on amazon.com in the United States, or from All Nations office in South Africa: "Follow is about the foundation on which we build our lives – Jesus Himself. The only way we can truly authenticate ourselves as seekers and followers of Jesus is to measure ourselves by the life and teachings of Jesus. Not by our leaders or our doctrinal statements, just Jesus! Not by what church or organization we are part, but by Jesus Himself. And certainly not by the false 'self' which our culture tries to press on us of, 'what I have', 'what I do'. Just Jesus.

I have written Follow with the underlying belief that any hierarchy and all institutionalization of the church leads us directly away from Jesus Himself. We must, therefore, constantly return to Jesus as our source and our example for how to live. Studying His life, spending time in His presence, and seeking to be filled with His Spirit, these are our primary life-sources as individuals and as movements of Jesus-followers.

It is not easy to have a clear vision of the true Jesus, 'particularly when you live with a culture that is far askew' from His way. I grew up in a church culture that embraced racism. We were an all-white denomination begun in the Deep South in the United States. It took the speeches and civil disobedience of Martin Luther King to awaken my conscience to the evil of racism as a searching university student. It was only then that I realized I had inherited a Christian culture that I had mistaken for the teachings and practices of Jesus. King’s message of non-violence in the face of injustice inspired me to dream a bigger dream of what it meant to follow Jesus.

It is very hard to find Jesus when you live within a culture that claims to be Christian but is far from the Jesus way. I live at present in Cape Town, South Africa. I also visited South Africa many times during the apartheid years. White South Africans in those days claimed to have built a Christian nation. It was enshrined in their constitution. There were many South Africans who naïvely trusted the propaganda of the Nationalist Party who ruled the country. Instead of applying the radical teachings of Jesus to the racist doctrines of apartheid, they blindly trusted their leaders to think for them. It is a hard lesson to learn, whether in South Africa, Nazi Germany or the United States.

The answer? We learn that the servant Jesus did not come to set up 'Christian nations'. While on earth, Jesus modelled being an under-king. His kingdom was not married to any political party or country. We learn from this that we must continually go back to Jesus and His example of 'subversive resistance' to all that is contrary to His way. We must study His teachings, look deeply at His example, and ask hard questions of ourselves and others about what it means to follow Jesus. This applies to Republicans and Democrats in the United States, Tories and Labor and Conservatives in the UK.

In Follow I seek to ask hard questions of you in this book, what you believe and how you apply those believes to your everyday life. I have tried to put aside my own assumptions as I consider again what it means to follow Jesus, and I ask you to do the same. I believe and acknowledge that no one can ever claim to understand or know Jesus completely, but we can know Him with certainty. Not arrogant self-certainty, but with confident humility.