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Jul 28, 2017

Jesus Heist: Recovering the Gospel from the Church

Recognizing that inside the church we are constantly and consistently reading the gospels through the lens of preserving our own institution and structure, Andy Doyle, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, is reframing the conversation to help us hear the critique Jesus offers in his own day and his emphatic call to change as a message directed at each of us, rather than one we should direct towards others.

In Jesus Heist: Recovering the Gospel from the Church Doyle flips the script of familiar Bible stories. He invites readers to consider Jesus’ call to “create a new order out of God’s very nature of love: the challenge to enter the lives of our neighbor, to be neighbor, to venture into the wilderness where God is present, and to be converted into communion with God” and what that means in terms of our own behavior.

“Read this book if you have found yourself questioning tradition, bored by Sunday morning routines, or wondering how to bring new life into any congregation,” suggests Becca Stevens, priest and founder of Magdalene and Thistle Farms. “Andy knows the church is broken and invites us all to accept that lostness so that we can be found. Through his writing Andy grounds us in the fellowship of Jesus, analyses where we wandered away from the Sinai traditions, and then cuts a path by which we can find our way back.  We can let go of useless structures that don't lead us to love the world with eyes wide open.  We can live again as the motley crew of Jesus who are present in the world, loving their neighbors!  This book will free you to reimagine how you spend your time, talent, and treasures for the coming kingdom.”

Through stories such as the Widow’s Mite, the Rich Young Ruler, the Destruction of the Temple, and others, Doyle challenges us to change the lens we use to read scripture, while also examining our relationship with God in Jesus Christ. “The way forward is back into the mission field,” writes Doyle. “The way forward will require a shift in the way we think about relationships with Jesus and others. We must change how we, as church leaders relate to God, and how the church as a whole relates with God, and how the people of outside of our congregations relate with God.”

Andrew Doyle is the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.  Author of “Unabashedly Episcopalian” and "A Generous Community," he summarizes his autobiography in six words: “Met Jesus on pilgrimage; still walking.” Doyle and his wife, JoAnne, live in Houston and have two daughters.