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If I ever posted inspirational quotes on social media, which I don’t because it would ruin my sarcastic win streak I have going on Facebook, I know which one I would post first. It’s a paragraph from Jack Caputo’s book What Would Jesus Deconstruct? that has inspired me ever since I read it when it came out in 2007.

Speaking of Jesus, Caputo writes:

“He kept one thing uppermost in his heart, the love of neighbor and of God, which was unconditional, the sum and substance of the Torah, and he treated everything else, however sacred it was in men’s eyes, as man made, conditional, flexible, deconstructible. His periodic flashes of anger are reserved for those who confused the latter with the former.”

Imagine that on a background of a warm golden sunrise coming up over the ocean and just try not to be inspired.

In fact, this has become a sort of mantra for me. Because it simultaneously asks me to do very important things:

1. Love more

2. Care about everything else less.

Or, to turn it into a question:

Do I love the person next to me more than that blankie of safety and certainty that’s woven tightly from my judgments about the right way to think, which politician God wants me to vote for, and my opinion about other people who break God’s rules?

Meh, if I’m honest, not usually. But that’s okay. Because that’s where I’m headed. What good is a mantra if you’ve already arrived? That’s the vision of the Christian life that inspires me. The day I can throw that old and far-too-small-for-me blankie in the trash will be a day of freedom, where I will be free to love with reckless abandon. Where I will be able to love like Jesus.

Until then, I’ll keep striving toward it. And an inspirational poster might just help.


This post was originally published in August 2016.

Jared Byas, M.A.

As a former teaching pastor and professor of philosophy and biblical studies, he speaks regularly on the Bible, truth, creativity, wisdom, and the Christian faith. Tweets at @jbyas