Q & R: Positive attitude toward Christianity?

Here’s the Q:

First of all I really love your work. I love the way you are so positive despite of differences and critique.I’m from the Netherlands and I’m really struggling trying to figure out all the doubtful stuff in christianity.
For about 5 years I’ve been questioning my faith and researching all kinds of literature. Somewhere in this process I read ‘a new kind of christianity’, which led me to read all your other books as well! I just love em.
But I find it really hard to maintain a positive attitude towards christianity because the naive approach a lot of christians have. So my question to you is first of all how do you cope with that?
But to me the more important question is how do you fit Jesus in all of this. If you look at historical data and the way the bible is somewhat primitive (some parts)… and if we say that the whole wrath thing is not really the case… then what’s left of the Jesus story and what’s His role in our lives?
I would love to hear your comments on this. And again, thnx for all the writing!

Here’s the R:
Thanks for your note. I’ve been to Netherlands a few times and love your land and especially the Dutch people.
Once I was having a lot of trouble getting along with someone who had hurt me deeply. I went to one of my mentors and asked for help.
“You have to forgive him,” my mentor said.
“That’s the problem,” I said. “I could say I forgive him, but I wouldn’t mean it. I’m very angry at him. I don’t feel I can honestly forgive him at this point. I want to, but I can’t.”
“Ah, that’s because you don’t understand him,” my mentor said.
“That’s a problem too. He makes no sense to me. I can’t understand him,” I replied.
“When you realize he’s just a human being like you, and others hurt him, you’ll understand that his most obnoxious behaviors are expressions of fear and hurt. Then you’ll have compassion on him, and then you’ll be able to forgive him,” he replied.
I think something similar happens with Christianity as a community. Christianity is people, and people are in process. Various expressions of the religion have been hurt and sometimes get reactive and hurtful. But just as people can change for the better, so can communities. That’s part of what I’m trying to get at in “We Make the Road by Walking.”
Maybe you and I can take steps in better directions so that our faith communities can grow and change for the better.
As for your question about Jesus – I think you’ll really like my new book. It will address this directly. Let me know what you think, OK?