Read New Kind of Christianity by mistake

A reader writes:

Thank you for writing A New Kind of Christianity. It caught my eye at the local library because it was mistakenly shelved in the fiction section. I picked it up, thinking to shelve it where it belonged, and it looked interesting, so I checked it out. God uses interesting ways of getting my attention!
I’ve had a rather circuitous religious history: from Methodist to Mormon to Wesleyan to agnostic to Presbyterian. Some of the same questions have followed me and even plagued me in each step of my spiritual journey. Your book is answering those questions.
I just finished reading chapter 17 on human sexuality. Besides providing some great entertainment in the opening section (I was sure you were deliberately misleading the reader but wasn’t sure exactly where you were going), you have given me some theological peace. I have never been able to hate or condemn homosexuals. The old “loving the sinner but hating the sin” approach never worked, either. It’s always been a source of religious guilt for me that I love the people I’ve been told I need to judge. And what’s worse, love them—whether homosexual or Muslim or atheist or whatever—without feeling the need or desire to try to change them.
Your eloquent paragraph listing those whom we often exclude really struck me deeply because my son has schizophrenia (and is one of the unfortunate fifty percent whose disease prevents him from knowing he has the disease) and my grandson (my daughter and son-in-law’s first child) has Down Syndrome. Your explanation of the Greco-Roman lens of Bible interpretation versus your three dimensional view gives me great hope, articulating concepts that were barely in my conscious view. Your rendering of Romans makes so much sense to me.
Again, thank you. What a loving God we serve!

Thanks for this encouraging note. Thanks especially for sharing about the schizophrenia and Down syndrome in your family. All our families are touched with various realities like these, and I think it’s important for us to stop stigmatizing and hiding them. Which reminds me … I was with Tony Jones last week, and he led in a brilliant thought experiment that went along these lines: “What is the image of God in human beings?” Most people will respond with answers like our rationality, our God-consciousness, etc. Then he said, “What about a child with Down syndrome or schizophrenia. Do they not possess the full image of God?” Of course we immediately see how damaging it would be to speak or think as if they did not. As soon as we honestly move into a more problematized space around what it means to be image-bearers of God, we can start to think more humanely about other people.
[By the way, Tony has a really odd picture of the two of us on his site. He’s inviting captions …]
I was also with Tony Campolo last week and he offered (as usual) a brilliant one-liner about the “love-the-sinner/hate-the-sin” saying. He said it was unhelpful because it went against what Jesus taught, which was, “Love the sinner, and hate your own sin. Then, after you’ve thoroughly dealt with your own sin, you can more compassionately deal with what you perceive to be the sins of others.” (Matthew 7)