A pointedly detailed examination of what it means to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Hazelip’s compact and pointed nonfiction debut dissects what he calls “startling and liberating news of the gospel” by anatomizing the mission and message of Jesus. He focuses on the essence of faith-based salvation and repeatedly echoes the principal tenets of Jesus’ teachings: “Whoever you are and whatever you have done or failed to do,” Hazelip writes, “there is available to you a way filled with purpose, hope, love, joy, and peace.” In the process of explaining this way, Hazelip distills the priorities of the Christian message into 12 principles, starting with predictably conservative dicta, such as “Love God above all else—consider Him in all that you do,” and then branching into more contemporary-sounding sentiments, such as “Lovingly confront and address relational conflict,” and “Don’t make a show of your religion or bring attention to your own good deeds.” The nature of Jesus’ teachings is thus bullet-pointed in ways that both lifelong Christians and newcomers to the faith will find to be thought-provoking. Hazelip draws particular attention to the core of selflessness in Jesus’ creed, the “self-defeating nature of being judgmental,” and “doing what we can and using whatever we have, no matter how much or little,” to reflect one’s love of God through service to others. The book’s more theoretical passages are anchored by anecdotes from the author’s own life—day-to-day vignettes that ground his elaborations on what he refers to as the “hopeful step into the unknown” that is religious faith. The backbone of these passages is Hazelip’s assertion of the loving omnipotence of the Christian God, who “will see our true intentions, even if others do not.” The overall result is a handbook that reads as a fresh, insightful, and essentially optimistic summation of the heart of Jesus’ teachings.
A bracingly clear and forceful exposition of Christian philosophy.