How did the story of a man who taught and practiced unconditional love, peace, and kindness; who spent his life defending the poor and the marginalized; a man who even forgave his killers while they executed him unjustly — whose life inspired a radical movement that is still impacting the world thousands of years later — how did this man’s story become associated with hatred and oppression for so many people? And how might we all rediscover the promise of the love his story represents? Those are the questions at the heart of He Gets Us.
We’ve done a lot of homework on our culture. We researched how people feel about each other and what they think about Jesus and Christianity. We’ve connected with thousands of people of various faith traditions and those who claim no religion. We spoke to all kinds of people — different backgrounds, beliefs, and, yes, political affiliations. And this is what we’ve learned: From politics to sexuality and religion, so many of us feel like our values, beliefs, and identities are under attack by the ideological “others” around us. Many perceive those who differ with them on issues of justice, dignity, and humanity as not just wrong or misguided but also as evil. As enemies. We often see these “others” as close-minded, selfish, hypocritical — and if we’re honest, many of us respond in kind.
The more ideologically defensive we become, the more we are willing to sacrifice things like kindness, patience, and the respect and dignity of others for the sake of victory — the righteous ends justifying the dehumanizing means. And it’s tearing us apart. We experience it in politics, in the workplace, in schools, and even in churches. And at the heart of the conflicts is a fundamental disagreement about what it means to be good.
Throughout our shared history, Jesus has represented the ultimate good that humankind is capable of aspiring to. And though some no longer believe in God, most are still compelled by the idea of a person capable of unconditional love for others despite their differences. But many of us simply cannot reconcile the idea of that person with the way our culture experiences religion today. Whether it’s hypocrisy and discrimination in the church, or scandals both real and perceived among religious leaders, or the polarization of our politics, many have relegated Jesus from the world’s greatest love story to just another tactic used to intensify our deep cultural divisions.
How did we get here? And what might we learn from the example of Jesus to help move beyond the animosity we feel for one another? How can we rediscover the life and teachings of Jesus, the world’s most radical love activist? That is our agenda at He Gets Us: to move beyond the mess of our current cultural moment to a place where all of us are invited to rediscover the love story of Jesus. Christians, non-Christians, and everybody in between. All of us.
He Gets Us is a diverse group of Jesus followers with a wide variety of faith journeys and lived experiences. Our work represents the input from Christians who believe that Jesus is the son of God as well as many others who, though not Christians, share a deep admiration for the man that Jesus was, and we are deeply inspired and curious to explore his story. We look at the biography of Jesus through a modern lens to find new relevance in often overlooked moments and themes from his life. If you’d like to join us, you’re invited. Below you’ll find several resources to explore the story of Jesus for yourself.