12. Coming Clean
It was my 15-year-old daughter, Christine, who led the walkers across the Nullarbor. It was members of our group who distributed leaflets outside the Commonwealth Bank with enlarged barcodes on their foreheads. It was members of our group who donned nappies and handed out The Baby Book at the Royal Easter Show.
I believe with all my heart that I have discovered wonderful and exciting things in the teachings of Jesus Christ. I do not have all the answers, and I have made many mistakes in how I have tried to communicate those answers to other people; but I am more sure today than ever before that the answers to all the great mysteries of life are to be found in the teachings of Jesus Christ, if we would just obey them. They really are from God, and they really do work.
For teaching this, I believe, I have been excommunicated. I have been excommunicated by the secular media in Sydney, by the religious media in Australia, by my friends and by many members of my family. But I will not cease in my efforts to get that message of the teachings of Jesus out to the rest of the world. That is what I have been trying to do through this book, and through the various "stunts" that we have undertaken over the years.
I have been encouraged as I have studied the lives of such people as Leo Tolstoy. He said many of the same things that I am saying today. He discovered them at a time when he was already known around the world for his many great novels. But when he started saying the sort of things that he wrote in "A Confession" or "What I Believe", the rest of the world did not want to know him. He was excommunicated from the Russian Orthodox Church. His writings were banned in Russia, and had to be passed from person to person, in the same way that this book reached you today. But Tolstoy did not give up. He stuck with what he knew to be the truth, and his life (and death) have not been in vain. If nothing else, they have inspired me. And if I can inspire someone else to carry on the same message, then my life too will have been worthwhile.
Note: If you would like a copy of the two short books by Tolstoy that are mentioned above, (in a single volume, and written in very clear, simple English) just send a couple of dollars to help with the cost of printing them, and I will mail one to you. My address is at the end of this chapter.
But before you can even begin to hear what I, or Tolstoy, or Jesus, have to say, you must first overcome the natural human tendency to turn away from anyone who bears the stigma of an excommunicant. Don't feel sorry for mee unless it can cause you to hear what I have to say. But know beforehand that it is not enough to just hear it. Jesus said that anyone who heard what he had to say and then did not obey it, would be like a foolish person building a house on sand. He said that what you build may look beautiful on completion, but when the storms come, it will collapse.
The storm is death. One day each of us is going to be standing before Almighty God, and we will have to answer for what we have done with our lives. Most of us have known from the time we were quite young that we were going to die one day. And yet we continue to live our lives as though we will never die. We worry more about what people think than we do about death itself.
Nothing matters so much as being right with God. Not your job, or your wealth, or your family, or your reputation, or even your life. You are going to lose all of these things one day anyway. This "house", or life, of yours, that has been built on the sand of tradition, is going to collapse. So why not give it all up for God now, and start building on his solid rocke the rock that will go on living, even after the storm of death has beat itself out on it. That rock is the teachings of Christ, as contained in the Bible. In another place it is called the "cornerstone", which the religious builders have left out of their theology.
Before you start aguing that you can get right with God by going to a church or saying a little prayer, let me ask you two things. Did Jesus Christ say that? And where is there a church anywhere that teaches people to obey the teachings of Jesus as contained in the four Gospels? If you know of one, tell me about it and I'll come and join it myself. The Apostle Paul said to run the race like you are the only one it it. The person who wins the race doesn't get a chance to look at the other runners. So, if you really want to be right with God, you had better forget about following anyone (including me), and you had better start following Jesus Christ like you are the only person in the world who is prepared to do that. Because you very well may be!
You can find his teachings in the first four books of the New Testament. Don't get side-tracked with anything else.
If you would like to get in touch with me, I would appreciate hearing from you. My address is printed below. If you're just writing to tell me that I'm too extreme, or that I shouldn't be so hard on the institutional church, forget it. I've heard it all before, and I'll probably not respond to your letter. But if you are really serious about following Jesus, I would love to hear from you.
David McKay Jesus Christians Box A678 Sydney South 1235, Australia email: firstname.lastname@example.org