Newsweek’s latest cover story, written by popular author Andrew Sullivan, encourages Americans to “forget the church” and just “follow Jesus.”

Sullivan sees the problem of a politicized faith, one that focuses relentlessly on gaining power, changing laws, and regulating the morality of others. He sees contemporary Christianity as a faith obsessed with getting doctrines about Jesus right to the exclusion of what He actually taught us to do and be. This leads him to ask some piercing questions:

“What does it matter how strictly you proclaim your belief in various doctrines if you do not live as these doctrines demand? What is politics if not a dangerous temptation toward controlling others rather than reforming oneself?”

From the Catholic Church’s teachings on sexuality to evangelical Christian support of torture, Sullivan makes his way through a long list of perceived threats to the centrality of Christ among believing people.

So what’s the solution? Sullivan points us toward Francis of Assisi and Thomas Jefferson. Francis — for the simplicity of his vision for following Jesus. Jefferson — for the way he stripped away all the miracles of incarnation and resurrection and got to the greatest miracle of all: Jesus’ message of love.

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