IX YEARS AGO A LITTLE IDEA KERNEL centered on having young adults write about the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-12) was spoken of during lunch in the cafeteria of the General Conference, where I work. Why? Because the simple teachings of Christ seemed contradictory—and revolutionary—yet appealing. Because young adults, restless and seeking, might be able to see and share the possibilities of living the Beatitudes now, despite the “costs.” The kernel soon developed into something bigger as we thought about how unpopular it was to be meek, pure, merciful—and certainly no one we could think of would embrace persecution. And thus, after several months of planning, writing, editing, and designing, “The Beatitudes Project” special issue of the Review
was published in 2003.
Some things have changed in the past five years. Many appear to be more socially conscious, more questing in spiritual matters, and more aware of issues facing the world’s population. Who would have considered really seriously, for example, the effects of global warming even three years ago? Who would have predicted that young people, while still avidly pursuing careers that promise wealth and status, would also sacrifice muscle for a hybrid vehicle? Who would have thought young Americans would care so much about places such as Darfur?
Many things haven’t changed. We’re still in a sin-sick world. Too many still tread on the “little people” on their way to the top. We are still relatively selfish, aggressive, and ignorant. The good news is that the timeless teachings of Christ are still viable. Still valuable. What Jesus said can still make a difference—if you let it.
Another thing that hasn’t changed: Jesus spoke His sermon on a mountainside. In the rocky crags He imparted to humanity some of the most important information. But what about after the sermon? He wanted us to go out—following His example—and be fishers of men. (Hence, the motif of boats and water.) Are you ready?
And so, here is “The Beatitudes Project 2.” More than 20 writers share what these messages mean to them in a variety of ways—theological examination, practical application, personal experience, humor, poetry—all revolutionary thoughts on a still-relevant gospel. You may agree with some, disagree with others. But, we hope you’ll become invigorated. Inspired—again.