I like what Marcus Borg refers to as the four strokes of Jesus: spirit person, teacher of wisdom, social prophet and movement founder. Let me briefly share each stroke. 
As a spirit person, Jesus had an experiential awareness of the reality of God. Jesus prayed and fasted. Jesus often went off on his own and prayed for hours at a time. It is quite possible that he practiced wordless prayer.
He addressed God as Abba, his Father. This was very intimate and personal. This was not a common tradition at this time. For Jesus, God was not just an outside source. God was in Jesus and Jesus was in God. The Spirit of God emanated from Jesus. He lived his life connected to God. God nourished his soul.
Jesus spoke with authority that flowed from his spiritual experience. As a spirit person he taught the need to die to the conventional wisdom of the world and to die to the self. Jesus wanted the Spirit to transform lives. Jesus wanted people to be centered in God.
As a wisdom teacher Jesus taught in parables and memorable short sayings (aphorisms). Jesus was both a teacher of wisdom and the embodiment or incarnation of divine wisdom. His parables and aphorisms invited his hearers to see something they might not otherwise see.
He wanted to open eyes to a new way of seeing. He invited people in and made them think for themselves. He did not give them the answer. He wanted them to find the answer themselves.
As a social prophet he criticized the economic, political and religious elite with his alternate social vision. Jesus was often in conflict with the authorities. Jesus emphasized compassion. The dominant social vision was centered on holiness and purity. Jesus stressed that compassion not holiness was the dominant quality of God.
God was not concerned if people obeyed purity rituals that were important to the Jewish temple priests and officials. God was concerned that compassion be enacted in the community. Everyone was welcome at the table. For Jesus purity was on the inside not the outside of a person.
Lastly, Jesus was a movement founder. He reformed Judaism. It was an inclusive movement. It included all: women, untouchables, the poor, the sick, the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the marginalized. It also included those people of stature who found his vision attractive.
Jesus went to Jerusalem to make his final appeal to the people at the center of the national and religious life. Jesus was sentenced to death by Pilate on the charge of treason and executed by the Romans as a political rebel. Jesus did not create Christianity. After his death and resurrection, his early followers spawned Christianity.
John Dominic Crossan, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography
If you enjoyed reading this post, please recommend and share it to help others find it.
 Marcus J. Borg, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus and the Heart of Contemporary Faith, (HarperOne): 1995
this post may contain affiliate links
Save 15% on All Orders at Open Mike’s Coffee , Use code SHAKE15
I am currently taking on clients for Centering Prayer One on One Coaching sessions. I am happy to setup weekly, bi-weekly or monthly sessions with you over the phone or skype to help you go deeper into your centering prayer practice and integrate it into your daily life. Contact me for more information. The first session is 1/2 off.
Learn how I use my prayer bracelet.
Our friends at Contemplative Light are offering Contemplative Practices. This course examines in-depth traditional practices of the Christian mystics, including: The Examen, Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, The Jesus Prayer and Christian Meditation.
Contemplative Perspectives: Frameworks for the Divine: With the historic practice of The Jesus Prayer as a jumping off point, we explore the experiential aspects of the Purgation/Illumination/Union path of Christian Mysticism.
I am currently reading The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – a New Perspective on Christ and His Message by Cynthia Bourgeault and Contemplative Living: An Invitation to a Deepening Journey by .
The Way of the Wisdom Jesus: Going Beyond the Mind to the Heart of His Teaching – If you put aside what you think you know about Jesus and approach the Gospels as though for the first time, something remarkable happens: Jesus emerges as a teacher of the transformation of consciousness. In this online course, Episcopal priest, teacher, and retreat and conference leader Cynthia Bourgeault serves as a masterful guide to Jesus’s vision and to the traditional contemplative practices you can use to experience the heart of his teaching for yourself. Based upon her book The Wisdom Jesus.
Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus. Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright. It is based on his book Simply Jesus. Enjoy an article I wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.
This course is a short course based on Prof. N.T. Wright’s latest book, Simply Good News. Tom Wright will guide you through the chapters of his book through videos that suggest what some of the main points are. You will instantly get into the heart of the idea of ‘good news’ as it was understood by the 1st Century writers of the New Testament. You will be brought into their world in order to make more sense of what ‘good news’ means in our world.
Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks – This is a great way to listen to books with your cell phone while you drive, walk or relax at home. I frequently listen in my car during my commute to and from work. I’m a proud affiliate.
David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners.
Centering Prayer is a silent prayer practice that can move you toward a profound relationship with the Spirit of God within. It is a way of praying that opens the door to the Divine Indwelling—the ground of our being. With Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating and his colleagues Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Father Carl Arico present the first online course in this method for deepening your intimacy with God and ultimately consenting to the presence and action of the Divine in all aspects of your life.
Since the time of the Desert Fathers in the third century, Finley begins, Christian mystics have practiced meditation as a way of opening to the direct presence of God in daily life. Legendary seekers such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Meister Eckhart explored how meditation can lead us beyond the closed horizon of the ego, to an interior and holy refuge that is always available to us. On Christian Meditation, James Finley offers a gentle introduction to this all-transforming way of life, and the ever-deepening realization of oneness with Christ it leads us to. (Based upon his book, Christian Meditation.)