The Ninefold Path of Jesus
What if we lived in a world of abundance?
In the Beatitudes, Jesus offers nine sayings that move us beyond our first instincts and instead embrace the deeper reality of the kingdom of God. They name the illusions and false beliefs that have kept us chained and imprisoned. We've learned to live from a mentality of anxiety and greed, but what if a world of abundance with solace and comfort are actually near? We've learned to live by striving, competition, and comparison, but what if we all have equal dignity and worth?
Mark Scandrette shows how the Beatitudes invite us into nine new postures for life. Instead of living in fear, we can choose radical love. It's often assumed that the good life is only for the most wealthy, attractive, and powerful. Poor, sad, and suffering people are left out. But the ninefold path of the Beatitudes is for everyone. Whatever your story, whatever your struggle, wherever you find yourself, this way is available to you.
"As we begin to slowly transition into a new normal, some of us are recovering from illness or loss, and many of us are struggling with a loss of focus in our lives. If you are one of those who are not only looking forward to a new normal but also a new reason for being, I want to introduce you to Mark Scandrette and his new book The Ninefold Path of Jesus. If you're looking for a follower of Jesus who can offer you a pathway to a more compelling whole-life faith for times like these, check out this book. Mark will show you creative new ways to both be a difference and make a difference that reflect the ways of Jesus."
"God has created a world where systems work in constant concert within systems, that in turn serve other systems. And God designed these nested systems to foster a profound sense of thriving. Yet we find ourselves functioning in systems that work against systems. And many of these systems—whether physiological, economic, ecological, or ethical—are woefully out of whack. Creating disjointed and dissonant rhythms, we march to toward our own demise. My dear friend Mark Scandrette has discerned a pathway of recovery in the ancient teachings of Jesus. Mark has distilled for us a practical, accessible, and joy-filled new way of showing up in our lives that restores harmony in the systems we are a part of through Jesus' Beatitudes. If you, like me, are wearing a weighted weariness brought on by old ways of thinking and being, The Ninefold Path of Jesus is the book for you."
"Mark continues his embodied spiritual formation in The Ninefold Path of Jesus. This book is a refreshing, embodied, honest, at-times-funny, at-times-emotionally moving exploration into following the way of Jesus. As a visual person, I appreciate the ways The Ninefold Path of Jesus aesthetically moves the reader from a passive to an engaged posture of formation. This book is a helpful resource for anyone seeking to continue to walk fully, one step after the other, with Jesus and with others."
"'It overwhelmed me. . . . He had such talent, he could find things inside a song and vigorously develop them,' was Bob Dylan's response to hearing Jimi Hendrix's rendition of 'All Along the Watchtower.' When encountering Mark's material on the Beatitudes, that's the quote that came to mind. I've played, taught, and sought to live these teachings for two decades, but wow! Watch how Mark can play it!"
"The Ninefold Path of Jesus offers accessible yet penetrating insights into the transformative power of these core Christian teachings, which are often misunderstood and more often avoided. This is not just a book to be read, it is a book to be done. Holistic participation in Scripture is applied to contemporary challenges at once personal and social, with signposts for new consciousness along the way. Scandrette's approach is courageous, real, and raw, and opens space for the blessings of Jesus in similar fashion."
"This book is important. Mark Scandrette wrests the Beatitudes out of the realm of sentimentality and theoretical abstraction. He dares to propose that Jesus meant what he said, and that what he said was meant to change everything. Jesus' invitation into the Beatitude life is not a nice-sounding series of phrases but something for us to receive and to practice. Scandrette gives us a sound curriculum to posture ourselves away from the world's fear, despair, self-centeredness, and apathy, and to posture ourselves toward Jesus' offer of trust, humility, lament, justice, compassion, peacemaking, surrender, and radical love. Following in this way seems to be our best hope for living a life that is free, hopeful, and blessed."
"Mark Scandrette is a poet, an artist, and an instigator of holy mischief. In this book, he explores the wisdom of the Beatitudes of Jesus. If you set out to compile a list of values that contradict the highest aspirations of popular American culture, you couldn't do much better than the Beatitudes of Jesus, where Christ blesses the poor, the meek, the merciful, the peacemakers. In short, Jesus blesses all the people that our world is crushing, and he includes the people we have excluded. If you're not yet convinced that the call of Jesus is countercultural and revolutionary, just consider Christ's Beatitudes and Mark's reflections on them in this book. Jesus is literally flipping the world upside-down . . . or right-side up . . . so that the last are first and the first are last. This is what God is up to, and we are invited to be a part of it. Let Mark Scandrette lead you into the hidden secrets of Jesus. If we want to be blessed by God, we need to be near to the people that this world is crushing. The blessing is not at the top but at the bottom."
"Mark Scandrette issues us a compelling and winsome invitation to cultivate the kingdom of God within and around us, and then hands us tools so we can roll up our sleeves and dig in. Poet and activist, both grounded and visionary, he is a master craftsman in spiritual formation. This book will inspire and equip you to emulate both the radical heart orientation and lifestyle of Jesus."
"As a fellow student of the Beatitudes, I've loved getting to know Mark Scandrette in the past year. Our mutual passion has inspired conversations that have taught me so much and, beyond just talking, have helped me live differently in the world. I think the Beatitudes show us where God is and invite us to live in a different kind of way. This book is Jesus' extended invitation to us to know and practice this Jesus way. I have heard that the goal of Christian maturity is not independence but interdependence. Mark's questions and practices in this book guide us to a life of interdependence—dependence on divine presence and on our need for each other. We are not alone on the hill. I will be recommending The Ninefold Path of Jesus to everyone I know and letting the content challenge me and change me for many years to come."
"In The Ninefold Path of Jesus, Mark Scandrette provides an innovative and fresh approach to the Beatitudes, provocatively asserting that they 'point us toward what is real and true.' Scandrette's very practical and engaging interpretation of the Beatitudes, with exercises to lead us forward, makes this a valuable book for Christian leaders and discipleship programs."
"Mark's use of the Beatitudes is a brilliant approach to discipleship. The idea of using Jesus' posture within these nine principles works equally well to light a spark in a stale religious rhythm as it does to lay a path for the spiritually curious. Whether you're looking to craft a new discipleship system for your church, rethink the way you talk about your faith, or transform your own spiritual development, looking at the Beatitudes through Mark's lens provides a typical-of-Jesus counterintuitive means to each end."
"We're neck high in dogma and pink tea discussions about the correct parsing of Greek verbs. The question on the table is, What do the teachings of Jesus have to say to a bruised world in search of healers? Follow Mark Scandrette as he leads you through The Ninefold Path of Jesus. Next, follow his example. Take these teachings outside, far beyond your comfort zone. The world will be rewarded, and so will you."
Introduction: Nine Postures for Life
1. The Way of Trust
2. The Way of Lament
3. The Way of Humility
4. The Way of Justice
5. The Way of Compassion
6. The Way of the Right Motive
7. The Way of Peacemaking
8. The Way of Surrender
9. The Way of Radical Love
Conclusion: Living the Ninefold Path
Appendix 1: Ninefold Path Prayer and Examen Questions
Appendix 2: Summary of the Ninefold Path
Appendix 3: The Beatitudes and Personality