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A Life Lived and Laid Down for Friends: A Progressive Christology


A Life Lived and Laid Down for Friends reflects on the iconoclastic life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. From the “riches in the rags” story of the nativity to his compassion-moved sacrifice to save his disciples, this book reflects on Jesus as first and foremost a spiritual teacher who embodied compassion.

Pastor and author Don Erickson shows how the humility embodied by society’s most vulnerable was, for Jesus, the benchmark for inclusion in God’s kingdom. The book also looks at Jesus’ approach to religious pluralism, a reality he experienced in ancient Palestine under Roman rule. It was an approach that evidenced Jesus pointing to expressions of compassion, rather than to mere faith.

In addition, the book examines the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, offering a view that both asserts the centrality of the passion and bases it in historical context that avoids universalizing the story away. The crucifixion itself is shown to be a portrait of embodied, representative compassion that is salvific in its reach.

Inspired by the powerful teachings of liberation theology, as well as a Buddhist-influenced approach to the Gospels, A Life Lived and Laid Down for Friends gives a fresh, poignant portrait of Jesus that defies Trump-America’s resistance to Jesus’ radically compassionate life and teaching.




“An invaluable, compassionate, and spiritual trove of insights that will both inspire and challenge the reader. This book, like its author, is clear, honest, tender, and able to open pathways to new perspectives on the spiritual life. Don shares with us memorable life lessons and weaves it seamlessly with Jesus’ life story. We can all learn from this heartfelt book.” — Grace Song, Won Institute of Graduate Studies

“Don Erickson is a white preacher and pastor who came to understand that white Jesus cannot help us. . . . Erickson is able to traverse boundaries that divide widely separated peoples, theologies, and traditions because he himself has made the journey. He is a reliable guide. Read the book.” — Gary Percesepe, Department of Philosophy, Fordham University

About the Author

Don Erickson is a pastor, poet, and practitioner of Christ’s way of wisdom and compassion. He is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in the city of New York, and a minister in the United Church of Christ and the Christian Universalist Association.

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