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Tenderly Calling: An Invitation to the Way of Jesus

Can your heart feel the vibration of Jesus’ voice, tenderly calling you to follow his way of divine compassion?  And if you sense his voice, what would it mean to follow him? Jim Burklo attunes the reader to Jesus’ voice in Tenderly Calling. It is an invitation for those starting the path of Jesus, as well as for those setting out afresh. Tenderly Calling invites the reader into the depths of the Bible’s myth and poetry, into the practices of the church’s contemplative traditions, and into action, building the kingdom of heaven on earth.

The way of Jesus is kindness: it is the open-hearted, open-minded, humble faith of a humble man. For two decades, Jim Burklo’s books and blog entries have thrown spiritual lifelines to disillusioned Christians, offering them an alternative progressive form of the faith.


Now, in Tenderly Calling, he addresses the growing population of people who know so little about the faith that they have little to unlearn. His book introduces the texts, rituals, symbols, and practices of the faith as raw material for the spiritual imagination, inviting the follower to creatively participate in the ongoing evolution of Christianity. Tenderly Calling is a welcome into the Christian faith that rings true for our time.

In this superb work, Jim Burklo has succeeded to transmit in a succinct and clear manner the way of Jesus and invites us to rediscover his path. In the way of the great mystics of all traditions, the author shows us how God reveals himself to us, embracing two complementary modes. Externally: In nature, in his students, in the faces of the homeless and persecuted, and in all of life, and internally: In the inner recesses of the soul where knowing Self is to know God.  This book unwraps the kernel of the teachings of Christ, showing us the radical way of Jesus, one that goes daringly beyond identifying as Christian. It speaks to everyone who journeys toward authenticity. It is a path in which Christ continues to tenderly call us to selflessness, compassion and love translated into service. The love that Jesus showed us in his time shines a spotlight in our times calling us to sacred activism in protecting our ecosystem, in cities, in the border crossings, and wherever his presence is needed through us. As the author writes, “But Jesus is not calling you harshly and forcefully, demanding that you make the one-and-only choice. Jesus is calling softly and tenderly to walk his path with an open mind and heart.” ~ Rosamonde Ikshvàku Miller, Bishop, Church of Gnosis (Ecclesia Gnostica Mysteriorum), Redwood City, CA
This is the book I’ve been wanting to write for years! Thanks to Jim Burklo, I can instead send copies of Tenderly Calling to all my friends who keep asking me for a book that explains “progressive” Christianity without assuming any prior knowledge or understanding of Christianity itself.  Tenderly Calling distills the essence and implications of Jesus’ visionary message into an easily accessible form without losing its transformative power. In this masterful work, Burklo helps people discover (or remember) why the Jesus’s message was originally called the “Good News” by those who heard and lived it. ~ Rev. Dr. Eric Elnes, Senior Pastor, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Portland, OR
Tenderly Calling is a book that stands with arms outstretched to the seekers, doubters, lovers, and thinkers who are searching for a way in (or back into) Christianity. It contains thoughtful examinations of the many ways Christianity seems to pull us in and draw our attention and wonder. Jim Burklo gives a heartfelt appeal to enjoy the warmth and deep joy of loving Jesus by way of progressive Christianity.  ~ Ariel Quist, Speech/Language Pathologist, member, Mt Hollywood Congregational United Church of Christ, Los Angeles, CA
About the Author

Rev. Jim Burklo is the Senior Associate Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life at the University of Southern California.  An ordained pastor in the United Church of Christ, he is the author of six published books on progressive Christianity, with his newest  Tenderly Calling: An Invitation to the Way of Jesus (St Johann Press, 2021).  His weekly blog, “Musings”, has a global readership.  He serves on the board of and is an honorary advisor and frequent content contributor for

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