Some Christians think that faith is like a set of MapQuest directions—that there is only a single highway to God. After all, Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by me.” He is the map. And Christianity is a kind of vacation destination, a place you wind up in to escape hell. Such Christians claim that God has a plan for your life, a route you must follow or you will be lost in this life—and damned in the next. They even have things like “four spiritual laws” and “forty days of purpose” that tell you how to get there. Like computer-generated directions, this road is predetermined, distant, and authoritative. You cannot exit this freeway or deviate from the route without peril. Taking a creative risk, as I did in my recent journey through Baltimore’s old neighborhoods, will not lead you home. Instead, it leads directly to hell and destruction. Who cares about a few spiritual traffic jams or construction zones? Better stick to the map. Follow the plan.
But what if Jesus is not a MapQuest sort of map, a superhighway to salvation? What if Jesus is more like old-fashioned street signs in a Baltimore neighborhood, navigated by imagination and intuition? Rather than a set of directions to get saved, Jesus is, as his earliest followers claimed, “the Way.” Jesus is not the way we get somewhere. Jesus is the Christian journey itself, a pilgrimage that culminates in the wayfarer’s arrival in God. When Jesus said “Follow me,” he did not say “Follow the map.” Rather, he invited people to follow him, to walk with him on a pilgrimage toward God.
–Excerpt from Christianity for the Rest of Us, by Diana Butler Bass, p. 72.