Kurt Struckmeyer is an artist, writer, and theologian. After retiring from the General Motors Design Center in 2005, his theological avocation became a full time occupation, resulting in this web site and two books.
Kurt grew up in St. Louis, Missouri in the aftermath of global war. His youth was shaped by the decades of the conformist fifties and the contentious sixties. At the age of twelve, he discovered a very radical and passionate Jesus in the gospels and responded to his call to “follow me.” Four years later, Kurt read The Cost of Discipleship by the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
1964 Edition. Price: $1.45
The original German title of Bonhoeffer’s book is simply Nachfolge, which means “following” or “the act of following.” It is centered on an exposition of the Sermon on the Mount, in which Bonhoeffer spells out what he believes it means to follow Christ. Bonhoeffer wrote this during the rise of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. He contrasts what he calls “cheap grace” with “costly grace.” Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without any demand on the sinner; no real repentance or transformation is demanded or expected. In contrast, costly grace offers a life of discipleship. Cheap grace leaves the sinner fundamentally unchanged, while costly grace offers a life of radical transformation and sacrificial service.
Based on a growing understanding of the love and nonviolence taught and modeled by Jesus, Kurt became a conscientious objector to the war in Viet Nam. The two martyrs—Jesus and Bonhoeffer—had launched the trajectory of his life.
After graduating from the Washington University School of Fine Arts in 1969 (now the Sam Fox School of Art + Design), Kurt pursued a varied career at the General Motors Design Center in Warren, Michigan. For over 35 years, he worked in a wide variety of positions as a sculptor, digital technician, process and technology planner, business strategist, historian, writer, and visual communicator, serving under every vice president of the Design Center except its founder Harley Earl.
Kurt retired from General Motors in 2005 and now lives in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Today, he spends much of his time in study and writing.
In 2008, Kurt was asked to write a history of automotive design at General Motors titled Driving Style: GM Design’s First Century.
Yet, throughout his adult life, Kurt’s true avocation and calling has been theology, biblical studies, and historical Jesus research, focused on the vision of peace and social justice that Jesus called the “kingdom of God.” Over the years, Kurt has written a number of classroom studies about the mission and message of Jesus, nonviolence, and community building. He has now turned his attention to writing about the future of faith. theology, and the church in a postmodern world.
In 2004, Kurt founded the Mustard Seed School of Theology, launching this website “Following Jesus: a life of faith in a postmodern world.” In 2016, as web standards changed, he completely redesigned the site and integrated a related blog, using a WordPress responsive format for improved readability on all devices.
Over a number of years, Kurt has written three manuscripts for publication based on the material in this website. Wipf & Stock publishers in Eugene, Oregon is publishing all three of these proposed books about aspects of following Jesus in a postmodern world.
The first, A Conspiracy of Love: Following Jesus in a Postmodern World, presents the contours of a secular postmodern faith based on the way of Jesus as a conspiracy of social transformation in contemporary society. (Released in February 2016)
The second, An Unorthodox Faith: A New Reformation for a Postmodern World, calls for a postmodern reformation of traditional Christian theology, replacing it with a theology, ethic, and lifestyle based on an understanding of God as love. (Released in February 2017)
And the third, People of the Way: Passion and Resistance in a Postmodern World, will outline alternative forms for a declining church in the developed world through small activist communities that are dedicated to selfless service and the pursuit of peace and justice. (Targeted for March 2023)
You can read A Conspiracy of Love in paperback or Kindle formats. (See Books for prices and options.)
You can read An Unorthodox Faith in paperback or Kindle formats. (See Books for prices and options.)
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Kurt Struckmeyer may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your comments, questions, suggestions, and critiques are always welcome.
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Thank you for this website and your thoughts. I am actually considering Christianity as an option for me for the first time in my life, at 25. Much like you suggest through out this site (from what I’ve read so far), Jesus (who I admire and am beginning to love) and today’s church don’t really align. I’m trying to navigate my faith, and I don’t want to give up on it. Your insights, along with others, are helping me realize I’m not alone in my thoughts. Thank you!!
Yes, Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life however many denominations of Christianity have twisted his teachings to fit their own agendas. I’m a former Catholic who follows Jesus without the cumbersome institutional baggage. This site is very good and Kurt had provided much inspiration for those wanting to follow Jesus without Christianity and its denominational agendas. Shalom and keep open to the Spirit!
The kingdom of God message of Jesus does not get preached by a lot of pastors. What gets preached most is Paul’s gospel of believing in Jesus so one can attain eternal life. There are two gospels, Jesus’ and Paul’s. Borg, Erhman, DeStefano, Bell and now Struckmeyer are a breath of fresh air for my faith. Thank you.
Are there two Gospels or are certain preachers cherry picking Scripture to appeal to their own or their congregation’s perceived need for theraputic sin-management (shout-out to Dallas Willard)?
Exactly! Jesus is out of the “doctrinal closet” thanks to objective Scripture scholars and many others.
I just came across your challenging website.
Under your discussion of megachurches, you state:
“John Nelson Darby, author of The Purpose-Driven Life and The Purpose-Drive Church, is the founder and pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, a congregation averaging 22,000 weekly attendees on a 120-acre campus.”
I assume naming “John Nelson Darby” as the author of those books is a statement of your view of Pastor Rick Warren as opposed to an editorial oversight. Am I correct?
Thanks. It was an editorial oversight. I don’t quite know how that happened. I have now corrected the text.
The Justice of God and God’s mercy are at logger heads, regardless of whether man’s justice is true or fallible. That is the purpose of the crucifixion of Christ. It satisfied both. Short circuiting God’s Justice and Mercy as you have done badly muddies a clear Gospel message. I am sure you are a great guy and a super nice man and a pleasure to talk to. But, I plan on using in-context excerpts from you article on Social Justice to teach my Sunday school class how to detect and correct deceptive thinking.
The Apostle Paul does not contradict Jesus or the Tanakh in any area with the possible exception keeping Kosher and circumcision. Which fits well with the new covenant promised by God in the book of Jeremiah.
Thanks for posting.
Denominational bias and interpretation have caused great disputes, reactionary movements, and even wars. Jesus never intended to start another religion but to get at the core of all religions which is genuine love (agape), distributive justice as noted in Acts 2, inclusion not exclusion, and the rebuke of power, fame, and fortune which was accepted by those who joined the religion of Rome in the 4th century to avoid any more persecution. Read the Word without the bias of Christianity.
Hi Kurt, I’m a worship director at a Lutheran Church in Canada. I found a creed of love here on your website (which you wrote). I’m wondering if you would grant permission for us to use it as our creed in our service for Valentine’s Day this year (it’s a Sunday for a change). We are live-streaming it as well (so that you’re aware). It is a beautiful statement of faith about the nature of love that Jesus is and that He calls us to.
Kurt can you send me your email? Thanks.
Great work and a great site- I’m on the same page as you but still trying to convert my Catholic brothers and sisters to follow Jesus instead of the institution of Roman Catholicism. Old habits die hard for one who spent an entire life (73 years) in Catholicism, learning, teaching, administering, presenting, and worshipping. I also consult the likes of James Carroll, author of The Truth at the Heart of the Lie, Thomas Moore author of Care of the Soul, John A. Sanford, John Shelby Spong, and John Dominic Crossan
This is so beautiful and touching 😭🥰! I am also a humble servant of Christ!
Do you offer any academic scholarships for disadvantaged children?
I’m sorry, but we are not an actual school with a physical campus.
I feel fortunate to have found your website. One of my major criticisms of mainstream Christianity is its leaders generally fails to provide guidance about how to apply Jesus perspective as a way to deal with the real world, day to day problems of life. Instead, their attention seems primarily focused on presenting evidence that Jesus was the son of God.
Here is my question for you: since your perspective focuses on how your interpretation of Jesus can help us live better in the post modern world, will you explain what you mean by “postmodern”?
Here is an introduction: https://followingjesus.org/the-postmodern-world/