Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

December 3, 2013

Book explores Jesus' teachings

Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — “The Simple Way of Jesus,” Christopher Aune’s first book, was published Oct. 11.

The 14-year Batesville resident felt the need to write the 198-page paperback because “it seemed like God kept nudging me. I kept putting it off for 10 years, and the nudging got stronger and stronger until I could only think about writing this book and getting God off my back. It’s a relief, let me tell you.”

Everywhere he went during an Air Force career, “pastors were struggling. More than half of pastors leave ministry in the first five years because they feel confused, unqualified or unworthy. I wanted to empower and encourage pastors to focus on what Jesus really teaches, and I felt a book would do that.”

The nonfiction piece took about nine months to write, working three to six hours a day, about five days a week, usually in the early morning or late at night, when it was quiet. Aune wrote “wherever my laptop would go” – his home office, at the YMCA, a local church, McDonald’s, Liberty Park, even on vacation. He then spent another two and a half years editing it to make the book easy to read and clear to understand.

The author hopes “The Simple Way of Jesus” helps readers “break out of the habit of reciting the competing doctrines they’ve been reciting since they were tiny tots .... The core of Jesus’ message is that the kingdom of heaven is at hand here and now; we just have to reach out and grab it.”

Aune wonder if any readers would be interested in a study group about his book. “I could answer questions and help people understand what I’ve learned in the process of writing the book. And they could have the chance to ‘straighten me out.’” Aune can be contacted at 812-363-3304​ or christopheraune@gmail.com.

The father of four (Donna Collins, McEwen, Tenn.; Capt. Shayne Aune, Dayton, Ohio; Sarah Aune, Batesville; and Samuel Aune, currently teaching English in South Korea) and grandfather of 10 grew up in Perryville, Mo. Aune holds three degrees, a master’s in agency counseling (human development) from Indiana State University, a bachelor’s in social psychology (organizational development) from Park University, Mo., and an associate’s in public affairs from the Community College of the Air Force, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.

The certified life coach (www.christopheraune.com) has aided executives from Microsoft, PepsiCo, NCR and other companies, and churches.

Massive research: I read several different versions of the Bible, and compared the same verse between different versions .... I found that the English versions often didn’t agree with each other. So, since I was already an Air Force linguist, I took a college course in ancient Greek, and I went back to the original writings. Then, I read commentaries from university professors who know a lot more than I do. I took other courses about how the Bible came to be, the history of the early church, and how the Old Testament leads to the New Testament. I did word studies, and figured out how the original authors used individual Greek words in different books of the Bible.

Why area residents should read the book: People want to know what Jesus really teaches. Did you know there are 41,000 denominations? Combine that with religion getting involved in politics, and that’s a lot of confusion.

Spiritual leader: I was a volunteer youth minister and religious education director through the last 10 years of my Air Force career. Then I was a paid youth minister at St. Louis Catholic Church locally. Then I joined the Batesville Vineyard Community Church and eventually served as an elder. And I was an interim pastor for a brief period out of state.

Unaffiliated: I belong to God, and I follow Jesus. I don’t even like to be called a Christian because that brings to mind some Hollywood singer with a platinum cross dangling from a gold chain around his neck or some loudmouth preaching hellfire and damnation. I have been attending a couple of churches, but I haven’t settled anywhere lately.

How I met my wife: I was a staff sergeant newly stationed at Osan Air Base, South Korea. The walls of my room were still gray-painted cinder block with nothing on them, so I went shopping. After four hours, I gave up and was headed back to base. Just outside the front gate, I noticed a little lane off to my left and a little sign for an art shop. Since I had looked everywhere else, this was my last hope. I went into the shop and picked out four paintings, all done by Chi. The next Saturday, we went to a little patio restaurant by a lake and an orchard, and that was the beginning of a beautiful relationship! We’ve been married 30 years as of September.

My foreign languages: Spanish, Czechoslovakian, German and Korean. I haven’t used them in decades, so I doubt I could speak any of them anymore. I don’t speak Greek either, but my familiarity with how languages are built and how they express culture has been handy in researching the book.

Exploring vegetarianism: I’ve been eating a diet of more than 80 percent veggies since the 1990s .... I’m trying to adapt to a completely whole-food, plant-based diet because research shows that it is associated with remarkably lower levels of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Spare-time reading: Books about the connection between cutting-edge science and spirituality. I really want to do this healing thing that Jesus taught.

Other pastimes: Meditation, writing and gardening so I can use fresh herbs and veggies in my cooking.

Future fun: Chi and I want to travel around America in an RV. As I do that, I want to visit pastors and speak to them to encourage them and their ministry teams.

Greatest challenges in life: In the past, surviving childhood plus 20 years in the Air Force and keeping my sanity. Going forward, making the kingdom of heaven visible on earth, and getting into eternal life. I want to fly into heaven so fast that a bunch of people get sucked in on my wake.

Proudest achievements: My family, my Air Force career and the book all rate high. But I get my greatest joy from helping people get that “Eureka!” experience or when an organization suddenly “clicks” and everybody knows they’re on a team with a common goal. Those are always very powerful experiences, and I want to do it again and again.