A thorough overview of the war that rages in the cosmos - a reality usually depicted by mythological passages in the scriptures - and its implications...moreA thorough overview of the war that rages in the cosmos - a reality usually depicted by mythological passages in the scriptures - and its implications for existence as we know it.(less)
Twenty clear days a year-that sounds about like my life. I think I see what's really going on about that often. The rest of the time, it feels like fo...moreTwenty clear days a year-that sounds about like my life. I think I see what's really going on about that often. The rest of the time, it feels like fog, like the bathroom mirror after a hot shower. You know what I mean. What exactly are you perfectly clear on these days? How about your life? Why have things gone the way they have? Where was God in all that? And do you know what you ought to do next, with a deep, settled confidence that it will work out? Neither do I. Oh, I'd love to wake each morning knowing exactly who I am and where God is taking me. Zeroed in on all my relationships, undaunted in my calling. It's awesome when I do see. But for most of us, life seems more like driving along with a dirty windshield and then turning into the sun. I can sort of make out the shapes ahead, and I think the light is green.
When Spillane (The Perfect Storm) treats injured seamen offshore, one of the first things he evaluates is their degree of consciousness.
The highest level, known as "alert and oriented times four," describes almost everyone in an everyday situation. They know who they are, where they are, what time it is, and what's just happened. If someone suffers a blow to the head, the first thing they lose is recent events-"alert and oriented times three"-and the last thing they lose is their identity. A person who has lost all levels of consciousness, right down to their identity, is said to be "alert and oriented times zero."
When John Spillane wakes up in the water, he is alert and oriented times zero. His understanding of the world is reduced to the fact that he exists, nothing more. Almost simultaneously, he understands that he is in excruciating pain. For a long time, that is all he knows. (less)
KEY QUOTE: “Instead of trying to build a house church, learn to love one another and share one another’s journey. Who is he asking you to walk alongsid...moreKEY QUOTE: “Instead of trying to build a house church, learn to love one another and share one another’s journey. Who is he asking you to walk alongside right now and how can you encourage them? I love it when brothers and sisters choose to be intentional in sharing God’s life together in a particular season. So, yes, experiment with community together. You’ll learn a lot. Just avoid the desire to make it contrived, exclusive, or permanent. Relationships don’t work that way.”
OTHER QUOTES: “Most of what we call ‘church’ today are nothing more than well-planned performances with little actual connection between believers. Believers are encouraged toward a growing dependency on the system or its leadership rather than on Jesus himself. We spend more energy conforming behavior to what the institution needs rather than helping people be transformed at the foot of the cross!”
“My favorite expression of body life is where a local group of people chooses to walk together for a bit of the journey by cultivating close friendships and learning how to listen to God together.”
“By providing services to keep people coming, [an institution] unwittingly becomes a distraction to real spiritual life. It offers an illusion of spirituality in highly orchestrated experiences, but it cannot show people how to live each day in him through the real struggles of life.”
“The more organization you bring to church life, the less life it will contain.”
“As long as we see church life as a meeting we’ll miss its reality and its depth. If the truth were told, the Scriptures tell us very little about how the early church met. It tells us volumes about how they shared life together. They didn’t see the church as a meeting or an institution, but as a family living under Father.”
“Any human system will eventually dehumanize the very people it seeks to serve and those it dehumanizes the most are those who think they lead it.”
“[God’s wrath at the cross] wasn’t an expression of the punishment sin deserves; it was the antidote for sin and shame.”
“Religious systems prey on people’s insecurity. They haven’t learned how to live in Father’s love, to follow his voice and depend on him.”
“Fellowship happens where people share the journey of knowing Jesus together. It consists of open, honest sharing, genuine concern about one another’s spiritual well being and encouragement for people to follow Jesus however he leads them.”(less)
One of the best, most gracious responses to questions raised about the legitimacy of faith in God as a worldview. He addresses the claims of Dawkins (...moreOne of the best, most gracious responses to questions raised about the legitimacy of faith in God as a worldview. He addresses the claims of Dawkins ("The God Delusion") and Hitchens ("God Is Not Great") with precision and tact.
In the first seven chapters Keller looks at seven of the most common objections and doubts about Christianity and discerns the alternate beliefs underlying each of them. This section is titled “The Leap of Doubt” and answers these seven common critiques:
1. There can’t be just one true religion 2. A good God could not allow suffering 3. Christianity is a straitjacket 4. The church is responsible for so much injustice 5. A loving God would not send people to hell 6. Science has disproved Christianity 7. You can’t take the Bible literally
In the second half of the book, titled “The Reasons for Faith,” he turns to an examination of seven reasons to believe in the claims of the Christian faith:
1. The clues of God 2. The knowledge of God 3. The problem of sin 4. Religion and the gospel 5. The (true) story of the cross 6. The reality of the resurrection 7. The Dance of God (less)
"It is not just that the term inerrancy is not used in the Bible. That would not settle anything. The point to remember is that the category of inerra...more"It is not just that the term inerrancy is not used in the Bible. That would not settle anything. The point to remember is that the category of inerrancy as used today is quite a technical one and difficult to define exactly. It is postulated of the original texts of Scripture not now extant; it is held not to apply to round numbers, grammatical structures, incidental details in texts; it is held to be unfalsifiable except by some indisputable argument. Once we recall how complex a hypothesis inerrancy is, it is obvious that the Bible teaches no such thing explicitly. What it claims, as we have seen, is divine inspiration and a general reliability, with a distinct concentration upon the covenantal revelation of God. . . . Why, then do scholars insist that the Bible does claim total inerrancy? I can only answer for myself, as one who argued in this way a few years ago. I claimed the Bible taught total inerrancy because I hoped that it did–I wanted it to. How would it be possible to maintain a firm stand against religious liberalism unless one held firmly to total inerrancy?" (page 58)(less)
The concern driving this book is that far too many contemporary evangelical Christians have succumbed to what sociologists of religion call "folk reli...moreThe concern driving this book is that far too many contemporary evangelical Christians have succumbed to what sociologists of religion call "folk religion" - more specifically "folk Christianity." It's a badly distorted version of Christianity that thrives on cliches and slogans while resisting reflection and examination. This "folk Christianity" too often denigrates the life of the mind and especially critical thinking. It revolves around cute, comfortable, or trite sayings that are found church signs, bumper stickers, and, most recently, internet stories. All too often contemporary popular Christianity leads people to think that spirituality and hard thinking stand in conflict with one another.
This has ultimately reduced Christianity (in most parts of the U.S.) to the social status of astrology - good for a pick-me-up or maybe a little encouragement to do something worthwhile - but left to the margins when it comes to real, substantive input on the issues of life.
The antidote: REFLECTIVE CHRISTIANITY (the opposite of folk Christianity)
Ultimately reflective Christianity involves questioning what and why you believe while continuing to believe what you are questioning.(less)