It's always nice to find someone articulately saying what I've been feeling for a long time. This served as one of those reminders and wake up calls tIt's always nice to find someone articulately saying what I've been feeling for a long time. This served as one of those reminders and wake up calls that my seminary education was important, but that it is only one part of a devoted life. McManus' call to battle is full of the references to Braveheart and Celtic culture that dominated so many Christian works of the early 2000s, but those things rang true for me then and they ring true for me now. My hope for my own faith and for my church is less institution and more Jesus; fewer boundaries and more journeys, and less respectability and more rabble rousing. McManus' book is a call that Jesus is already doing those things as well....more
If you're in the class, no need to read the book. Ramsey's writing style is just like his speaking style - folksy, straight forward and everything herIf you're in the class, no need to read the book. Ramsey's writing style is just like his speaking style - folksy, straight forward and everything here is good. It's just a straight re-hash of the class...more
I've never felt quite at home in Western, Evangelical and Protestant Christianity. And what I've come to pin that too is a general discomfort with theI've never felt quite at home in Western, Evangelical and Protestant Christianity. And what I've come to pin that too is a general discomfort with the idea that an idealized Christian life is merely an intellectual ascent to a set of ideas, that if you believe the right things you'll be the right kind of person and so on. Which history bears out as absolute nonsense.
When I encounter works like this, I'm refreshed at the simplicity and depth of the work, and the ideas presented here. The disciplines of prayer and suffering and thankfulness and humility that Bro. Lawerence are advancing are far and away more important than developing the best and proper doctrine, or leadership style or emergent blah blah blah.
If only church leaders and seminarians ewe required to read, meditate and develop plans to walk like this book advises......more
Look, Brueggeman is brilliant. I've seen him speak. I've gotten to talk to him. I've been amazed at his insightI think the world needs more tension.
Look, Brueggeman is brilliant. I've seen him speak. I've gotten to talk to him. I've been amazed at his insight his shrewdness and his ability to say things that are flat inflammatory with a smile and a nod and really push an audience past there need to argue with him and just to think about what he said and what they believe.
So when I encountered that in "Praying the Psalms" I wasn't surprised. It's why I went to him for my study of the Psalms. But the thing that stands out to me about this work is just how comfortable Brueggeman is in leaving his audience - and I assume he himself doing the same - in tension that exists within the Biblical text that simply cannot be explained away. And I love it that he explicitly says not to explain it away.
The entire book is brilliant. I just finished Wright's "A Case for the Psalms" and this book was entirely different - it's upper level framework stuff, things to build into your brain so that when you go to read the Psalms little nuggets can pop up when you read them and think, "oh yeah, that!" Brueggeman's best work in this book is the last two chapters where he deals squarely with ideas of vengeance and God and our sanitized religion and how non-Jewish so much Christian reading of the psalms is. I'll go read that chapter 3 more times this week and let it just sink in and begin to inform my thinking in a ton of areas.
Buy this book. It's brilliant. Own it and underline it and copy it and then do that every year. ...more
I fan boy over Wright's stuff so just get over that.
I think every Christian - and every pastor - should go out and read this book right now. The devoI fan boy over Wright's stuff so just get over that.
I think every Christian - and every pastor - should go out and read this book right now. The devotional work you're reading? set it aside. The crap on the culture wars? Burn that and never go back to it. While this book IS about the Psalms, the psalms are here a transport to another location. Wright's bigger purpose here is to discuss the nature of world views and how particularly to develop a worldview that keeps us in line with the historical and orthodox church. His main thesis is that the Psalms are the book that lead to David's worldview and lead to Jesus' worldview and drove Paul's worldview, and so if we wish to be inline with them, we should use the Psalms to do the same thing.
I can't see anything wrong with that line of logic.
He takes to task - to gently in my opinion - the crap that passes for "Christian" music today precisely because it has abandoned the Psalms and as such has abandoned the worldview that created their belief system in the first place. Wright's work here elevates Christians past all the nonsense going on in American culture wars and begs us to return to that which has always been there for us.
Along the way he offers up a helpful framework for this worldview and uses the Psalms to illustrate it.
There are times when you find a scholar who, in an instant, forces you to rethink everything you've already known, reimagine what you assumed and rewrThere are times when you find a scholar who, in an instant, forces you to rethink everything you've already known, reimagine what you assumed and rewrite everything you've written. Brueggeman is that for me in the Old Testament (just as N.T. Wright is that for me in the New). It wasn't that i was wrong before - I probably was on the track that Brueggeman has laid down, it's just that I was so completely inadequate. My understanding of the OT texts was black and white, and Brueggeman's explanations and scholarly work pushes them towards hi-def.
I don't like John Piper. I mean, obviously, I don't know the man, and I've never met him. But his book on N.T. Wright hiI'll start with a confession.
I don't like John Piper. I mean, obviously, I don't know the man, and I've never met him. But his book on N.T. Wright highlighted some fairly major presuppositions that he and I disagree on, and his childishness in regards to the Rob Bell fiasco just left a bad taste in my mouth.
But I'm fasting this Lent, and I really needed something to read to move fasting into a more profound level for me, and not just being hungry and irritated for days at a time, and Piper's work kept coming up in searches. And so after multiple times of looking elsewhere, I settled on on this one.
And I really enjoyed it - enough that I finished it in a day. Particularly chapters 1-4 are fantastic, and an entirely new line of thought for me. Piper focuses on Fasting as various things, but mostly as a way of showing God that you desire God above all things (I assume this is a continuation of his theme in Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist which I think is his big work). As I read it I learned new things, and I was exploring an aspect of my relationship with God that I hadn't before. For someone like me, a novice at best quotes like this were tremendously true as Piper talked about fasting
In other words, Jesus’ disciples will fast; but the fasting they have known is not suitable for the new reality of his presence and the inbreaking kingdom of God.
In Piper's "new fasting" there isn't any magic or any sort of manipulation of God (he goes out of his way, multiple times, to ensure this), but rather that fasting, like everything else within conservative evangelicalism, is only a response to God's actions, only a way to participate in what God is already doing. The book divides into two sections, what Piper calls inner and outer dimensions of fasting, and maybe this is due to my own personal philosophies and interests or needs, but those first 4 chapters on the "inner" work of fasting were really powerful for me.
He lost me in the 2nd half of the book; part of it was his "application" chapter which talked about how fasting can impact current political situations like abortion. I get his background, etc, but his presuppositions about "them," whether it's people who are pro-choice or people who have a different world-view than him, or whatever, can be really ugly. He does not make any sort of attempt to understand people who differ with him - whether it's theologically or politically - and just jumps immediately to using fasting as a way to get those people to come around. I hate the combativeness of the new calvinists and of conservative evangelicals in general, and it was a shame to see it spike up at the end of the book.
Ignoring all that, however, so many Christians have abandoned the historic and orthodox practices of the faith, especially devotionally, and Piper's book is a great re-introduction to that, and needed by so many people. Following most of Piper's advice here, and more importantly buying into his main idea of making God the center of everything, would be advice every follower of Jesus can buy into, and benefit from, and more importantly benefit their world around them. ...more
"Christianity does itself a radical disservice when it appeals away from history, when it says that what matters is not what happened but 'what it mea"Christianity does itself a radical disservice when it appeals away from history, when it says that what matters is not what happened but 'what it means for me.'"
This is the most important Jesus book I've ever read. Before you think anything about him, you must start here, and ground your thoughts in who the historical Jesus was, not the caricature of Jesus whatever faith movement we have inherited has created him to be. Jesus, rooted in 1st century Judaism, properly understood, is a more powerful figure than the images of Jesus which dominate current culture....more
This is a book that's probably going to be controversial for some folks - a couple of people in class had real problems with it. So many churches andThis is a book that's probably going to be controversial for some folks - a couple of people in class had real problems with it. So many churches and pastors have never given any real thought to the process - nor the evidence - for how the bible came together, and so many of their most deeply held values that simply aren't supported by either the text nor tradition. The church needs to have a good long look at its views on inspiration, and this book is a good place to start.
He goes through a chronological telling of Israel's history, and connects different works in the OT to those time periods based on the information available to us from archeological and critical research. This is a great work if you want a framework for understanding the human element behind the OT, or even if you just want a survey from a 50,000-foot view of OT history.if nothing else, it'll give you a good start on decoding by what process you think we arrived at where we are with the OT Cannon as its presented to us today....more