The latest book, from Peter Rollins, is the crescendo of his work so far. Reading this book helped me put all his works, so far, into focus. I highlyThe latest book, from Peter Rollins, is the crescendo of his work so far. Reading this book helped me put all his works, so far, into focus. I highly recommend his prior books, especially The Orthodox Heretic.
The Idolatry of God exposes the “if only” Gospel presented by most churches today. God is just another product offered to the masses as a solution for life. Promoted, advertised and consumed by Christians as the fulfillment to all our desires.
“Whether people accept the idea of God or reject it, they seem to be talking about the same thing; a being who satisfies our soul by filling the gap in our existence.” Pg 23
He goes on to write, “By misunderstanding the nature of faith, they turn the good news of Christianity into the bad news of Idol worship. By claiming that God is the way to fill this gap, they reduce the divine to the level of a product.” Pg 27
In the book, Rollins redefines God, original sin, church, belief, the meaning of Jesus’ death and a whole host of other long held assumptions of the Christian faith.
One of the main critiques in the book is our insistence that Jesus came to fulfill us. “But there is another, more radical form of freedom hinted at in the Gospels- not the freedom to pursue what we believe will satisfy us, but the freedom from the pursuit of what we believe will satisfy us.” Pg 80
“Christianity does not offer a salvation that operates within this framework, but instead opens up the possibility of a salvation from this frame.” Pg 87
The book is broken up into three distinct sections; the Old Creation, the New Creation and the New Collective. It lays out the critique in the first section, develops an alternative in the second section and finally shows how these ideas can be fleshed out in a practical setting.
The Idolatry of God, is a deep reflection on what a majority of Christians believe and how our beliefs build up, not tear down, our dissatisfaction and difficulty in life. It’s a poignant and much needed critique on modern Christianity. It will challenge your faith and that is a good thing. I highly recommend The Idolatry of God for anyone who is serious about theological reflection or anyone who is interested in progressive forms of Christianity....more
Many of us are aware of the clean drinking water crisis in the world today. Millions of people in the world don’t have access to clean drinking waterMany of us are aware of the clean drinking water crisis in the world today. Millions of people in the world don’t have access to clean drinking water and with that come a whole host of issues. How as concerned people who want to love our neighbors teach others about these issues. For many of us we blog about it, we contribute, we promote causes within our circle of family and friends, we might talk about it at church but what do we tell children?
Well author Ariah Fine has written a children’s book to help. It is called Clean Water for Elirose and it is pitch perfect! It is simple, concise and to the point. The best part about children’s books is that you read them over and over. For many this causes nightmares but what if there were more children’s books that reminded us of the mission of the church. Not only that but allowed us to share those values to the kids in our lives. What if that began a conversation about what you could do as a family to help Elirose? That’s doing Kingdom work!...more
It’s not what you think. The title causes someone to think of some sort of name it and claim it gospel or a how to guAnything You Want by Derek Sivers
It’s not what you think. The title causes someone to think of some sort of name it and claim it gospel or a how to guide to accumulate mass amounts of whatever you want. Derek Sivers is behind one of the most important lessons on leadership on the web. Derek was also the brains behind a company called CD baby. These are lessons that he learned from that experience. This comes a business background so some of this is not applicable to church leadership but lots of it is.
If you are wanting a little taste of his ideas I would check out Anything You Want cartoons. Most of the thoughts or ideas come in compact antidotes. I really appreciated the succint details of his ideas. It’s a quick read which is also nice especially for someone like me that can’t stand most books on business or leadership.
Some of the high points for me is his philosophy of Hell Yeah or No! If you are not saying Hell Yeah about something choose to say no. I posted the video on this on my blog a few months back. Hell Yeah or No.
“Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently doing what’s not.”
I love this! The Church is notorious for continuing to do things as usual hoping for different results. We should be innovative! This goes along with the next quote…
“You can’t pretend there’s only one way to do it. Your first idea is just on of many options. No business goes as planned, so make ten radically different plans.”
There are 100′s of ways to do church. Let’s not get hung up on just one way.
“In the end, it’s about what you want to be, not what you want to have.”
This quote says it all…Does the church you lead or attend focus more on what it wants to be or what it wants to have? I see so many churches focus on what it wants to have and generally that means more people. I love having more people at events, small groups, worship, serving but what I really want is that whom ever we have to be about loving God, self and neighbor.
Finally, I like his approach to delegating responsibility.
1. Gather everybody around
2. Answer the questions and explain the philosophy.
3. Make sure everyone understands the thought process.
4. Ask one person to write it in the manual.
5. Let everybody know they can decide this without me next time.
He went from having to answer every question from every employee to having everyone able to answer most questions in two months. I think the church needs less point persons and more everybody is in the know. It’s frustrating in meetings when no one knows anything and the one person who does is not there. What if we all the spent the time to invest in one another and start doing less of everyone and more of that one or two things that gives us life....more
If you were to do some fine tuning most Christians would have something that would act as the filter for everything they believe, say, and do. It woulIf you were to do some fine tuning most Christians would have something that would act as the filter for everything they believe, say, and do. It would be the main motivating factor for their faith. You do a little digging and some of the most hateful Christians filter is based on fear or guilt. You might find in some of the liberal factions their faith is filtered through rejection of the fear or guilt based faith. Some filter it through the Old Testament law or the words of Paul. Of course many do so through the words and actions of Jesus but ask those people what he said and you might find many different interpretations. It's more than an a hermeneutical lens. It is the base for everything.
Grace is the filter for Jay Bakker. Fall to Grace: A Revolution of God, Self, and Society is Jay's life ran through the filter of Grace. Years ago I read Son of a Preacher Man so I already knew a bit about Jay. Years have gone by and it's amazing to see how someone who could have packed it in and said good riddance to faith is carrying the torch of grace of Christ despite how the faith has treated him.
This book hasn't broken new ground on the subject of grace. That is a good thing. Many readers will find this book restoring, renewing, and reinvigorated long held beliefs about faith. This will also introduce the filter of grace to many whom have either given up on faith or on the edge. Fall to Grace is filled with good news! Good news that has been lost within the rhetoric of church dogma for centuries.
As I was reading this book I couldn't help but think about the youth culture Christianity has cultivated. Thousands of youth groups built on the premise that love is conditional. Don't drink, smoke, cuss, have sex, masturbate, watch moves ( unless it's left-behind), listen to secular music (even though most of the Christian music industry is trying to sound secular) and God will love you. Ugh! We are raising generation after generation of self-righteous, bible-thumping, hate mongering Christ followers. It's awful. It produces false ideas of what faith is about and causes many to deny their faith when they get out from under the oppressive rule of those groups. I hope every youth minister finds time to read Fall to Grace. If they could begin cultivating a culture based solely on grace...talk about results!!
One of my favorite ideas in the book is GracePlus.
"Grace Plus argues that we're truly saved only if "little rules" are tagged onto the end of receiving grace. This works in subtle and dangerous ways." Pg 62
I've seen this in my life. Many times I catch myself knowing of the love and freedom that I accepted long ago in Christ only to attach to that "well only if I don't do this or that." It's hard to shake that filter of guilt or fear no matter how long you haven't believed in it.
I hope Fall to Grace is read far and wide. It's a much needed voice in Christendom today. I'm sure many will find it hard to read the last few chapters. Jay uses the filter of grace to share his views on homosexuality. There will be readers who won't take his words seriously because they have already made their mind up on that. I hope that's not the case. This book deserves to be read by all who proclaim to follow Christ. Leave your judgment for after the book. Besides the book is not a treaty of homosexuality but on grace. Fall to Grace is a firm reminder that Grace is central to a strong and mature faith....more
I’ve had this book on my shelf for over 2 years now. I went to an emerging church gathering a few years ago in Memphis, TN. There, the author of takeI’ve had this book on my shelf for over 2 years now. I went to an emerging church gathering a few years ago in Memphis, TN. There, the author of take this bread, Sara Miles was there. I heard only briefly about her story but everyone there raved about her book. So, I got a copy but haven’t read one page until this week. I’m kicking myself now!
Take this bread is a beautiful memoir. It is funny, it is challenging but most of all it is honest. Sara pulls no punches when speaking about her life. From the days of her idealistic atheism through her transformation as a “religious-nut”,from being a non classically trained chef, to war reporting, to feeding anyone and everyone she is honest about who she was, is and becoming.
Her grandparents were missionaries and her parents ran as far away from that life as possible. Sara grew up with no religious curiosity to speak of. So for her to stumble into a church, receive communion and for that to begin her journey towards faith in Jesus is fascinating to read. Her thoughts on the eucharist will make you rethink your ideas on what communion is and is not.
For some this will be a difficult read. It will challenge their assumptions about whom can claim to be a Christian and her openness will certainly turn some people off. If you can get past those ideals you will find a beautiful memoir for one I hight recommend. One of my favorite books now!...more
A story of a young (well sort of) man whom bottoms out is forced to move back to his hometown and live with his mother. Peter QuA review for SpeakEasy
A story of a young (well sort of) man whom bottoms out is forced to move back to his hometown and live with his mother. Peter Quill is wasting away in his mother’s house beating himself up with regret until he begins to dream. I don’t mean dream like some metaphor but really Peter begins to have these vivid dreams. The thing is these dreams begin to come true. One after another Peter dreams become a reality. They start off just helping one person but by the end of the story Peter’s dreams will have ramifications for the whole city and beyond.
Personally, I found myself resonating with Peter. I don’t have prophetic dreams but like Peter I’m 31 and living in Nashville. If you have lived in Nashville or around the area you will recognize quickly that some of these prophetic dreams were actually events in Tennessee over the last several years. It was interesting how the author weaved these events into the narrative. I found myself taken back to those events and all that happened during those times.
The majority of the book is focused on Peter’s prophetic dreams and the effect it has on all the people in his life. His mother is extremely proud that her son is a modern prophet. His longtime pastor Dan is gushing with pride and it doesn’t hurt church attendance to have a prophet at his disposal. A popular Christian music artist Jordan Stone is a bit skeptical of Peter and his so called gift from God. A local pastor is calling Peter a false prophet. There are numerous other people that don’t know what to make of Peter and his prophetic visions.
The questions of modern day prophecy are difficult to answer. I do believe that the gift of prophecy still exists but unfortunately most of the folks whom claim this gift use it to scare people or bribe people or both. The preachers, teachers and prophets of this era seem to spend more time prophecy when the end of earth will come or how you can get a bigger house or car. I assume most people would have a hard time accepting a modern day prophet, especailly if this modern day prophet is just some slacker in his 30′s living with his Mom.
The social issues that are tackled in the book are done so respectfully without getting too preachy. In fact, one exchange between Peter, a man name Victor and a waitress at a diner is particularly stood out to me. I like how both sides get their say and both are warranted. Another one involves a shouting match at church using texts from Leviticus. Who wouldn’t want to see a shouting match using Leviticus!
I don’t read a lot of fiction. I don’t know why it’s just not something I choose to read. This to me didn’t read like a lot of fiction novels, mostly because of my closeness to a lot of the actually events in this book. This would be a great read for a book club or a small group. There are lots of thoughts and ideas that could provide lots of great discussion....more