In With The Old

oldbook

Rob Bell is coming out with a new book at the end of this month. There’s been quite the buzz over the past week. There are some who are concerned that Bell is now a universalist while others are concerned that labels are being applied without first reading the book.

I have a different problem….

.there are just too many books. 

I like Rob Bell. I like his video series. I used to listen to his sermons via MP3s while driving in the car. But I’ve only read one book, Velvet Elvis. In fact, a friend and I did a podcast reviewing the book. The other books either didn’t interest me, or I thought they were too expensive for the content (that’s another issue however).

Anyway, I actually have a new problem now…I just not that interested. Over the past few years I have grown dissatisfied with types of books being published. I’m sure there are some very good books, but who has the time to read through them to discover which ones are good? I don’t. A lot of the books being published can be read through in a few hours. They are very ‘consumer’ oriented. They are meant to be consumed; read, marked up, discussed, and then put on a shelf. I’m tired of the consumer book.

It could just be me though. Perhaps it is how I approach reading. It seems, however, that books that were the ‘hit’ five or ten years ago aren’t that big of a hit now. We have moved on. But why? Why is the shelf life so short?

I find I am being drawn to books that have been around for a while. If a book that is over three hundred years old is still being published, there is probably a reason. I want to know why. Books by St. Augustine, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, John Wesley, John Cassian, etc. are not, in my opinion, easy reads. They are deep. They are thick. They have substance. Some I have read more than once and there are still depths left to explore.

Someone gave me the advice that for every new book you read make sure to read an old one. That is good advice. Be forewarned….you might find that as you read the old books you loose the desire for the new ones.

Jesus Died for This? Review (Kind of)

A couple of months ago I saw Becky Garrison offer her new book (Jesus Died for This?: A Satirist's Search for the Risen Christ )to anyone who was willing to blog about it. I try to get a free book anytime I can. That's how I roll. Anyway, I didn't know much about Becky Garrison other than for some reason I had friended her on Facebook. She was friends of some of my friends (mostly authors I like) and I figured I might as well add her to the mix. At the time I didn't know that she was a writer for the The Wittenburg D

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oor (or simply, The Door) or a religious satirist.

Since I didn't know much about Becky, I knew she knew absolutely nothing about me. So I sent her a message on Facebook along with my address, she responded, and graciously sent me a book a few weeks later. What I didn't 

know was how chaotic my life would become. What I had hoped would be a couple week turnaround to read the book and blog about it has taken me a couple of months. Nevertheless, here is the review.

I didn't know what to expect when I started reading the book. To be honest, I didn't like it at first. I guess it was the satire that was rubbing me the wrong way. Garrison says what she thinks and sometimes it isn't inline with cultural Christianity sensitivities. Now, I have no trouble with satire and I expected it based on the front cover (it is also what caused me to want to read the book). But sometimes I had to pause wondering if she didn't take things a bit too far. At times it seemed like she had a chip on her shoulder or was a bit angry…but who isn't a bit angry when it comes to how we, as Christians, sometimes live out out faith.

Another issue for me was the chapters didn't seem to be leading me anywhere. I kept thinking it was some type of travel log. I tend to read non-fiction books and I think I simply wasn't use to the genre being used. A couple of times, because of my schedule, I didn't want to continue reading it.

That being said, I'm glad I stuck with it. The issues I had with the book were my own issues. As I continued reading the book I realized this book was different from most of the ones I usually read. She was leading me somewhere, but I couldn't see it. As I continued traveling with her my heart started being touched. By the end of the book my heart was burning with the desire to discover the journey God calls me to. The book, it seems, is an attempt to paint a picture of what it looks to authentically follow Jesus.

Throughout the book Becky introduces to various aspects of living the Christian life. She does this through the story of her travels. In the book she recounts individuals she meets on her journey. Some of these are well known individuals, but the power of this book is in the unknown individuals. People who are living expressions of the love of God. They do what they do not for glory or notoriety, but because the love of God is burning within them and has to be made incarnate in some way.

I highly recommend this book, however, it could challenge you and the way you live your Christian life. Garrison says what she thinks and sometimes it can have a bite to it…although you might be chuckling as you get bit! In the end, if you have ears to hear what she is saying, you might just discover the heart of God for the least and the lost.

Review: Coming Home to Your True Self by Albert Haase

Coming Home to Your True Self: Leaving the Emptiness of False Attractions by Albert Haase

Not too bad of a book. I wasn’t real impressed at first, but he does a good job of discussing the true and false self. Fairly easy to read. Perhaps the best part of the book was the last chapter which had to do with growing spiritually.

He does a pretty good job of breaking down the characteristics of the true and false self which is helpful. The book is very accessible, more so that Thomas Merton or others. Perhaps this is because he is a spiritual director and he is writing the book to people who simply want to grow in their faith.

View all my reviews >>

We Will Finally Get There

After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters

In After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters N. T. Wright states,

Jesus came to help us discover who we really are, and sometimes, as with Jesus’s first followers, it takes a while for people to figure it out, and they make mistakes as they’re doing so—but they’ll get there eventually.

I love that! As I fumble and stumble as I try to follow Jesus, I take comfort in knowing that I’ll get to where I need to be eventually…and you will too as you continue to abide in the love of God through Jesus.