Someone suggested that I share about the books that I am reading. I will give this a go. I am usually in the midst of 2 or 3 books and I just finished 2 in the last few days. One I was listening to as I walk my dog in the morning, the other I actually read.
I listened to Michael Crichton's newest book: NEXT. If you have never read any of Crichton's books you really are missing out. In his introduction he makes the following statement: "This novel is fiction -- except the parts that aren't." Dan Brown, are you paying attention?
Next is the story of the growing field of genetic research that is taking place in the world. It is told in an engaging way that made me question a number of the assumptions that I have about gene therapy and the way business and universities are engaged in controlling the research and the use of potentially life saving and life altering genes. If you like a good mystery, and at the same time, want to think, Next is a great choice.
During spring break my middle daughter watched a family in the church's four pets (2 dogs, 2 cats), I guess they figured I was needed to help because they left a book for me. Rob Bell is the pastor of Mars Hill Church in Michigan -- his weekly messages are available free as a podcast on ITunes -- a couple of years ago he wrote Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith. This is a powerful book looking at Christianity through new eyes. I appreciated a lot of what he said, even if I wanted to smack him at times. He (like most of us) suffers from a inconsistent belief system. What he says on one page, he will refute on another.
A big part of why he does that has to do, I think, with the problem of language and how we tend to describe God. It is very hard for people who grew up in the church to get away from some of the outdated God language that was drilled into our heads as children. Despite that complaint, I would highly recommend this book.
Bell writes in his introduction:
For many people the word Christian conjures up all sorts of images that
have nothing to do with who Jesus is and how he taught us to live. This must
change. For others, the painting works for their parents, or it provided meaning
when they were growing up, but it is no longer relevant. It doesn't fit. It's
outdated. It doesn't have anything to do say to the world they live in every
day. It's not that there isn't any truth in it or that all the people before
them were misguided or missed the point. It's just that every generation has to
ask the difficult questions of what it means to be a Christian here and now, in
this place, at this time.
And if this difficult work isn't done, where does the painting end
In the basement.
That is exactly why I started this blog --- because I am wrestling with God, and so too are most people who are younger than me. This book is a great introduction to "progressive Christianity," I don't think he goes quite far enough, but if you read it with an open mind, it will get you thinking --- and that is the most important thing that we can do!