"Am I a Christian?" What a strange question for an ordained minister of the gospel to ask.Yes, it's a strange question, but I'm interested in reading the book because of the contents, as shown by these chapter headings:
1. Jesus the Teacher, Not the SaviorI wrote about this book when it arrived in the mail in March. It's dedicated to me.
2. Faith as Being, Not Belief
3. The Cross as Futility, Not Forgiveness
4. Easter as Presence, Not Proof
5. Original Blessing, Not Original Sin
6. Christianity as Compassion, Not Condemnation
7. Discipleship as Obedience, Not Observance
8. Justice as Covenant, Not Control
9. Prosperity as Dangerous, Not Divine
10. Religion as Relationship, Not Righteousness
"I dedicate this book to all the men and women who have chosen the parish ministry as their life's work, and yet do not wish to be considered harmless artifacts from another age. May all those who labor in the most misunderstood, dangerous, and sublime of all professions be encouraged and inspired by the possibility that one's head and one's heart can be equal partners in faith. Lest the church end up a museum piece whose clergy are affable but laughable cartoons, we must once again dedicate ourselves to this wild calling — one that led us away from more comfortable lives and into the only profession where radical truth-telling is part of the job description. May we fear no man and no creed, save our own timidity, and may we encourage and support one another in pursuit of religion that is biblically responsible, intellectually honest, emotionally satisfying, and socially significant."With people like the Westboro Baptist Church haters out there, the good done over the years by socially-minded churches (founding hospitals and colleges, feeding and clothing the poor, advocating for civil rights) is often overlooked and anyone labeled "Christian" lumped in the pool of ignorance with literalists and bigots. That's not where I stand, and I don't have time to be timid.
Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.
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