Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Salon ~ adding more books

I keep adding to my collection as I study the way Christianity is changing.  UPS delivered more books this week.

The Underground Church: Reclaiming the Subversive Way of Jesus ~ by Robin R. Meyers, 2012
Meyers proposes that the faithful recapture the spirit of the early church with its emphasis on what Christians do rather than what they believe.  The best way to recapture the spirit of the early Christian church, he says, is to recognize that Jesus-following was and must be again subversive in the best sense of the word because the gospel taken seriously turns the world upside down.  No matter how the church may organize itself or worship, the defining characteristic of the church of the future will be its Jesus-inspired countercultural witness.
  • Debunks commonly held beliefs about the early church and offers a vision for the future rooted in the past.
  • Proposes that the church of the future must leave doctrinal tribalism behind and seek a unity of mission instead
A Christianity Worth Believing: Hope-Filled, Open-Armed, Alive-and-Well Faith for the Left Out, Left Behind, and Let Down in Us All ~ by Doug Pagitt, 2008
This book weaves together theological reflections, Christian history, and Pagitt's own story of faith transformation.  He tells the story of his un-churched childhood, his life-altering conversion at age sixteen, his intense involvement in the church, and his growing sense of unease with the version of Christianity he was living.  Pagitt lays out his journey toward an authentic, passionate expression of a faith that feels alive, sustainable, and meaningful.
A People's History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story ~ by Diana Butler Bass, 2009, religion
For too long, the history of Christianity has been told as the triumph of orthodox doctrine imposed through power and hierarchy. In A People's History of Christianity, historian and religion expert Diana Butler Bass reveals an alternate history that includes a deep social ethic and far-reaching inclusivity: "the other side of the story" is not a modern phenomenon, but has always been practiced within the church. Butler Bass persuasively argues that corrective—even subversive—beliefs and practices have always been hallmarks of Christianity and are necessary to nourish communities of faith.
The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why ~ by Phyllis Tickle, 2008, religion
Rooted in the observation that massive transitions in the church happen about every 500 years, Phyllis Tickle shows readers that we live in such a time right now. She compares the Great Emergence to other "Greats" in the history of Christianity, including the Great Transformation (when God walked among us), the time of Gregory the Great, the Great Schism, and the Great Reformation. Combining history, a look at the causes of social upheaval, and current events, The Great Emergence shows readers what the Great Emergence in church and culture is, how it came to be, and where it is going.
The book I've been studying this week is borrowed, and I'm trying to finish it so I can return it to my friend Larry.
Amen: What Prayer Can Mean in a World Beyond Belief ~ by Gretta Vosper, 2012

I probably wouldn't have picked this book to read, a book about prayer.  The description has this sentence, though:  "Despite what it may have meant to previous generations, prayer now holds only a symbolic place in our busy lives and the deeper kinship with community is lost in the vestments of antiquated traditions."  In Amen, Gretta Vosper, United Church of Canada minister and author of the controversial bestseller With or Without God, offers us "a new tradition built on love and respect rather than on the rituals of ancient beliefs."  Parts of it have been interesting to read.
"Yet here we are, in our religious institutions, stuck trying to say new things with all the same old words" (p. 15).
That's why I bought  Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power — and How They Can Be Restored as I told you last Sunday.  It's by Marcus J. Borg, and I look forward to reading it.  I found some interesting things in it that have nothing to do with prayer, like this about a bumper sticker:

"Christian historian Diana Butler Bass ... drives a car with a 'Coexist' bumper sticker, each of the letters formed from the symbol of a different religion" (p. 27).  I have the same bumper sticker on my car.  This is what it looks like.
Can you name what these symbols represent?  The "+" at the end is a cross and represents Christianity.

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Helen's Book Blog said...

I love that you are really delving into a topic that you are so interested in. When I have that, I read a few books then need to move on to something else,then come back to it later

Beth said...

I love the title of the first book, Bonnie. Jesus really was a radical, wasn't he?

Love the bumper sticker, too!

Jan said...

I just noticed that I have that book by Bass and haven't read it yet. Story of my life!!