Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fifteen books ~ #5 ~ Honest to God

Continuing my series on "fifteen books that will always stick with me," #5 in alphabetical order is Honest to God by John A. T. Robinson, 1963.

I read this book nearly four decades ago, and its freshness and honesty was like opening a window and being able to take a deep breath. It showed me a new way of thinking about God and religion. It falls between the books Your God Is Too Small by J. B. Phillips and The Heart of Christianity by Marcus J. Borg.
Phillips came up with a list of inadequate god-concepts we hold, such as Resident Policeman, Parental Hangover, Grand Old Man, Meek-and-Mild, Managing Director, and Pale Galilean.

Borg points out two ways of being Christian: an earlier paradigm concerned with right beliefs and an emerging paradigm which focuses more on transformation.
Robinson, who was Bishop of Woolwich (England) when this book was published in 1963, was as dismayed as I am about the vehemence (which shows the insecurity) of those who feel they must defend God and their faith against anyone who disagrees with them. God doesn't need to be defended, but I very much needed a way to evaluate things I'd been told all my life were not only important, but required of me. This was one of the early signposts that helped me sort the worthwhile ideas from the hollow words, the clearly life-affirming wheat from the worthless chaff.  I highly recommend this book.

Rated: 10 of 10, couldn't put it down.

No comments: