Friday, June 15, 2012

Beginning ~ with a strange question

Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus ~ by Robin R. Meyers, 2009, religion
"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 Savior
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 wrote about this book when it arrived in the mail in March.  It's dedicated to me.
"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.
Click here for today's Mister Linky.


Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Yes, that seems to be a curious opener, but then, the chapter headings reveal more. Intriguing.


Tea said...

The beginning makes me very interested. It's not often you read a question at the very beginning of a book. I think it's a good way to begin.

JC Jones said...

This looks like it speaks to some very deep questions. Here is my post: Book Beginnings

Bev Hankins said...

Sounds very interesting. Especially after reading the chapter titles.

Here's my Friday Meme Post.

Chris Thompson said...

Looks like an interesting read. The chapters seem to address a lot of the problems people have been having with the Catholic church of late. It only takes a small minority of people to give an organization a bad name. I have talked with prominent Catholics who are much more thoughtful and open-minded than the media would have people believe.

Here's my Book Beginning.

Helen's Book Blog said...

I like the chapter titles for this one and hope it's an interesting read for you (how could it not be?)

Ryan said...

Boy oh boy am I glad there a people writing books like this and I'm very curious about this one in particular. I'm curious whether or not the author delved into the Gnostic scriptures and the writings of the early church in his research. I've always wished that more religious leaders would attempt to reconcile a the more humanistic Jesus of the rejected gospels rather than simply pretend they aren't there.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Ryan, I don't know about this book yet, but I've studied -- and even taught -- about some of the Gnostic writings, mainly the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary (Magdalene). I recommend The Complete Gospels edited by Robert J. Miller, if you want to read the Annotated Scholars Version these two gospels plus the four gospels in the New Testament. (It's "complete," so you'll find the other gospels from the first three centuries, as well.)