Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A book a day November 21

Very tired today after a late night coming back from London. This morning had lots to say but have lost energy to say it due to meetings and assembly at the local school, i also have a meeting tonight so I might leave what I was going to say until another day.

So I thought I would go ahead and post my book for today, its another of the ones that have been hanging around in the sidebar for ages, and by the end of the month i do plan to change them all! But even though it has had a tacit plug by being in my sidebar, I think I'll say a bit more about it because it is the book that we have chosen next for our 'book club'.

Brian McLaren infuriates some, and works others into an almost idolatrous frenzy. I happily fall between the two. I do like his style, and I think he is saying some valuable things to the Church and about Christian faith in general. In a society where any kind of spirituality seems valid, or at least that's the impression that is given, McLaren is actually unafraid to say 'this is what Christian's believe' - though his interpretation of how that works out into everyday Christian life may be different from both Conservative and Liberal critics...

The Secret Message of Jesus sounds a bit like a sequel to the DaVinci code, and in a way the title is perhaps trying to grab the attention of the kind of audience who go for that kind of thing. The whole secret of the secret message is that it's not a secret! There's no taking every third letter from every twenty sentences of the Gospel of Luke and making up a message like 'I am very clever and send me all your money' as previous writers have done.... The reason McLaren talks of the secret message is that the Church (and by this he doesn't single out any one denomination or tradition or theological persuasion) is quite good, exceptional even, at hiding the message of Jesus, a message of the Kingdom of God, a message which is disturbing, exciting, confusing, simple and complex all at once. Though not a perfect writer or theologian (and as an equally or even more imperfect writer and theologian I am allowed to say that) McLaren points the reader in the right direction and encourages us all to think again about what Jesus actually said and did and why we are so good at avoiding the sometimes uncomfortable truth of Jesus message even as we claim to follow him.

Even if you don't agree with any of it, this book is a good read in order to get you thinking about Jesus and the core values of Christian faith. A faith founded not on doctrine or church or tradition, or even on the Bible, but a faith founded on and rooted in Jesus Christ himself.

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