Wednesday, January 21, 2009

new books

at the national youth workers' conference in pittsburgh last fall, i was able to hear a lot of great pastors, writers, theologians, etc teach in seminars and in general sessions.  two who stuck with me were margaret feinberg and phyllis tickle.

at the conference, i bought one of margaret feinberg's books: the organic god.  loved it.  if i had to pick an author that i'd love to sit down and have coffee with, she might be the one.  her basic question is "Why do you love jesus?"  now think about that for a few seconds...
it's much harder than you anticipate.  i can think of all the proofs, 
examples, reasons that god (and therefore jesus) love me, and i can think
 of reasons why i worship him... but love him?  that opens up an entirely different picture of jesus all of the sudden.  what i liked about this book was it took you back to some of the basic characteristics of god and who he is.  check it out... i'm hopefully going to start reading another book by her soon.  (sacred echoes)

next interesting book i just finished: the great emergence by phyllis tickle.  
this one is probably a bit more polarizing than my other choice.  her premise is that we are in the middle of a semi-millenial "rummage sale" by the church.  when it's over, we'll have a new expression of the church as we know it, as well as a re-formed and re-traditioned version of the church that 
we previously knew (in this case, protestantism and roman catholicism).  i appreciated how she looked at seemingly unrelated cultural phenomena and pointed out how they have changed the church over the past century.  from inventions such as the automobile, to philosophies ab
out life and the soul: all of them have (in some way) affected christianity.  the other thing i appreciated was that she didn't make a judgment about whether or not this "emergence" is wrong or right in culture or in the church.  simply that it is, and as a church we will have to learn how to understand what it will be and how it will affect christianity as we know it.  
am i an "emergent" or an "emerging christian?"  (because these apparently have different meanings, though i'm still unclear on the difference).  maybe?  probably?  i'm not exactly sure, though i do feel that my theology and my practice of religion tend to be a blend of denominations and practices.  do i believe in the authority of scripture?  
yes.  do i believe that faith alone saves?  yes.  but do i also believe that we need to be the living embodiment of jesus's teachings?  yes... and if that puts me in the category of "social justice" christians, then so be it.  do i have liturgical leanings?  at times, yes.  based on my very limited understanding of this "emergence," i probably fit, as i can't clearly be categorized in one "quadrant" of the north american christian map.  (see the image, taken from her book).

anyone else have any thoughts on books for me to read? :-D

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