I love this book. It arrived yesterday and I devoured the first chapter last night after our Bible reading. Amazing. I cried on the first chapter. My friends were not kidding about this book.
I’ll just quote a couple of parts that struck several chords with me.
“I think that many of us have a hard time believing the God we being in, when the going gets tough. And I suspect that instead of seeking counsel and direction from those stronger in the Lord, we retreat into our isolation and shame and let the sin wash over us, defeating us again. Or maybe we muscle through on our pride. Do we really believe that the word of God is a double-edged sword, cutting between the spirit and the soul? Or do we use the word of God as a cue card to commandeer only our external behavior?”
My only comment… how true this is of me! “When the going gets tough”, when I recoil back into my comfort zone of selfishness, pride, and anger, instead of using the Bible as a defense, as a tool that will pierce the sin, as a consolation of God’s grace, I use it to make myself feel more on track. It’s easier than throwing myself entirely on God, easier than prying my controlling, grabbing fingers from my pride. That’s why many Christians “muscle through”… it’s easier than admitting we’re wrong to someone else. Heck, it’s easier than admitting it all to the omniscient God!
“The most memorable part of this meal was Ken’s prayer before the meal. I had never heard anyone pray to God as if God cared, as if God listened, and as if God answered. It was not a pretentious prayer uttered for the heathen at the table to overhear… It was a private and honest utterance, and I felt as though I was treading on something real, something sincere, something important, and something transparent but illegible to me.”
I had never thought long and hard about the witness we believers have simply in prayer, even over a meal. Do you, Christian readers, pray in public as if praying for any “lost” to hear, or do you simply talk to God and allow others to listen in? Any other readers who are disappointed or disgusted by prayers they hear? I know that I often worry about how poorly I speak in public when I pray aloud in groups, when, really, my prayers should be a sincere, humble conversation with my Lord and Savior.
And one more quote to conclude:
“I needed (and need) faithful shepherding, not the glitz and glamor that has captured the soul of modern evangelical culture.”
While I understand (somewhat) the angle of many modern evangelical churches today, why do they think fog machines, drama presentations, and huge, active projectors and jumbo-trons assist in preaching the gospel? What part of the “glitz and glamor” points to the humility and sacrifice of Jesus Christ? Why are churches using their money on brand new technology to snag the youth of today instead of sending money to the ministry of the youth in third-world countries, or the youth in foster care, or the silent youth being attacked in the womb?
These are the things that frustrate me. This is why the world holds such disdain for Christ — not only because every human is born wired to hate and fight against God, but also because people who claim to be followers of Christ are shallow, weak, and unable to dialogue.
If this is all just from the first chapter, this is going to be a good read.