Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Two Books

I turned on Blogger's new "mobile template" for you Fandango readers on the go. Heh. I just think that's really funny for some reason. People "on the go" are probably not reading Fandango (at least not until they settle down). But anyway, I turned it on. Just in case.

Finished reading a couple of books in the last two days. First, Frank Viola's Revise Us Again: Living from a Renewed Christian Script. "Revise" is probably not as serious a term as "reform" or "revive," but this book features a series of suggestions for change in contemporary American Christianity. It is essentially a call for the church to take a good look at itself in the mirror.

Some of the chapters are about communication styles or semantics: Christian code language (when "I'll pray about it" actually means, "go away, don't bother me with your problems"), and Christianeze. These chapters were sometimes amusing and always on-target, and I know plenty of Christians that should definitely read them, but Viola really gets going in his chapters on the Gospel, the presence of God, spiritual expectations, and the Holy Spirit. In all these cases, says Viola, some serious revising is necessary. Viola is as usual serious, engaging, and pointedly challenging. From Eternity to Here and Reimagining Church were stronger books, but Viola's work is always worthwhile.

I also just finished Tim Keller's King's Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus. Unfortunately, my reading of this one was broken up over a period of a couple of months, and I fear that I have not really done the book justice. Keller has a way of illustrating his points with striking metaphors, and his writing is beautifully lucidm refreshingly free of Christian jargon and pop-culture references. It is apt I think to call him a 21st century C. S. Lewis in that his work is essentially one of apologetics. In King's Cross he's looking at the world through the lens of the Gospel of Mark. It is divided into two main sections: "The King" and "The Cross." What he has done, I think, is write a book about the theology of atonement that is uniquely jargon-free and aimed at an audience that he presumes to be intelligent and perhaps skeptical. Very refreshing.

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