pg 29 So this is a book of stories. The things that transform us, especially us “postmoderns,” are people and experiences. Political ideologies and religious doctrines just aren’t very compelling, even if they’re true. And stories disarm us. They make us laugh and cry. It’s hard to disagree with a story, much less split a church or kill people over one. And certainly no hurts others with the passion of those who it in the name of God, and it’s usually over ideologies and doctrines, not stories. Besides, people seem to loosen up after a good story. I think that’s why Jesus told so many stories.–stories about ordinary first-century Mediterranean life, stories of widows and orphans, debts and wages, workers and landlords, courts and banquets.
pg 63 At the beginning of their living with the homeless in Philly:
Later that same week another group of folks brought donations by St. Ed’s — the mafia. With he media jumping on the story, the mafia cam by and gave bikes to each of the kids, turkeys to each of family, and thousands of dollars to the organization. I thought to myself, I guess God can use the mafia, but I would like God to use the church.
Many younger writers share of hating the church they grew up in. Part of it is personality, but I don’t like negative talk. Partially it’s because it’s hard to hear people demean the bride of Christ knowing that a collection of imperfect people is going to be an imperfect gathering. Shane begins there but doesn’t dwell on it. In fact he says this: pg 64
At that moment we decided to stop complaining about the church we saw, and we set our hearts on becoming the church we dreamed of.
I have had the same thought in Cambodia. There are many Christians at work there but there are many more who are not motivated by the love of Christ who are just there to help. I know that God can use anyone I just wish the presence of his body was greater in a place like Cambodia where the need is so great.
The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament. ~ Soren Kierkegaard.
One of the intriguing aspects of the book was Shane’s experience with Mother Teresa. He wrote her while in college asking if he could come for a summer. He didn’t receive a response so he continue to hound all the nuns he knew and that they knew until he was given her personal number and she invited him to come over. I often want to do great things. One of the quotes from Mother Teresa was,
“We can do no great things, just small things with great love. it is not how much you do, but how much love you put into doing it.”
pg 167 “The best things to do with the best things in life is to give them away.”
pg 254. Whenever someone tells me they have rejected God, I say, “Tell me about the God you’ve rejected.” And as they describe a God of condemnation, of laws and lightening bolts, of frowning grey-haired people and boring meetings, I usually confess, “I too have rejected that God.”
Over all I really enjoyed the book. There were moments when I was glad I was alone in the cafe I was reading the book as I was moved to tears by the accounts of love that he got to be a part of. I was nervous reading a book with an endorsement by Rob Bell but really enjoyed it and was left with some questions to think about and dialogue with others over.
Is capitalism bad?
He often rails against capitalism to me that’s kind of like railing against sex because some people rape kids. In a sinful world there are going to be people who misuse the gifts God gives us. I do want to wrestle with my thoughts on capitalism though.
Is there value in pursuing renewable energy on a personal level?
Does capital punishment teach that some are beyond redemption?
Should we always be against war?
Shane is a pacifist and why we all agree that war is hell on earth and is often used for evil my thought is if we were all pacifists the Axis powers would still be ruling the world and we’d all live under dictators. Still we probably should fight harder for peace then we do. Not sure what to do with this one.
Great stories, Great thoughts, Great Questions. Light on doctrine, heavy on trying to live out an authentic Christian life.