Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Shack, Jesus for President, and other et ceteras

First of all, thank you to everyone who touched base after my last blog post. I definitely felt the e-love. Just to prevent any wild speculations, I'm healthy, everyone in my family is healthy, I didn't lose my job, or anything like that. I'm simply suffering from an "I need a break" style broken heart. I'm definitely in a better place than when I last posted, but heartache is still heartache. So, anyway, don't fret too much on my behalf.

Second, I recently finished reading Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne. It's a great book that addresses some of the premises on which much of our nationalism, materialism, capitalism, patriotism, and even modern western Christianity are based. He lifts up "biblical values" like Jubilee, Justice, Non-Violence, Sharing, and Enemy Love, just to name a few. Claiborne has a way of convicting me of my own failures in living out that pesky Sermon on the Mount, without making me feel hopeless about my condition. I may get in to some specific stuff when I have the book in front of me, and more time and brain cells. I do struggle, though, with how to apply some of Claiborne's practices in my context. While I admire his choice to move to an urban area and practice intentional community in search for justice, I wonder how I, a pastor in suburban, affluent, homogeneous, Williamson County, America am called to proclaim justice, jubilee, enemy love, and a radical realignment of the social order. Simply standing in the pulpit and proclaiming these values doesn't seem very fair to those who don't have the chance to respond, except for the brief moments on the way out the door (that whole ritual is worth another blog post).

OK, this post is getting long, but I'm also reading The Shack by William P. Young. It's basically a story of how an encounter with God helps a man get free from many of the things that keep him from living a joyful, grateful life of relationship with God. The book has been getting some press, and I'm eager to hear what other folks are thinking about it.


Andy said...

Jesus For President is a great book and Shane has a new one out on prayer.

I'm reading The Shack too. Wish we'd made the connection last week at Davidson. I'm over half-way through and would love to talk more once I'm done. I like it. I feel there are some holes in the theology but very small, albeit minor ones. Some really powerful stuff in the book, imagery, description of triune God. I like the stuff in the garden with Sarayu/Holy Spirit and Mack's encounter with Sophia/Wisdom...Like the Jesus character in the book, but wish he wasn't soley a buddy warm and fuzzy Jesus.