new book, yum.

Recently picked up a new book. Its a fun book, haven't read much of it, but I figure...hey, why not blog about my experience reading it? Heck, maybe you'll want to go buy it and read it with me?

Its title: Jesus Wants to Save Christians
subtitle: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile
Author: Rob Bell and some guy I've never heard of named Don Golden

First Impressions: In typical Rob Bell style, the book makes you curious. The outside is colorful green and there is a geometric design on the cover that HAS to have some meaning, although I can't figure it out yet. Like I said, I haven't read the book yet.

Tired of this yet: nah, but I only just grabbed the book. If you know anything about me you might remember I have a hesitancy to be involved with anything that is way too cool. This is especially true about Christian stuff (remember the Prayer of Jabez? Yeah...) Rob Bell is just so freakin cool. Somewhere inside my head I rationalize this by saying "oh, its just the big hype right now, and if its THIS cool, it can't be that true, right?" but when I'm honest with myself...I think I'm...dare I say it - jealous. I wish I was this cool. See, thats why I don't own an iPhone and a poo poo people who do (only in my head). I'm just not awesome enough. But one day, I'll bite the bullet and own a mac. Eventually I'll get around to reading the Shack (already did, actually). But no, I hope I'm never too cool for school, no matter how sweet my blog looks now.

Nono, I mean this: Reading Rob Bell is fun and a pain at the same time. Two things that bug the stew out of me...

He writes like this.

and I'm not exaggerating.

exaggerating.

exaggerating.

And there is plenty of room for discussion and footnotes (1).

So its great Rob Bell leaves room for you to interact with the book and not just speed read it, but did I really just pay full price for a book that is mostly white space? And the dang footnotes! I currently have two book marks...one for where I am in the front and one for where I am in the back. Scripture references, snazzy comments about some ministry are apparently soooooo detrimental to the experience of this book that they must be somewhere else. Which ACTUALLY disrupts my reading because I keep flipping the pages. Sigh...my problem, not yours, rob.

Seriously!?: Wait a sec...God wants to save Christians? Really? C'mon, isn't that obvious? Well... yes and no. The implication (and I like it) is that Pharisees need saving, and we are the new pharisees. It is the ones who claim all the answers that are humbled. Didn't Jesus say something about that? Something about taking the best seats at the table.

Which is odd, because today Christians are kind of beaten down. Well, Methodists definitely are. We've spent the last five years in our Conference trying to remind ourselves that we've had declining membership for the past 30 years. Christians in American society have had to come to the realization that they are NOT major players on the political stage any more. Remember Dobson complaining about Obama? Maybe not, because Dobson doesn't matter anymore to "normal" America. (yes, he has a firm grip on the minds of my conservative Christian friends, but they aren't always in touch with normal society either).

All that to say, I don't know if this is what Rob Bell means, but Christians in America are having to redefine whether this is a Christian nation or not. And if it isn't, we are officially in exile. And besides, we've always been in exile, haven't we? Ever since we became new creations? Or homeland should never be more than the Kingdom of God - which knows no borders.

Too much: So, I'll take your bet, Rob Bell. I'll lovingly discuss with you whether we know where we are or how we are in exile. I'll meet your friend, Don Golden. And I'll try my best to not write you off as too cool for school.

Stop it: okay.