Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile, by rob bell and don golden.
rob bell’s newest book (his third) is his best one yet, i believe. his main premise is that the bible should be read as the story of exile and reconciliation. and he traces this storyline throughout the narrative arc of scripture. peppered with the storytelling that rob is known for (stories from scripture, stories from jewish midrash, and modern day stories), the book wanders through the old testament – starting with “the first book of the bible: exodus” – and into the new, with more and more implications for “our current exile” as the book progresses. it’s a deeply theological book, but extremely accessible. it’s a “framing” book for followers of jesus, seeking to understand the story of god and how we fit into it. rob doesn’t shy away from taking jabs at the “empire” we live in, the spiritualization of violence and oppression, or the mindset of american christianity. i doubt sarah palin would like this book.
personally, i tire quickly of rob’s single-sentence paragraphs, found in strings on most pages. it’s a neat literary device to use occasionally. but it grows old for me.
but, other than that minor issue (which readers of other rob bell books will certainly recognize – maybe he’s attempting to write in twitter boxes of 140 words or less?), this is a profoundly good book that will certainly impact my thinking from here on out.
here are a few choice sentences that captured my imagination:
jesus wants to save us from making the good news about another world and not this one.
jesus wants to save us from preaching a gospel that is only about individuals and not about the systems that enslave them.
jesus wants to save us from shrinking the gospel down to a transaction about the removal of sin and not about every single particle of creation being reconciled to its maker.
jesus want to save us from religiously sanctioned despair, the kind that doesn’t believe the world can be made better, the kind that either blatently or subtly teaches people to just be quiet and behave and wait for something to happen “someday.”