jesus wants to save christians

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.”

9 thoughts on “jesus wants to save christians”

  1. I read rob’s first book and half the time I thought it was sure genius, the other half of the time I thought he bordered on heresy.

    thought provoking nonetheless.

  2. I think there are one sentence paragraphs because most of his books are modified from his sermons. Manuscripts maybe–but then he goes back over them and fleshes them out more.

  3. I’m in the middle of this book, too. I find his perspective of different Bible stories to be very eye opening and insiteful. I had a few aHA moments, which is what I like. I’m tired of reading books that say the same thing I’ve heard a hundred times before.

  4. i like this book and its message. I think that Claiborne’s book “Jesus for President” makes alot of the same statements, but for me was a better and more visually stimulating read. Bell’s books are kind of like reading the script to one of his nooma videos. the style works but can get tiresome. My problem with these kind of books, which is really more of my brain processing a certain way, is that after i have read the book, i have a hard time thinking of specific things from the book that i liked. i could tell you that i liked the book but maybe can’t remember what it said. kind of like a you had to be there kind of thing.

  5. jeremy….

    I think the two most ugly words in the Christian circle are:

    1) Layman
    2) Heresy

    On looking at the latter, I believe that Christians label things heresy way too fast. For many Christians, being brought up in a strict fundamentalist background is not strange. And it has been engraved for years that you are not allowed to break or step outside of boundaries that were set for all of us to follow.

    It is almost as if we cannot question or doubt the systematic system in front of us. If we do we are called a heretic.

    I think Christianity always needs ‘what if’ questions and statements that wrestle with doubt and struggles.

    Once Christianity thinks it is set we are in trouble.

    So while I know you did not say it was heresy and that it was borderline…..I would even question the reasoning behind that statement.

  6. I agree that the style of Bell’s written works is totally opposite from what we are accustomed to (or even enjoy). But the unabridged audiobook versions of his 3 books are all available on iTunes (for around $11 each). Listening to his ideas have proved far more benefical for me than sitting down with book and pen in hand like I would for a book by John Piper or N.T. Wright. I highly recommend the audio versions!

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