Tag Archives: true story

true story

True Story: A Christianity Worth Believing In, by James Choung

this book is a worthy effort. in the vein of brian mclaren’s “a new kind of chirstian” trilogy, author james choung used a fictional allegory to make his point. it’s very similar to brian’s books, in fact, though less pithy. chuong is making an attempt to explain the gospel using something other than the “cross in the gap” diagram most evangelicals have been familiar with for decades.

in mclaren’s first book in that trilogy, “a new kind of christian”, he establishes the fictional characters, and talks about christianity in a postmodern context. when i read that book, i — like so many others — felt that someone was finally putting words to the stuff i was sensing and feeling and thinking. but the second book of the trilogy, “the story we find ourselves in”, traces the big story of god, grouping it into 7 chapters or epochs. i’ve used this framing now for years, finding it extremely helpful (i change brian’s last chapter from “consecration” to “commencement”, feeling that, when i’m speaking to teenagers, consecration has too many extra bits to unpack, and commencement is both the end of something and the beginning of something). chuong’s book is most like this second of mclaren’s, in that it also traces the big story of god — but in a slightly less story-like manner.

i found it a bit forced and simplistic at times. in other words, it wasn’t necessarily helpful to me (like mclaren’s book was); but was, rather, a book i could see giving to a 20-something who’s wondering about christianity. or, better yet, to a 20-something who grew up in church, but doesn’t have a clue how to talk about faith to friends in a way that makes any sense and also connects with the real life she’s living.

the diagram chuong introduces has a few too many steps, i think, to be perfectly useful. but it’s still good, and follows a theology that is both true to scripture, as well as focusing on the restorative work of god, rather than a “left behind” theology.

so, pretty good book for the right purpose.

monday morning check-in, 7.14.08

the weekend that was: my fam drove from detroit to niles, michigan/south bend, indiana, where i officiated at the wedding of my niece on saturday. great time — a mini-family reunion. i forgot the jacket to my suit in my in-law’s closet, and had to have my father-in-law drive it to the brother of my brother-in-law, who was coming the day of the wedding. he arrived 20 minutes after the wedding was to start. we would have started, but he also had one of the grandmothers. yesterday, we drove to chicago to start a 48 hour family vacation here. jeannie and i lived here when we were first married, so it has lots of nostalgic stuff for us. sunday afternoon and evening, we stopped for a vienna beef chicago dog, checked into our hotel (a cool little boutique hotel just north of the miracle mile, called the hotel indigo), walked around on michigan avenue and did a little shopping in water tower place and h&m, got a scoop of ice cream at ghirardelli’s, went to see blue man group (good suggestion, tony), then to gino’s east for a half-cheese, half veggie stuffed pizza.

where i am at the moment: chicago. what a great city.

on my to-do list this week: a few things to monitor back at ys (via blackberry, primarily, and hoping for a big announcement this week), but the main thing this week, post-chicago trip, is my trip to sydney for catholic world youth day.

moving update: busy week! we had 6 or more showings, and 2 offers (both ridiculously low).

procrastinating about: finished a feature length article on ‘balance’ for journal of student ministries, and my monthly column for youthwork magazine, but still haven’t touched a keyboard for another chapter on my middle school ministry book.

book i’m in the midst of: true story: a christianity worth believing in, and The Yellow Leaves: A Miscellany (by Frederick Buechner/.

music that seemed to catch my attention this past week: coldplay: viva la vida.

next trip: sydney, australia, tomorrow (through next tuesday). i couldn’t get a decent flight into sydney (probably something to do with 1,000,000 teenage pilgrims coming!), so i’m flying chicago to san francisco, then to aukland, NZ. then i have a separate flight to sydney.

how i’m feeling about this week: stoked! can’t wait to experience world youth day.