Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jesus Wants to Save Christians

That's the title of the book I finished reading tonight after the kids got to bed. Some very compelling, thought-provoking stuff in there. Rob Bell, the author, tends to get a little cutesy for my taste in trying to make his points sometimes, but that doesn't diminish the very real value that can be found in these pages.

One sidenote--earlier in the book, the author pointed out that the word Eucharist, a word many Christians use for the bread and wine of communion, comes from two greek words that literally mean "good gift." He then goes on to use the word "Eucharist" liberally through the rest of the book in reference to the "good gift" we as Christians are called to be to the world, in an intentional double entendre. That might clear up some initial confusion in a couple of the quotes.

Anyway, read, digest, and enjoy:

from pp. 165-166:
"The Eucharist is not fair.
Giving to those who can’t give in return, that’s not fair.
Serving those who have no way to serve in return, that’s not fair.
Breaking yourself open and pouring yourself out for people who may never say thank you, that’s not fair.
Because God is not fair. This is a God who is defined by action on behalf of the oppressed. God is about giving the good gift. Jesus is God’s good gift for the healing of the world. The Church is Jesus’ body, a good gift for the healing of the world. It's for the benefit of others. For the good of those who look different from us.
A church is an organization that exists for the benefit of nonmembers."

from pp. 177-178:
"The Eucharist always costs. It isn’t just about trying to save the world. It’s about saving ourselves.
From the kingdom of comfort.
From the priority of preservation
From the empire of indifference
From the exile of irrelevance.
Jesus wants to save our church from thinking that the priests are someone else."

from p. 179:
"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 molecule of creation being reconciled to its maker.
Jesus wants to save us from religiously sanctioned despair, the kind that doesn’t believe we can make the world a better place, the kind that either blatantly or subtly teaches people to just be quiet and behave and wait for something big to happen ‘someday’.
The Bible begins with Abel’s blood crying out from the ground. The Bible ends with God wiping away every tear. No more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain.
Hope…The church is always about this hope."



Rev Scott said...

I'm about halfway through it and liking much of what I read. I agree that Rob Bell gets a little cutesy sometimes, but I think he's trying to write for both churched and un-churched folks, so he's casting a REALLY wide net. Right now, I'm kind of waiting for him to get to the point - nice to know he does get to it in the end.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

oh i like rob bell... perhaps the real question is has jesus saved you from the week of puke?

man oh man....