Thanks so much for a great read-along discussion last week, friends! You guys rock!
I’m looking forward to this week. And can I just say I love humor in a book? Such as:
“Nothing thrilled me more than identifying fellow believers, especially famous ones.” (30)
“My strategy was to be effusively friendly to everyone I met, always looking for an opening in the conversation that would naturally lead to a discussion about substitutionary atonement.” (41)
“We imagined that there we would find likeminded friends, answers to all of our questions about God, and husbands who would whisk us away from Dayton to some exotic location, like the mission field or a megachurch.” (43)
Thoughts on Chapter 1:
For quite awhile now (and especially after reading Radical), I’ve been having serious second thoughts about our approach to salvation. You know, the whole “repeat a prayer after me and you go to heaven” thing.
On the first page of Chapter 1, Rachel talks about asking Jesus into her heart and “thinking it strange that someone as important as Jesus would need an invitation. Strange now is the fact that before I lost my first tooth or learned to ride a bike or graduated from kindergarten, I committed my life to a man who asked his followers to love their enemies, to give without expecting anything in return, and to face public execution if necessary.”
Holy cow. What do you say to that?
Add the ever-messing-things-up David Platt to the mix. From Radical, p. 37:
“Ask Jesus to come into your heart. Invite Jesus to come into your life. Pray this prayer, sign this card, walk down this aisle, and accept Jesus as your personal Savior. Our attempt to reduce this gospel to a shrink-wrapped presentation that persuades someone to say or pray the right things back to us no longer seems appropriate.”
“This is why none of these man-made catch phrases are in the Bible. You will not find a verse in Scripture where people are told to ‘bow your heads, close your eyes, and repeat after me.’ You will not find a place where a superstitious sinner’s prayer is even mentioned. And you will not find an emphasis on accepting Jesus. We have taken the infinitely glorious Son of God, who endured the infinitely terrible wrath of God and who now reigns as the infinitely worthy Lord of all, and we have reduced him to a poor, puny Savior who is just begging for us to accept him.”
“I invite you to consider with me a proper response to this gospel. Surely more than praying a prayer is involved… Surely this gospel evokes unconditional surrender of all that we are and all that we have to all that he is. You and I desperately need to consider whether we have ever truly, authentically trusted in Christ for our salvation.”
There is so, so much more I could write, but I’ll just stop here with Question #1:
Question #1: What does it take to be saved?
Let’s move on to something a little less controversial: politics. (hahahahahaha!)
On page 30, Rachel shares something that hit a little too close to home. She talks about the culture wars of the 80’s and 90’s, leading up to the election of George W. Bush. “In this political environment, being a good Christian meant adopting a range of causes such as protecting the traditional family, keeping God in the Pledge of Allegiance, and supporting the right to bear arms. I know what abortion was before I knew where babies came from, and I learned how to effectively blame everything from crime rates to suicide rates on the removal of prayer from public schools.”
I feel like I’ve linked to my apology to democrats (and Jesus) a bajillion times, but it’s the easiest way I know to express how so many of my ideas about politics have radically shifted the past few years (without having to go into it all over again).
If you’re someone who prides yourself on forwarding Obama Is Evil Personified e-mails to everyone on your address list any chance you get, may I gently and humbly suggest that you might want to examine your view (and Jesus’s) on politics?
Remember, we’re citizens of the kingdom of God first and foremost. Above allegiance to any country, we serve Jesus.
Oh, I could go on. For a long time.
Question #2: How should our faith affect our politics?
Try to answer that one in a sentence or two if you can. (yeah, when pigs fly)
Thoughts on Chapter 2:
Okay, so was it just me, or did anyone else want to shake June the Ten Commandments Lady by the ever-loving shoulders and scream Bible verses at her (laced with obscenities) until her dentures fell out and then smack her upside the head until she showed remorse for her heinousness?
Such a Christ-like response, I know.
I about couldn’t take this chapter.
June the Ten Commandments Lady. Founder of Citizens for the Atomic Bomb. Prays for the untimely death of those opposed to America’s right to defend herself against her enemies. Puts “Nice Shot” on her marquee sign board on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Writes tributes to white supremacists. Terrorizes an innocent store owner for displaying a Mexican flag.
I want to punch something.
And then this: “She’s certainly not the only one who professes the name of Jesus Christ in one breath and then curses her neighbor in the next. Is that profession enough to save her? Is it worth more to God than the faith of a Buddhist or Hindu or Muslim who practices kindness and compassion?” (48)
Holy cow, that’s a good question.
Matthew 25:31-46 is a chilling account of the Son of Man coming in his glory, separating sheep (us!) from the goats (heathens!), except wait. Jesus says that anyone who saw someone who was hungry or thirsty and didn’t feed them or give them something to drink is OUT. Anyone who didn’t help the sick or visit the prisoner or give clothes to the needy is OUT.
Question #3: What does Jesus think about someone like June? Is professing to believe Jesus enough to excuse a life of hatred?
Of course you can feel free to ask/answer anything you wish. And/or link to your own post. Just remember to be kind and respectful to your fellow readers-along.
Here are the questions all in one place if that helps:
1. What does it take to be saved?
2. How should our faith affect our politics?
3. What does Jesus think about someone like June? Is professing to believe Jesus enough to excuse a life of hatred?
4. What else in these 2 chapters do you want to talk about?
Take it away, friends!
*Next Week’s Reading Assignment: Chapters 3, 4, & 5.