Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The book about God that made me say the F word

So on my silent retreat I read a couple books....and I'm afraid one of them so addled my brain I can only describe it properly as a mind f---- . Yes, I am so sorry to be that crass. Especially for those of you who know me in person and know I don't swear. But it really is the only proper description of the book's impact. This damn book put more questions in me than one year of bible college and my two years of Seminary combined. But, let me list the two other books I read first.
  1. "Cold Tangerines" by Shauna Niequist.
    This is the book Nic loaned me because we each swap a book when we go on retreat. She gave me this one to look at. Cold Tangerines is a happy warm fussy orange book. Shauna talks about her rebellion from christianity phase and what it was like growing up as a pastors kid. Since she is Bill Hybels daughter (pastor of willow creek) I imagine it was a bit more of a fish bowl experience than my growing up as a pastors kid. I could relate to all her pastors kid stuff. It was a super book. Although I must admit I stopped paying attention when at 3/4 through she got to the baby making part, not being in the baby making phase.
    Quote: "Start where you are stuck"
  2. Swallow by a Snake: The gift of the masculine side of healing by Thomas Golden
    This was actually for my counseling of men class, but I loved it and it was also good for a silent retreat. It talked about how men and women grieve. There were some good analogies to think through regarding grief. I have had entire silent retreats where I just purged grief and cried a lot. I think this time I cried just for about 10 minutes and it was while reading this book. I started thinking about how my family is grieving me these days.
    Quote: "For a man to show his grief he needs to know he is respected."

  3. If Grace Is True Why God will Save Every Person by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland
    This is the book that was a bit of a mind f____. I think it was so hard for me because I want to agree with this book, and for good chunks of it I do. However, some of it took a lot of what I learned about God and christianity in seminary and turned it on it's head. Plus, the authors would say something shocking that I did not agree with at all, followed immediately by content that is more traditionally and theologically accepted which most of the time explained away my shock. I am still a bit taken aback. It takes so very much energy for me to tease apart what about this book I don't agree with. It made me want to read the old school guy Origen. I didn't know it when I was reading but I think this book is the entry way to christian universalism. I should do a survey to see if glbt folks become quakers and universalists at higher rates. Because it seems/feels like that is what happens.

    Another thing, instead of just read the bible in it's historical context letting that explain some of it they keep and disregard biblical scriptures based on how they line up with the Jesus Creed: "Love the lord your God with all your heart and all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself." Which means entire chunks of the old testament are gone.

  4. The Bible
    I started reading the bible itself. The book above at the very least re-birthed my desire to figure out what kind of gymnastics my theology is doing in my head. I started with the book of John.

3 comments:

Michael said...

I love it when I come across a book that alters my reality. Mine have been the New Kind of Christian series, as well as Blue Like Jazz.

krystyn said...

I attended Bible study every Wednesday night as a pre-teen. Since then, my dad has sent me everything from "Who's Who In The Bible" to "A Purpose Filled Life".

But honestly, the two most reality-altering books for me were Michio Kaku's "Hyperspace" and "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert.

The first fed the logical, proof-needing geek in me. The other, which I'm still reading, has opened a long since closed part of my soul that I've missed.

Don't know if you'd enjoy either, but they were good for me. :)

titration said...

Oooo. I love book recommendations. I have read blue like jazz but it was forever ago.

krystyn - I am totally going to check out those books! I've been told to read eat pray love about 50 times now but haven't purchased it. So I might as well do it.

Thanks both of you!