Brian McLaren

So I went online to start placing books that were recommended for me on hold. And I decided to look for some other books that I have been contemplating reading for a while now. I was surprised by how many of Brian McLaren’s books were available. I was also surprised that I only had to wait for a day. I got A Generous Orthodoxy, as well as The Secret Message of Jesus.

McLaren is an interesting Author because there is so much stuff that he writes that I love and totally agree with, but there are other things that just infuriate me. And I have been putting off A Generous Orthodoxy because I had a feeling that I would just get angry with some of the things that he had to say. But you know it’s better to read it and find out for myself what he says than just assume that I know.

I initially discovered his books by reading A New Kind of Christian, which was a very enlightening book about Post-modernism and how the church should respond. It was told in the form of a story which was very interesting, because this way McLaren could say things that seemed controversial but it was a Character in a story and not actually a stated position by McLaren. This method of writing can be infuriating because you don’t really know what the author is saying he holds to be true and what he is just floating out there. It ingenious for the exact same reason. I really like this book and found it to be very helpful.

A New Kind of Christian actually became a trilogy of books floating around the same characters.

The second in the Series was, The Story We Find Ourselves In, this dealt a lot with creation and evolution, history and our role and God’s role. It was interesting, but he started to lose me with some of his evolution theories. But what he said about history was very enlightening and I enjoyed it.

The Third was The Last Word and the Word After That. In this book McLaren addresses Eternity and basically says that Hell doesn’t exist. This made me very angry because it attacked one of the things that I have always believed. But it also made me think, that Hell shouldn’t be the driving force for our evangelism.

Somewhere in there he wrote a book with Tony Campolo called, Adventures in Missing the Point, which also makes some rather controversial claims, but is most definitely thought provoking.

So now here I am preparing to delve into some more of his works knowing that controversy is just around the corner, and I will be thinking a lot. So that’s always a good thing.

I can’t say that I whole heartedly endorse any of these books, but they are interesting reads, and If you want to think and figure stuff out for yourself then have at it. But if you know that reading them will make you angry the steer clear.

Donkey Talk, Allergies, Reading, etc.

So I get to speak again this week, It’s gonna be fun times. I’m talking about Balaam, and how God used his donkey to reveal spiritual truth, but really the whole story can’t be summed up with just that section of the story, so instead of a few verses we will be looking at three chapters. Some times less is more, but sometimes less is less. I really wrestled with this and how much to use, and I think I gotta go all out and hit all three chapters. So come and bring a pillow or maybe a snack. I really am going to hustle through this passage, so it won’t be too long, but consider yourselves warned. :o)

In staff meeting I said that I was going to go through all three chapters and the team was a little shocked, so now the pressures on to make it good, and efficient. I think it will all work out.

But I really am excited to talk about this chunk of scripture, and I know that I am going to have a good time, and I hope that carries over and that everyone else enjoys it and leaves feeling encouraged because that’s really what the gist of the message is going for. God wins, and when he blesses people he always holds up his end of the Bargain. It’s a pretty good deal.

But hey if you’re reading I would really appreciate your prayers for focus and clarity, but also I have been battling my allergies pretty severe lately and I would appreciate prayer that they won’t be a factor on Sunday morning. Thanks for that.

Also thanks for all the reading recommendations, I haven’t picked any up yet, but I hope to read many of them. Also if anyone has any non-fiction books they would recommend let me know. I went to borders today, while transferring buses and I just looked around and wondered what to get next, and really couldn’t get my minder around it. I think partly because this was a Borders that I had never been to before and the layout was weird. And the Shelves were really tall and I was intimidated so I left rather quickly.

But please keep sending book recommendations. I really appreciated it.

If you ever want a recommendation for what to read, just ask, I’ve read a lot of books, and I love to share the experience with other people. It’s weird how books take on that kind of relational glue. When two people have read the same book, you have a shared experience that is different than going to the same event or seeing a movie together, it really connects in a stronger way, that’s probably why Oprah’s book club is such a success. Maybe I’ll start a book club of my own. I won’t be hosting any dinner parties with the author anytime soon, but maybe I’ll start one. I’ll have to think about it.

If today’s blog feels like a lot of Rambling (please refer to the title), it’s probably because I haven’t really had a chance in a while to sit down and write. And this is currently a down time during my Cutter & Buck time, so I’m really able to do whatever I want as long as I’m at my desk and not surfing the net. SO that limits my options quite a bit to writing myself and email in Outlook and sending it to blogger.com and posting it that way.

What else is going on? I have a podcast that I’ve started up it was initially a test for the church podcast to see if podomatic was as easy as everyone said it was, and it is so I adopted the test page as my own random podcast place and thus it is dubbed randomicity. Check it out, I posted Mikey doing an homage to dcTalk, and then I have also posted a video of Judah’s first Day. So if you’re interested I’m going to be posting video and stuff up there so check it out, subscribe to it via iTunes or whatever podcatcher you use.

But that’s seems to be all the news that’s fit to print digitally through a pattern of 1’s and 0’s that I don’t understand. Peace.

Reading list

Well I have been busting out a lot of books lately with my riding the bus, and I am looking for some great reads. People ask me for recommendations all the time. I would like to hear from you, what books should I read, just hit the comment button if you have any ideas.

I do have some guidelines, i will not read Romance Novels, or Horror Novels. I love to read but those two things I just won’t bother with.

Thanks I look forward to hearing and reading your recommendations.

the week in review

This week has been really long. And I have not gone to the gym enough, I went Monday and I hope to go tomorrow. It’s really hard to balance the gym into my life with the family and two jobs. I think I’m getting cranky because of it. I need to figure out away to make this happen, it might mean going to bed really, really, early. But that would be really, really lame.

Today Kathy drove me down to work and then I’ll take the bus home. That was nice of her, she sure is a peach. It’s nice being able to be home, but it’s also very difficult to work a whole bunch. But, that’s the way it goes these days. I just have to figure it all out. Kathy and I made the call to get DSL at home, so that’s hopefully going to improve things, I won’t have to go to a coffee house to get my email and stuff, so I’ll be able to do it all from home.

I really don’t have anything to write today, of great significance.

I did however finish three books this week while riding the bus.

Confessions of a Reformission Rev by Mark Driscoll

No Perfect Program by David Chow

And

Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places by Eugene Peterson.

Confessions and Christ Plays we both great, The Perfect Program was, OK. Christ Plays was a lot of work to get through it was 3oo + pages and all very heady. There was some really great stuff in it though that I’ll have to blog about later. I’ll have to process and think and ruminate about some stuff.

But Christ plays reminded me of the importance of prayer, and I have to admit, I have been really undisciplined in that area, so I started a prayer journal on my iBook. It’s been really helpful to write out what I am praying for, and it’s been helpful for me to keep those things on my mind all day. So while I’m walking from one bus stop to another I’ll be praying for various things that I had written down, people, vision, and church decisions. It’s really cool. And I love to play around with my iBook anyway, so anything that lets me use it is motivating. So I hope that I’ll be able to maintain this prayer habit.

All in all I’m looking forward to a great weekend, first father’s day and all.

the Perfect Program

Riding the bus has given me great opportunities to read and process things that I normally don’t get to for some reason. Like today, I ended up working through a book, The Perfect Program: and Other Fairy Tales. It’s a youth ministry book, by a guy named David Chow. It’s a great book, and it’s a nice reminder that all the aspects of youth ministry, all the criterion for success, all the standards and metric, all the people, and everything you do is a process. It’s never going to be perfect.

It’s just a good reminder from time to time, that there is always more to do, more to learn, and more to improve upon. It’s a great little book for youth pastors to read, and I greatly recommend it.