jesus wants to save christians
After taking way too long, I finally finished Rob Bell’s book, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, today. I’ve been a fan of Bell since I first heard him speak at a Youth Specialties Conference about 6 years ago. I always find his teachings to be fresh, insightful and challenging.
This has been true of his last two books, however this latest work struck me in a much more profound way than the others. Bell (and coauthor, Don Golden) doesn’t teach anything “new” here, but he does present a fresh perspective on who God is and how he desires to interact with us.
In a culture where the Church has (in many ways) lost its voice, this book provides some insight into how we can reclaim that. Rather, how we can reclaim the mission of God for his people.
There’s too much to get into, so here are some of my highlights:
“This is not an abstract god who floats above the blood and dirt and pain of the world. This is a god who is fundamentally defined by action on behalf of the oppressed.” (pg 32)
“The majority of the Bible was written by a minority people living under the rule and reign of massive, mighty empires, from the Egyptian Empire to the Babylonian Empire to the Persian Empire to the Assyrian Empire to the Roman Empire. This can make the Bible a very difficult book to understand if you are reading it as a citizen of the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.” (pg 121)
“Entitlement leads to immunity to the suffering of others, because ‘I got what I deserve’ and so, apparently, did they.” (pg 124)
“A Christian is a living Eucharist, allowing her body to be broken and her blood to be poured out for the healing of the world.” (pg 150)
“A church’s authority…comes from how we’ve been broken open and poured out, not from how well we’ve pursued power and lobbied and organized ourselves to triumph.” (pg 161)
“A church is an organization that exists for the benefit of nonmembers.” (pg 166)
These quotes don’t do the book much justice because they are isolated from the whole of the book. To feel the real weight of these statements, you need to read through the book and understand the progression of thought that is made throughout it.
Most books stir my mind, but this book also stirs me to action. The authors do a wonderful job of highlighting and emphasizing parts of the Christian faith that have been forgotten/abandoned and need to be reclaimed. In this post/anti/(whatever you want to call it) Christian society we live in, we need to be able to look at who we’ve become and be God’s people, his body, here on earth.
Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy.