I thought I’d recommend some books that I’ve been reading lately that you might enjoy. Admittedly they’re almost all about biblical books or themes. It’s what I’m interested in. I rarely read recreationally. I’m for it, I just can’t quite get myself to do it much. I hope you’ll consider reading some of these. On the flip side, I’d love to hear what you’re reading and recommending.
My first two are: Run With The Horses and Red Letter Revolution
Run With The Horses, by Eugene Petersen
You gotta know that Petersen’s a good writer. I mean, he wrote a Bible! Well, a paraphrase of it. If that’s not a credential, I don’t know what is. I kept hearing people say that this book made a huge impact on them, so I finally caved and read it. I got a lot out of it. Among other things, he made me think about Jeremiah – both the man and his message. To be honest, of all the portions of the Bible I’m least familiar with the prophets. Maybe it’s because they’re so long, but more likely it’s because I have a hard time interpreting and applying their message to me and to us. Petersen helps with that.
He’s so highly quotable, here are a few of my favorites:
- God’s creative genius is endless. He never, fatigued and unable to maintain the rigors of creativity, resorts to mass-producing copies. Each life is a fresh canvas on which he uses lines and colors, shades and lights, textures and proportions that he has never used before.
- Living by faith does not mean living with applause; living by faith does not mean playing on the winning team; living by faith demands readiness to live by what cannot be seen or controlled or predicted.
- Some people come to church looking for a way to make life better, to feel good about themselves, to see things in a better light. They arrange a ritual and hire a preacher to make that happen for them. Other people come to church because they want God to save and rule them.
- There are times when the truth will receive a wide hearing and times when it will not. Jesus had a congregation of five thousand one day and four women and two bored soldiers another. His message was the same both days.
Red Letter Revolution, by Shane Clayborne and Tony Campolo
Not everybody does, but I love these guys! You might not agree with all they say but I think you have to give – and others of their ilk – a hearing. They’re prophets with an Elijah (Campolo) and Elisha (Clayborne) relationship. They go back and forth in a sort of conversation throughout the book. Here are some my choice thoughts of theirs:
- People are dying in Africa because they don’t have the $3 mosquito nets that would prevent malaria, while churches argue about whether or not they need a water heater for the baptismal. (Clayborne)
- The best critique of a wrong thing is the practice of something better. (Clayborne) i.e. the crisis pregnancy groups that help families with their babies and anti-war groups that live peacefully themselves.
- “It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love.” (They actually quote Billy Graham here.)
- Campolo says that Revelation 18 and 19 are about every Babylon before the Roman Empire and every Babylon since. For us, Babylon is our U.S. “Don’t get me wrong,” he says, “I love our country. I believe it’s the best Babylon on earth. But it’s still Babylon. It’s not the kingdom of God.”
- In speaking of a prosperity theology where Christianity is an attempt to manipulate God into delivering wealth and well being, Campolo writes: “Magic is an attempt to get what you want; whereas true religion is when you surrender to what God wants.”
- “If life were a baseball game, some people were born on 3rd base and others on 1st, and some with only one shoe to play with.” (Clayborne)