Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Repainting Christianity

Well, I've been doing bits of boring stuff: getting a bit of clutter organized, though I have a long way to go. For interesting stuff I've got the last bits of my book to the publisher and they say they will soon have a couple of sample covers ready for me to review. Exciting! To think I will soon have this writing I've poured so much of myself into in an actual book. Was I as excited when Riding the Roller Coaster came out? I don't remember, but I must have been.

Another interesting thing I've started on is a wonderful book called Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell, founding pastor of Mars Hill. The subtitle is "Repainting Christianity." The product description reads: "God never changes, nor do the central truths of Christianity. But our understanding of those truths is in constant flux. Christians will always be exploring and discovering what it means to live in harmony with God and each other."

The book is full of questions. Such a refreshing thing. Too many Christians live as though they think they have all the answers. The truth is that understanding God leads us to a lot of mystery. We can believe and yet accept that we'll never understand it all and that we need to keep asking questions.

Just a taste of what Bell has to say:
"...the Bible is open-ended" (it is alive) "It has to be interpreted. And if it isn't interpreted, then it can't be put into action. So if we are serious about following God, then we have to interpret the Bible. It is not possible to simply do what the Bible says. We must first make decisions about what it means at this time, in this place, for these people."

In other words, no one can say that he takes the Bible literally. It was written at a time in history when things were different than they are today. We need to interpret what it means for us, living in 2008.

Somewhere else Bell says:
"Questions, no matter how shocking or blasphemous or arrogant or ignorant or raw, are rooted in humility. A humility that understands that I am not God. And there is more to know. Questions bring freedom. Freedom that I don't have to be God and I don't have to pretend that I have it all figured out. I can let God be God."

I highly recommend this book, especially to those who want to believe in God but have had trouble believing everything the Bible says - those who need to understand that God is a fathomless mystery who we can embrace and believe in and love, in spite of it.


Nancie said...

Praying with you, Marja, for your book that all things will go smoothly in the publication. And may it be a great blessing to others.

"God never changes, nor do the central truths of Christianity." This is so true. Our understanding is limited but God never changes. He will reveal His Truths to us as we look humbly to Him.

We serve such an awesome God! May you have a blessed day. Take care.

Coco said...

It's refreshing to think of Christians who admit to not having all the answers! There's no bigger turn off for me than people who can't admit to not having it all figured out. 'God is a fathomless mystery'... I totally agree.. and I don't think we're supposed to even come close to knowing all the answers. Thanks for the book recommendation, it sounds really interesting. And yay for picking out book covers! :)

Jena said...

You always seem to lead such a colourful, interesting life marja! always something on the go! thank you for sharing about the new book you're reading with us. It's been nice to see you back on the blog again. I missed you while you were away :)

P.J. said...

Hi Marja,

I receive the weekly newletter from . As I opened up an article that I thought I'd find interesting called "Trust - during rough times" talking about depression, I realized that it was written by you! I was more than surprised!! Great exerpt, by the way!! Congratulations!!

marja said...

Nancie: You're right. God doesn't change, but we do. The central truths of Christianity stay the same.

marja said...

Coco: I think it's refreshing to read a book that takes a fresh look at things. Too many people believe in God, yet have been turned off by church the way it is. We need to read the Bible with an open mind, ready to absorb the beautiful mystery of all it says.

marja said...

Hi Jena: I'm sorry I'm away so much. I think it's my way of coping. Sometimes I just need to curl up with a good book.

marja said...

PJ: So glad you found the article. So glad it's out there for people to read. I'll comment on that excerpt in my next post. Put in a link so everyone can read it.