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Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church Paperback – October 4, 2007
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— director of Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton
"Paul Metzger is a prophetic voice in the American evangelical community. His theological vision of a church consumed by Christ and not by consumerism could not be more timely or helpful. Writing with scholarly depth and human empathy, he exposes the consumerist roots of racial and economic divisions in the body of Christ and shows how faithfulness to the gospel leads to a reconciled evangelical community and witness."
— Duke Divinity School
"In the wake of the transformations that took place in the last half of the last century, it was impossible for an earlier generation of evangelical intellectuals to ignore the modern world's, indeed America's, race problem. But rarely was the lip service paid to the problem translated into careful reflection on theology's own culpability in forging the racial world in which we live and move and have our being, to say nothing of reimagining theology itself and church life beyond the racial world that Christianity and its theologians had such a significant hand in making. Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church is the breakout book of a new generation of young evangelical intellectuals who are striving not to make the mistake of their theological-evangelical fathers. It should be read."
— pastor of Imago Dei Community, Portland, Oregon
"Paul Metzger has become a catalytic voice in the city of Portland. His passion for the gospel engaging the culture is at the core of his life. Because of that, Paul continues to tackle gospel-centric issues that the church for too long has ignored, been ignorant of, or simply dismissed. This book is one of those great tackles that makes the highlight reel on SportsCenter. With theological depth, cultural understanding, and a prophetic edge, Paul calls us to face one of the key issues threatening the church in the West and educates us on how that may look. This is an important book."
— pastor of Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas
"Consuming Jesus sounds the death knell for a paradigm of church growth driven by the homogeneous unit principle and measured in success by numbers, dollars, and buildings. Metzger writes with personal passion and professional expertise, providing a wealth of insight for practitioners addressing the question If the kingdom of heaven is not segregated, why on earth is the church? His work should be read by everyone desiring to restore the local church to a place of compassionate influence within the community."
— President of Wiconi International
"While articulating a profound critique of major flaws in the American evangelical church, along with affirming his love for the evangelical community, Paul Louis Metzger offers a theological model for overcoming barriers of race and class within the church. As a Native American, I see today the negative effects of the uniquely Americanized ‘consumerist' version of Christianity that Metzger is unmasking for our reflective examination. . . Metzger asserts that Christians are called to care for the weak, impoverished, marginalized, and oppressed; yet he also argues that we must fundamentally reorient the ways we address people's plight, dying to a kind of self-serving impetus. He offers another path to address their situation, claiming that Christian faith offers energizing hope . . . The invitation of Consuming Jesus to a life of radical reconciliation inspired and driven by the love of Jesus that overcomes the evil one and restores life-giving power to the whole church resonates with my spirit."
"A compelling, practical, challenging, beautiful model for the church today."
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Top Customer Reviews
There are so few books that will challenge where we are as a Christian community with sound biblical support. His theological approach is readable for anyone willing to focus and question concepts that may be unfamiliar. Yes thats right you may actually have to think through this one and not breeze through it, which is not a bad thing once in awhile.
I appreciate his approach which is historical and systematic as it weaves the common theme through characters in history like D.L.Moody and theological truths such as Atonement, Communion, and many others. The ideas and paradigms presented in the book have been central to my daily ministry of community development. Most importantly, they help me understand and come to know on an ever deepening level the one who is My Savior. At the end of the day that is all one would hope for from a book about the consuming love of Jesus.
He argues that the divisions of race and class which plague us within the North American evangelical church are deeply ingrained in structures that are largely invisible to the average conservative American Christian. He continues by offering a theological model for overcoming barriers of race and class within the church.
It is a well-sourced, well-written work, that's very accessible to the average pastor or informed lay leader. This is not a study attempting to jump on the latest emergent band wagon, nor is it a rehash of mid 20th century mainline social gospel concerns. It is a relatively short book that tackles a daunting subject with admirable depth. Check it out and take the plunge. The read is worth the ride.
It is rare to come across a discussion of such issues that actually attempts to get to the roots of the rotting tree in order to open one's heart to the underlying causes of social maladies. Metzger does not simply call for reconciliation and unity--he puts us in the driver's seat and helps us understand how we are reinforcing division, without even being aware of doing so.
This book is excellent reading for anyone who wants to understand how we can better promote and live a lifestyle of unity among others. Metzger's style is a fusion of the academic and the artistic, and his ability to delve deeply into the issues with intellectual vigor while using powerful metaphor to keep our hearts connected to the subject is engaging. This work both honestly exposes and honorably encourages, directing us toward a vision that inspires us to "invest in something of greater value than the stock market."
Metzger builds a case for how divided the church has become, because of its "disordered vision" and its resulting blindness to "omnipresent consumer-market forces, ever-evolving racialization and evangelical social structures", a "fallen power", a world-resistant and worldly gospel instead of the world-changing message that exploded out of Jerusalem over 2000 years ago.
This is where the mirror comes in. Metzger challenges us, he challenges me, about the choices I make in how, where and with whom I fellowship. He writes about the "way churches today cater to the market forces of homogeneity and upward mobility" for "our kind of people". He goes on to state, "Today's problems of race and class in America are not rooted in torture or oppression, but in liberated choice and pleasure: they are bound up with the subtle law of consumer preference." Ouch.
Thankfully, we are not left in our remorse without a message of redemption and hope. Metzger goes on to explain how "reordering" our understanding of cosmic powers, our Christian lives and the body of Christ to which we belong, will create a path out of our dishonoring and dividing consumerism.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you have ever thought about why churches are still divided by race in 2011, "read this book." If you have ever wondered why people who follow a God whose primary message is to... Read morePublished on February 14, 2011 by Jimi Calhoun
(posted by Christopher Laird)
I read Consuming Jesus with great interest to see if the bases were covered on race, class and
consumerism in the Church to my satisfaction. Read more
Finally...a book has entered the dialogue that holds together the difficult tension of pragmatic and local ecclesiology with profound theological depth. Read morePublished on January 26, 2010 by DH
The reorienting of the Church's vision is the path towards moving beyond `race and class divisions in a consumer church. Read morePublished on August 3, 2009 by Dr. Matthew S. Farlow
I loved this book for several reasons.
1. I love this book because it is a critique of evangelicalism by a man who is a committed evangelical. Read more
Does the consumerist mindset of contemporary evangelicalism harm our witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ? Read morePublished on October 19, 2008 by Trevin Wax
If someone is known by the company he keeps, Dr. Paul Louis Metzger is an important prophetic voice for and to 21st century Christianity. Read morePublished on March 21, 2008 by David Sanford