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The Jesus of Suburbia: Have We Tamed the Son of God to Fit Our Lifestyle? Paperback – October 8, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Expect no sugar-coated sweetness about "felt needs" and in-church coffee bars from Erre, pastor of teaching at Rock Harbor Church in Costa Mesa, Calif. Expect, instead, compelling discussion of how the Christian church has lost sight of the revolutionary teaching and love of Jesus. "Much of the message of American Christianity presents Jesus as the purveyor of the American Dream," he says. American Christians, he claims, have reduced Jesus to a study of risk management; we want him to be "predictable and safe." Erre also uses the adjectives "insecure, threatened, naive, simplistic, mean and shortsighted" to describe many of today's churches. He lambastes our love of theology instead of Jesus, our contentment with "simply knowing about him instead of knowing him." While this protest continues in the vein of other recent books that take a hard look at Jesus and the church (Jesus Mean and Wild; Out of Your Comfort Zone), it offers a fresh look at how the American church must begin "demonstrating the message of Christ," not merely explaining it. After all, says Erre, "if you follow Jesus, you follow the most radical man who ever existed." (Oct. 10)
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"...a compelling discussion of how the Christian church has lost sight of the revolutionary teaching and love of Jesus." -- Publishers Weekly, August 14th, 2006
Top customer reviews
I found that reading "...Suburbia" a chapter at a time worked best for me. Reading it is not like reading a page-turning novel. Reading short passages in one sitting allowed me to reflect on what the author said. The chapters are not overly lengthy, and they are divided into sections that make tracking one's progress easy. Erre offers much scripture and extensive sources in his notes not only as documentation but also to allow the reader to pursue the subjects further.
I will be reading the book again shortly. I will be meeting with several friends for a book study in which we will consider ways that we need to rethink and change the ways we live.
The first chapter reminds us that the Jesus movement as depicted in the Bible was a revolution that was in your face. Caesar Augustus was considered Savior and Lord, but Luke tells us int he Christmas story that the Christ child is the true emperor, he alone is Savior and Lord.
Chapter two talks about forcefully laying hold of the kingdom by ministering to others in the name of Jesus. He mentions an newly saved AIDS patient going to college campuses and sharing his faith in Christ, and a woman with MS who made a decision to share her faith and her love of life with others. Erre does not err when he says that instead of sitting around waiting for God to show us His will, we need to do the ministries He lays on our hearts, and He will stop us or leads us to other things if He has something else planned for us. His example was Acts 16, when the Spirit of Jesus wouldn't let Paul go into Bithynia, but instead, He gave Paul a dream of a man in Macedonia pleading for him to go there.
There is a great chapter about the scandal of grace. He talks about the "whoeverness" of Jesus, that Jesus ministered to whoever, even to people that others might be horrified to hang with. He discusses Jesus touching and speaking a word of healing to a leper in Matthew 8, and Jesus reaching out to a "scum of the earth" tax collector in Luke 19. Erre talks about seeing himself for the first time as one of the whoevers that Jesus came to seek and to save.
There is also a dynamic chapter about the danger of theology. In short, the danger of theology is that we sometimes substitute knowing facts about Jesus with knowing Jesus Himself. Erre points out in James 2:19 and in Mark 1 that the demons had a better theological knowledge of Christ than any of the disciples, and they didn't know Jesus Himself. Powerful point! Erre goes on to show what real belief in Christ looks like. He describes the sinful woman in Luke 7 who was willing to break social protocol just to get close to Christ and worship tearfully at His feet. Belief in Jesus, therefore, is doing everything you can to get close to Jesus.
Erre also has a chapter about how in the eyes of Jesus and other pious Jewish people, all of life has a spiritual element, and that everything we do should be done for the glory of God in the name of Christ.
There are several more chapters, but this is enough to give you a taste for the book. Do not substitute a false American Dream Jesus for the real, wild, revolutionary Jesus of the Bible. Give your life to the true Jesus.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to examine their Christian life and make changes that are needed.