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Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile Hardcover – September 22, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
The author of Velvet Elvis and Sex God teams up with fellow pastor Golden to write a manifesto that packs as much sociopolitical zing as rhetorical punch. If Americans today miss the central message of the Bible, say the authors, the reason is that the United States is an empire like those described in Scripture that build powerful armies and seek to protect what they accumulate rather than promote justice and mercy. Chapter titles such as "Swollen-bellied black babies, soccer moms on Prozac, and the mark of the beast" will provoke many readers. Likely to get a bigger rise is the suggestion that when the Bible says enemies will one day worship together, that includes today's enemies, the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The writing is frequently paragraphed into very short chunks of prose. This dramatic book is politically charged but not party-bent, bearing a message evangelicals need: that Jesus didn't come just to save people for heaven someday but to transform his followers and the physical world now.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From the Back Cover
It's a book about faith and fear,
wealth and war,
poverty, power, safety, terror,
Bibles, bombs, and homeland insecurity,
It's about empty empires and the truth that everybody's a priest, it's about oppression, occupation, and what happens when Christians support, animate and participate in the very things Jesus came to set people free from.
It's about what it means to be a part of the church of Jesus in a world where some people fly planes into buildings while others pick up groceries in Hummers.
Top customer reviews
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A spiritual dryness had descended on my life in the past few weeks, and I was questioning whether I was one of the Christians that was talked about in the NT, "whose love had grown cold, because iniquity abounded in the world."
Rob Bell's book was an answer to prayer for me, as I had desperately prayed that the joy of the Lord would be restored to me. My whole outlook has changed about Christian Service, and what it means to serve God. I'm so thankful for young men like Rob who are willing to speak a word that will probably be misunderstood and criticized by the Church Establishment, but is God's Word to the Church today.
Fast forwarding to the present, Bell and Colden have a blunt message for Americans: the United States in an empire whose actions must be seen in parallel with Egypt, Babylon, and Rome. We're the bad guys, and Jesus wants to save us Christians.
This is tolerably close to my own reading of the "big picture" in the Bible, so it didn't strike me as novel (and I found some minor errors along the way). For many religious Americans, I suspect it would be shocking, even scandalous. All the more reason to read it!
Much of the text is written in the style of a sermon. If you're reading the book, it often helps to imagine it being spoken because
there are sentence fragments
saying the same thing twice,
before Bell and Colden move to a new idea.
You might enjoy that style, or you might find it annoying. Just know that it's an important part of the book. It also makes the text a lot shorter than the number of pages might lead you to expect.
The book's production values are clearly meant to be modern, even "hip" or "cool" (to use two unhip, uncool words), but I found them distracting. The book has green-edged pages and some green pages. The font is distracting, even hard to read. There's a pseudo-font that the authors use throughout the book - - look at the picture of the cover, and you'll see, I'm sure, that the white blocks spell out the title of the book in this pseudo-font.
This could be a great book for the right audience. I'd love to see how it would go over in a high school religious education classroom.