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New Way to Be Human: A Provocative Look at What It Means to Follow Jesus Paperback – March 16, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
A singer-songwriter, record producer and author (At the Crossroads), Peacock proclaims the "new way to be human" both positively and negativelyto be truly human is to embrace God's kingdom, bringing every area of one's life under divine rule; it also means abandoning the dictates of dead religion. Believers must "step into their role in the ongoing faith story of God's people." Scripture tells this story, but Peacock reminds us that it's also lived by Jesus' followers. Faith withers in those who reduce the story to a formula or ignore its implications: Peacock gently criticizes those who are materialistic or who oversimplify the gospel. The book begins with Peacock recalling a conversation with a college student. That's appropriate, because the next 18 chapters, full of earnestness, rambling and epiphany, resemble a late-night discussion in a dorm. Peacock's fans won't be the only ones fascinated as he tells his own story while urging the reader to become part of God's. In touching on work, relationships, creativity, theology and epistemology, New Way tries to do too much. But taken in small doses, it may refresh life-weary Christians who are asking, "Is this all there is?"
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“New Way to be Human is…an alarm clock for the soul, ringing loudly, welcoming the dawn of a new day.”
–from the foreword by Jon Foreman of Switchfoot
“Artists are the best theologians. They feel things that are true before theologians can jargonize them into obscurity. What Charlie Peacock has written in this book is a good example of theological truth stated in a way that only an artist can.”
–Tony Campolo, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Eastern University
“New Way to Be Human is a ‘just in time’ book for me, speaking to many of the questions I have been wrestling with concerning how to actually live out this kingdom dream. This conversation about storied living is helping me expose and shed some of the sub-plots in my life that are incongruent with the larger story God is telling through his word and work. Charlie inspires me to wake up each day to be a student-follower of Jesus Christ and nothing else.”
–Sara Groves, recording artist and songwriter
“Charlie Peacock takes us from the prophets of Israel to the prophets of song and cinema. He leads us on a journey that passes loopy stories and scholarly citations. It answers questions that are so real, so direct, so heartfelt that you may not be sure whether you are having fun or becoming a more authentic disciple.”
–Dan Doriani, author of The Life of a God-Made Man and Putting the Truth to Work
“Few people have the necessary gifts to communicate wonder in both music and words, and Charlie Peacock is one of those rare artists. In both the poetry of his lyrics and the thoughtful prose of his books, he asks just the right questions so that we see more deeply. Those hungry to be fully human will gravitate to New Way to be Human , not because Charlie is clever (though he is), but because his heart and imagination is aflame with The Story that brings both grace and hope in our fragmented world.”
–Denis D. Haack, Ransom Fellowship, editor of Critique
“This is a splendid book about real life in a good but fallen world where grace yet abounds. Peacock writes with compassion, integrity, and discernment.”
–Quentin J. Schultze, author of Habits of the High-Tech Heart: Living Virtuously in the Information Age
“This book will make you want to live. Not a tedious breathing in and out, in and out…but how you’ve known it should be. Your ideas about relationship with the Divine will expand.”
–David Crowder of The David Crowder Band
“There is something very freeing in Charlie’s words: ‘You can still be a student-follower of Jesus and not possess all truth, once-for-all universal certainty, and the answer to every question.’ Much of my experience with American Christianity has been like an overly simplistic tract that tries too hard and says too little. This book has inspired me to reread and retell the Story with ‘the widest, clearest view.’ In sharing the clues he has found along the way, Charlie reminds me that I must humbly embrace what I know for sure, yet hold myself open to the mystery of the bigger story.”
–Christine Dente, songwriter and recording artist (Out of the Grey)
“I’ve known Charlie Peacock for twenty years as a songwriter, artist, and producer, but now he explodes on the scene as a deep-thinking theologian. Charlie has given this Wesleyan new insight on what it means to be fully sanctified. You will love New Way to Be Human.”
–Barry Landis, president of Word Label Group
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I agree with so much of the content of this book, but was turned off by the rambling, dusty way he covered some of the material that's been covered to many, so many, many times before.
However, I found many of the insights and suggestions in the later chapters stunningly on-target. So, if I could recommend to you chapters 11-19 as incredibly good, and suggest you skim the first half of the book I would. This book would have benefited from some judicious editing. By only eliminating 40% of the content it would be a 5 out of 5.
He spends the most time on marriage and I think does his best work with this topic. In a chapter titled Passionate Realism, he says that "Marriage is a covenant of two people agreeing to recover together, each in different ways at different paces, both under the tutelage of the Teacher Jesus." and "Marriages are little films showing the kingdom lifestyle of forgiveness". In another chapter he says that "A good marriage should be the Art of God in the world pointing to his existance, care and excellence." Inspiring words indeed.
Other good passages are found on the topics of work ("The goal of work is faithfulness to God, people and place") and creativity ("The Creator made us to be little creators with the responsibility of meaningful work and purpose in the world.")
All in all a very good read and an inspiration to follow Jesus with greater honesty and passion. Keep on writing Charlie!
The introductory chapters to the book are slightly weighed down as Peacock seems to struggle for where to begin. "New Way to be Human" really doesn't hit its stride until Peacock takes his theories and applies them to our everyday lives, showing how our faith affects every area of our lives. He shows just how interconnected we remain to what Christ did for us. What he is saying isn't necessarily revolutionary; many within various Christian circles and communities have believed this for a long time. (One example: "Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L'Engle, first published in 1980) Yet it is a message that needs to be repeated, if not shouted, in order for it to resonante with the vast majority. Perhaps Peacock's book will do the trick.
I think this book will excite you and give you a desire to live life the way it should be. But decide for yourself.
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