Water to Wine: Some of My Story Paperback – January 4, 2016
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About the Author
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- Paperback : 204 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0692569189
- ISBN-13 : 978-0692569184
- Publisher : Spello Press (January 4, 2016)
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.51 x 8.5 inches
- Language: : English
Best Sellers Rank:
#110,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #2,282 in Christian Spiritual Growth (Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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For those of you who are familiar with Brian Zahnd's work - his books, blogs, and sermon-podcasts - you won't be disappointed! In fact get ready to be overwhelmed. The poetry alone, included here, makes it worth ordering the book, but there's so much more. And for those who don't know Zahnd's work, I can tell you, you've been missing out! Brian Zahnd is a pastor, a poet, prophet and theologian. A true craftsman in the art of the written and spoken word.
You may think you came across this author by random chance. Maybe so. Or you may sometime down the road come to see, as I have, it wasn't random chance at all, but Grace. Since I found Zahnd 4 years ago on the internet I can't come close to adequately expressing how much he has, with the heart of a pastor, helped me navigate my own spiritual transition and lead me into a much richer walk of faith.
As prophets do, Zahnd here in Water To Wine offers critique of the church. Specifically the Christian church of North America. He has seen clearly and lived through many of the ills of the church which he addresses. Begining with "certitude" Brian points out how many Christians today have abandoned authentic faith for the easier, yet superficial walk of certainty, where wrestling with doubt (part of the fabric of faith) is considered back-sliding. He calls out the consumer-christianty he sees where suffering is avoided at all costs... the entertainment-oriented, partisan-political agenda, motivational seminar, you-can-have-it-all, success in life brand of christian chuch so previlant today. He looks at all of this, not with a pointing finger but with the invitation to let it all go. There is so much more than that watered-down way, there is still the Jesus Way - the robust, fascinating, beautiful and mysterious Jesus Way.
Water To Wine is a hope-filled story. The door is open. Get this book. Enjoy the ride!
Let me share some key points that particularly resonated with me.
“I want the vintage wine. The kind of faith marked by mystery, grace, and authenticity.” Wow! Read that again. I too want mystery and the grace of God. I want to learn who this God is. How do I best do this? By letting go of my preconceived notions, I can let Mystery teach me. That is what I want! I agree with Brian when he says, “Years later I would discover that my faith needed more mystery if I was going to maintain energy over the long haul.”
“Where there are no doubts, no questions, no perplexities, there can be no growth.” As I continue to let go and open to Mystery I will doubt and question. They will help me grow and continue on my path of letting God teach me. Eventually I will let go of these doubts and questions too. It is then that I will be even more open to learning from and experiencing the Great Teacher.
“This much I’m sure of, Orthodox mystery, Catholic beauty, Anglican liturgy, Protestant audacity, Evangelical energy, Charismatic reality—I need it all!” Yes! We need diversity. Look at God’s creation. It is indeed very diverse. It all belongs. Everything belongs!
“I’ll just say that the most important factor in my second half of life journey has involved learning how to pray well.” Brian also mentions, “Contemplation, or contemplative prayer, has the potential to be the most transformative practice in our life.” I completely agree. I have been a centering prayer practitioner for over two years now. It has transformed me too. I highly encourage everyone to find a silent prayer practice. Silence teaches us who we are. It teaches us how to live. And I too agree with Brian,
“Spiritual formation happens over a lifetime, not overnight.”
“Salvation is about being human. This is why the Word became flesh—human flesh.” We are both divine beings with a small “d” and human beings. Of course Jesus was a divine being with a big “D” and a human being. When I let my humanity and inner divinity work together I get beautiful actions.
Read Brian’s book. I think you too will enjoy it. It will help you as you journey on the road of Love! “If we stay on the road following the Jesus way, what we discover is that we are walking farther and farther down the road of love.”
Top reviews from other countries
A bit is about his life. So far.....but loads is just about his belief. I wanted to know about him! I know his theology. This is so very dry reading material. It does not flow like his other books. The theology ones are a joy to read. Not this. In fact I have skimmed some it, it’s such hard work. It’s like trying to eat porridge without milk. Or coffee grounds without water. I don’t know what went wrong here. But it clearly did! And the only bits that he does mention about himself, are about how he and his wife are constantly.......
And I mean constantly,........going on holiday! All over the world. A pang of jealously here, yes. But it is hard to read about a man who goes on and on about how poverty and those saints who practised it with God; are so wonderful to follow. And him saying its such a holy thing, indeed a thing that you need; when all you read in between is the next place abroad he visited! I am not quite sure how he adds the two up! But there is most certainly a little bit wrong here. Sorry Brian. I do not enjoy this book. Or it’s preachy under tone. A little more love and understanding, and a little less assuming how bad the church is might help! Some of this seems more about hot air. And him pointing to how wonderful his gifting is. Or how wonderful he is himself. I am really disappointed. Possibly in the future I will read it again and realise the place I am at may have clouded my own thoughts on this book. If so I will redo this review.
*Water To Wine* traces Brian Zahnd's personal journey from drinking and dispensing 'grape juice' Christianity, to being awakened and intoxicated by the vintage wine of the Christian faith.
Brian's words are a prophetic challenge and call to certain segments of the western church to let go of it's immaturity, consumerism and marriage to modern civil religion, and to once more rediscover and journey on the ancient pilgrim trail formed by those who traveled in the centuries before us. This is a summons to be re-acquainted with our rich heritage; to follow the road-markings of sacrament, creed and prayer; to seek a discipleship which is historically communal and cross-culturally diverse. This is an invitation to lose ourselves in the way of Jesus.
Zahnd's previous works (*Beauty Will Save the World* and *A Farewell To Mars*) have all been encouraging and inspirational, giving a resonance to my own wandering over the last seven years. And *Water To Wine* follows suit in a beautiful and humble way.
This is great piece of spiritual writing. A road-map to authentic religious experience. And a book all Christians should read.
---Tristan Sherwin, author of *Love: Expressed*
...it's time to start taking the Sermon on the Mount seriously.
Brian Zahnd's testimony is one of quiet, radical change, and a commitment to the peaceful, joyful core of Christianity found in the teachings of the real Jesus. His journey is a painful detox from the over-nationalistic hijacking of the gospel that is heartrendingly widespread in some US evangelical churches, that God 'bless' our missiles as they crush 'His' 'enemies'. Zahnd hasn't got more followers from the process of repenting from the adultery of church and state that seem like a cultural blindspot for many US disciples. But what Zahnd has done is taken the historical Jesus seriously, and become far more inclusive and understanding in his outlook to believers and unbelievers alike.
I recommend this book to all American/Western Christians who are confused with how snugly their political beliefs seem to fit into the priorities of the God of ALL peoples, languages and countries. It never ceases to amaze me how outward looking YWHW has always been, even since Abraham. Zahnd's expanded Lord's Prayers alone makes it worth getting the book, "Thy politics be done". I'm not sure if it is Zahnd's quote, or him referencing another, but the main takeaway is that 'The gospel of Jesus more political than anyone realises, but in a way that no one imagines.' I feel Greg Boyd and Shane Clayborne would approve this message of de-glorifying war. Boyd's 'Myth of a Christian Nation' is essential reading to anyone wanting to speak about the 'Christian' nature of America, which is theistic at best.
Zahnd's book is an honest and engaging story about how to follow the call of Jesus to be a peace-wager in a nation that often has more characteristics in common with Rome than with Israel. He is probably harder on himself on his old sins that I want here to call him out on, but it is nice reading about a conversion much the same in nature as the apostle Paul's. Christians are destined to look a bit funny and ambiguous in the eyes of the world, if we are truly to follow Jesus. 'Pacifist,' 'leftie,' 'dreamer,' 'over-optimist,' 'traitor' - most of these labels could spring to people's minds, even people in the church, as the Spirit sends us to embody the seventh Beatitude, but it is obviously far more worthwhile to following the Prince of Peace into new territory. I'm glad Brian Zahnd took the plunge and encourages all American disciples of Jesus to begin rethinking and repenting as well.