a premature book recommendation
I usually don’t write [at least directly] about the books I’m reading until my end-of-year book reviews posts. But I’m reading a book right now that is, in the words of my dear friend Samantha, ‘tearing me up.’ Not tearing like so many salty water droplets from my eyes; tearing like ripping out and exposing some of my most habitual, interior brokenness and turning my self-righteous reckoning of myself entirely upside down.
Frightening and wonderful and savagely Spirit-ual, right?
Anyway, I don’t blame you if you’ve already abandoned reading this post. But here’s a little taste of the book in my own words, just in case you’re intrigued and want to jump right in!
The book is Repenting of Religion by Gregory A. Boyd. Its basic premise reminds me an awful lot of a study (Gospel Transformation Workbook) that I did exactly eight years ago – the study about which my friend Samantha was referring in her original ‘tearing us up’ description. You may not agree with all of Boyd’s personal theology – then again I’d challenge you to find any single human whose personal theology and Christian practice you could agree with in its entirety! – but, in my humble opinion, at least so far, this book has steered clear of most of the so-called controversial stuff. If you don’t listen to Boyd on other stuff, that’s fine. But hear him out on this. Even if you don’t fully agree, it’ll make you think.
He says that the opposite of love is – wait for it – judgment. (That one has been slowly settling into my mind and heart for months now.) He goes all of the way back to Genesis and says that, as Christians, we often still ‘eat from the Garden of Eden’s tree of the knowledge of good & evil’ whenever we put ourselves in the judgmental position to determine whether other people are doing good things or evil things. He says that we have been given a God-like capacity to love, but that pridefully we are not satisfied with that! Instead, we insist on assuming a God-like capacity to judge – a capacity that was forbidden us when God told us not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – getting fulfillment from our judgment (and felt moral superiority over others) rather than from God. He writes from a lot of other New Testament passages about judgment Matthew 7, Romans 14, James 4, to name a few. He says that our posture toward others is ultimately to be love, not judgment.
Ok, now it’s just the crazy-evangelist in me (you’ve got to read what I’m reading) just rambling and not doing Boyd justice. It’s so much better than what I’m sputtering here. He is a pretty straightforward writer; chapter 2 is a little bit repetitively thick, but it gets better. At least through chapter six. I’ll let you know at the end of the year if it took a weird turn on me so that I’ll have to withdraw my recommendation. Or this just might be my “I insist!” book for 2016. Only time will tell.
Oh, and just so you know: I’ll
judge love you even if you don’t read it. 😉