Saturday, June 22, 2002

One of things that I'd like to see this blog become is a public place where we work out some of faith in a shared space. Kind of an Open Source Faith if you will. Here are some of my thought from reading Following Jesus Without Embarrassing God by Tony Campolo.

This 1997 book covers such topics as How to be Rich and still be a Christian, How to be an Environmentalist without being a Tree Hugger and How to be Sexually Attractive without being a Obscene. While each chapter was interesting in and of it’s self ,what caught my attention were the reoccurring themes in the book.

The most helpful theme is that of surrendering to the person of Jesus each day. To spend time each morning just in silence with the holy spirit, in inviting God’s presence and Love. Tony comes back to this point in almost every chapter. For instance in the Chapter How to raise kids without going on Guilt Trips Tony gives some valuable advice to parents of children approaching adult hood. But with that advice he reminds us to spend time in prayer before taking up a difficult topic with out children.
In silence yield to Jesus and invite him to give you wisdom and words.

For me this book has shown me how integral our devotional life should be with the rest of our life.

The other major theme of the book is post modernism. This is a bit ironic because the specific section of the book on post modernism isn’t done that well. I much prefer. Truth is Stanger than It used to be by J. Richard Middleton and Brian J. Walsh. However in the rest of the book Tony shows him self to be a non-modernist thinker. I'm not sure Tony would accept the post-modernist moniker, but he clearly rejects the modernist thinking. This shows up in many ways. He refers to Saint Francis as a pre modernist thinker. He refer several times to the fact that he beliefs that Faith is an a priory decision that we use reason to defend. And he doesn't just apply this to the Christian Faith but also to other faiths such a Scientism. I must admit I find this both a comfort and a disturbance. I find it a comfort, because it conforms what I have seen that intellectual objects to faith are usually red herrings. When intellectual objects are met people just move on to the next objection. If find it a disturbance because it can paint a picture where reason can not sway us from our commitments. That is a little scary. Scott Adams is found of pointing out that the brain takes action first then invokes reason to justify those actions. See this review of the Dilbert Future as an example of post-modernist thinking.

Another example of Tony's non-modernist thinking is the chapter How to be a Theologian without Being and Intellectual Snob. Now I'm not qualified to be an intellectual snob, but I still find a way to fake it. Here's the essence of the chapter

Our relationship with God is not determined by how smart we are, but by how much we yield to him in Love.

And for me that's a real challenge. I've always tend to the intellectual side of the faith. I'm always willing to think about God, I'm just not sure I'm always up to encountering God. I've found this book to be a real challenge. I'd recommend you take a look.


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