|Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile
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There is a church not too far from us that recently added a $25 million addition to their building.
Our local newspaper ran a front-page story not too long ago about a study revealing that one in five people in our city lives in poverty.
This is a book about those two numbers.
- Title Far Better Than The Contents!
Most of the book is an overview of the Bible, building on the East as a building block throughout the book.
Only to the end of the book is there really a challenge to the modern church, and it's mostly for the American church.
Read Jesus and the rest of the NT instead!...more info
- Felt Like a Blog?!?!
Rob Bell is a gifted communicator. Many people think he is exceptionally deep. I am not one of those people. This book felt like a series of blogs bound together. I certainly agree with Bell that we need to take care of the Widows and Orphans. Unfortunately, Bell does a horrible job in explaining his point biblically. He takes little insignificant points in a story line and ties them into other little insignificant points made in another story to create his theology on taking care of widows and orphans and following after God. It saddens me when I see this happen by people who are leaders (non-leaders???) of a movement. An example of this is seen when Bell speaks about how Chariots are used for war, Israel then goes to war hurting people using chariots, Bush then uses war to hurt people (random point by Bell that did not need to be made, I guess I know who he voted for in this election now, but he is cool and can make points like that), and then the chariot is then redeemed when the Ethiopian Eunuch is saved while riding in a chariot. He pulls out the chariots in the stories, when the chariot has nothing to do with the points of the different stories.
On another note, I get angry when people make assumptions on things that they know very little if nothing about. Bell gets into his economic views, but it is clear that he does not understand how the economy works. The economy is not a fixed pie. All because John Doe is wealthy does not mean I cannot be wealthy as well. The economy grows with resources (not just oil, gold, tin, cotton, also including human resources, ingenuity, creativity in products and meeting needs etc...) America is the wealthiest country in the world because it was creative and made products that sell, the taxes are low and corruption is low (although my Bush hating friends may disagree with no real facts). The people of this country work harder than other country and put more hours in while being more efficient. I could go on about his economic views. He should not make points about this until he understands it better. I do agree with him though that America could do a better job of helping poor children with swollen bellies though. I think it is also important to remember that America gives more in charity than any other country in the world. Do not just look at the governmental statistics for charity, look at the private sector statistics for charity. We give more than any other country!!!
In all, Bell does a terrible job at actually pulling the text apart in a Biblical manner. All three of his books are like this.
- Bell's Best Work Yet
Rob Bell journey's into new ground with this book. Some have already said that the new ground is Liberation Theology lite, but I disagree. Rather Bell is taking the Imperial context of the Bible seriously, from Exodus on.
You can see that Bell is very influenced in this book by Richard Horsley and others who use the Imperial context to shape their thinking.
In this book Rob uses the focal point of the book Exodus to create a distinction between Christians "still in exile", thinking in the way of empire against those thinking in the context of the Kingdom of God.
Rob asks the question, how can we as Christians be a part of the greatest military superpower in the world and have our leader quote hymns once he has conquered a middle eastern country? Bell puts this against the story of the Jews, who were on the underside of history, being controlled by Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. If we are a part of the empire, and God is on the side of the poor and the oppressed. Should we be worried?
In a talk Rob Bell gave on this at an Off The Map Live event, he went into more detail on certain aspects of his own churches journey, as well as an interview. This the podcast link [...]...more info
- rob's best book yet
rob bell's newest book (his third) is his best one yet, i believe. his main premise is that the bible should be read as the story of exile and reconciliation. and he traces this storyline throughout the narrative arc of scripture. peppered with the storytelling that rob is known for (stories from scripture, stories from jewish midrash, and modern day stories), the book wanders through the old testament - starting with "the first book of the bible: exodus" - and into the new, with more and more implications for "our current exile" as the book progresses. it's a deeply theological book, but extremely accessible. it's a "framing" book for followers of jesus, seeking to understand the story of god and how we fit into it. rob doesn't shy away from taking jabs at the "empire" we live in, the spiritualization of violence and oppression, or the mindset of american christianity. i doubt sarah palin would like this book.
personally, i tire quickly of rob's single-sentence paragraphs, found in strings on most pages. it's a neat literary device to use occasionally. but it grows old for me.
but, other than that minor issue (which readers of other rob bell books will certainly recognize - maybe he's attempting to write in twitter boxes of 140 words or less?), this is a profoundly good book that will certainly impact my thinking from here on out.
here are a few choice sentences that captured my imagination:
jesus wants to save us from making the good news about another world and not this one.
jesus wants to save us from preaching a gospel that is only about individuals and not about the systems that enslave them.
jesus wants to save us from shrinking the gospel down to a transaction about the removal of sin and not about every single particle of creation being reconciled to its maker.
jesus want to save us from religiously sanctioned despair, the kind that doesn't believe the world can be made better, the kind that either blatently or subtly teaches people to just be quiet and behave and wait for something to happen "someday."
- Had to stop reading
I read Velvet Elvis and loved it. Looking forward to this book but after a couple of chapters I had to stop reading. Why? He totally distorts what the Old Testament is saying. But here's the caveat...I'm not a Bible scholar and I don't even "trust" the Old Testament. But when Rob ignores that the OT states that GOD wanted the Hebrews to totally destroy the inhabitants of the Promised Land we have a problem. Why? Because Rob has based his whole foundation on his belief that God, in the OT, heard the voice of the oppressed (in Egypt) and that the Hebrews ultimately forgot the lesson of their Exodus and became oppressors themselves. And here's the ultimate irony for me...I wish Rob's version was THE Biblical version. But it's not. So I won't waste time reading something that he is basing on scripture. His message is good. His attributing it to God using selected verses from the OT doesn't fly with me. I'll try reading the rest but not because Rob has proved anything to me scripturally in his first chapters.
Plus reading it I feel like I'm back in elementary school being talked down to.
Glad others are enjoying it but can't give it more than a 1, possibly a 2. ...more info
- Makes you angry
I didn't like hearing some of the things Rob Bell said in this book. It made me uncomfortable,offended and at times angry,but I must say in a good way. Much of what is taught in main stream evangelical churches is very little of what Jesus Christ taught. Why do many Christians seem no different than the world around them. In Ron Siders "The scandal of the evangelical conscience" he states that the divorce rate of "Christians" mirrors that of the non-evangelicals--what's wrong with this picture? Like Shane Claiborne,Brain McLaren and the aforementioned Sider, Rob Bell is trying to persuade us to read the manual a little differently and determine what we could be doing better. If this offering doesn't make you at least a little uptight and uneasy then somethings wrong....more info
- as minimalist and evocative as a haiku
an audacious task: the whole bible (OT and NT) condensed into merely 181 pages.
but, this is not a CLIFFS NOTES version of HOLY SCRIPT, not by a long shot.
BELL and GOLDEN have crafted a re-telling of the GREATEST STORY ever told
in a manner that is as minimalist and evocative as a haiku!
the cadence of their prose invites a meditative venture from
habituated readings unto the place
where we come to " know the [story] for the first time" (t s elliot).
it still IS the most WONDER full tale. ...more info
- Smooth, fast paced, and yet thick with content
I was very impressed at how much was said in so little space, and the smoothness of the writing encourages even those who have a hard time reading to sit and enjoy. The comparison between Solomon and the U.S. today is chilling with truth and conviction. Rob and Don are masterful at cutting the reader with truth without bleeding them out with guilt or judgement. There are very strong points and statements about today's church, but expressed in such a way to invite change, rather than cause a divide or bitterness. As someone who has been studying and teaching through the Old Testament this past year, I was incredibly grateful and impressed by the way Rob and Don walk the reader through the scriptures connecting the old with the new with such precision. You are given a big picture look at the Bible, which is how we are to truly see it, to have the entire story laid before us. This book is both for the theologian and someone new to the faith with the hunger to grow and learn. Hopefully this is just the beginning of something new and that there is more fresh teaching to come. That the church would take notice, and in humility look to be broken open and poured out for the healing of the world. ...more info
- Not worth the paper it's printed on!!
Maybe Rob should study the Bible more hermeneutically, and spend less time on monasticism and ecclesiology. Should we not vote and exercise our rights as citizens? Paul did. Preach the gospel correctly Rob and quit rambling constantly about how misguided YOU think the Church is. Jesus wants to save the lost. Christians are already saved. Yes, the church can and should be more giving (and loving), as long as the gospel is preached accurately and verbally at the same time. Our country is not a theocracy. Our government is not the church. Make a NOOMA that has you opening the Bible and actually reading it (correctly, in context)....more info
- factory reject
The book I recieved was bound upside down, which was a let down. I lost a lot of trust in Amazon....more info
- One of the best three books I've read this year
This is the only book by Rob Bell that I've ever read and I thought it was terrific. This book and "The Shack" by Young and "Reimagining Church" by Viola have been the best three books I've read this year. All of them have changed my thinking about Christianity and church in a big way and for the better....more info
- Jesus Came to Save Christians
Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile A comfortable-to-read, thought-provoking work. Bell presents a critically necessary question for the Christian community. The over-dramatized, legalized, scientifically explained Jesus becomes freshly human and touchable again within the words of Bell. His work challenges the faithfully strong as well as encourages the newly found child of God. Most inspiring is Bell's easily understood language and noted, extended materials. All of this forms a comfortable pair of reading slippers to walk the road with a loving, faithful Master. ...more info
- spot on
new exodus understanding of scripture
well thought through
points to some great resources for further study
even - spoken from a the perspective of man who pastors a diverse church community - soldiers and the non-violent, mohawks and the gray hairs, conservatives and liberals.
- most importantly - Jesus is put front and center....more info
- No, really - He really does...
Rob Bell is one of the best storytellers going right now. With this new book, subtitled "A Manifesto For A Church In Exile", Bell and his co-writer Don Golden have something to say, some things to challenge, and some folks to inspire and scare, just a little maybe.
The story of Israel being delivered from Egypt, falling back into sin and forgetfulness before God, falling back into captivity in Babylon, being saved-ish again even as the Roman Empire takes over - all while having the promise of Messiah from the God they've been following, the God they've been appeasing, the God they're relying on to overthrow the Gentiles and to build them into His own powerful state. The metaphor is a good one for me. I love "journey" and "process" tales, and I think they do the best at getting after how we should grow and change as humans and as Christians. Bell & Golden do a great job with the implications of the storyline from one to another. I caught that their take on the Bible's narrative followed a similar cycle as the arcs in the book of Judges - fall, trouble, raise up a hero, win, fall again. Over the larger timeline, Israel does the same thing, and we as Christians in the Western Church today are in the same rut, too.
America today is "Empire". We have more wealth, more food, more water, more resource - or if not, we use more wealth, more food, more water, more resources - than anyone else on the globe. We are the Rome of our time, and yet we think as Israel. We think we're in control because of God's blessing. We see "Abundance" as "Entitlement" in many ways (chapter five). We expect to have what we need when we need it, a presupposition of credit that is at least partly to blame for the current "crisis" in our financial stakes (compare Bell & Golden's book with McLaren's Everything Must Change when discussing resources and security). And in the midst of Empire, we have lost sight of being the people of God. That's where I think the gist of this "manifesto" rests: calling out Christians to be saved, to live differently, to be anti-Empire in the midst of the Empire. Some might see that as a lack of patriotism, but I think the call here is to a deeper commitment to be real about our Christianity in a way that is more beneficial and ultimately more patriotic than we've shown in our past....more info
- not a wise buy
christians should stay away from rob bell products and teaching. He is media savvy and appeals culturally to this generation, but if you listen carefully His teaching is laced with things that subtly call into question and every now and then blatantly undermine the foundational core doctrines of our faith. ...more info
- NOOMA in Print
If you like Rob Bell's NOOMA videos, you will like the way this book reads. Bell has a great way of relating scripture to real people in a way that makes sense to us. Jesus Wants to Save Christians is the tale of how God's people keep turning from Him and finding themselves in exile from Him. Are we in exile now? Are we about to be? How and when will God lead His bride (the Church) back to the New Jerusalem? The book will make Christians who are a little too comfortable, a little too lazy, a little too self-righteous remember what Jesus did for us and what we are supposed to do in return....more info
- Liberation Theology puts on funky glasses
You can give it a an eye-catching green and gray package, yet Bell, and his fellow author Golden, are simply repackaging the America-hating Liberation Theology of another generation. Both see wealth and war through the skinny, yet stylish, glasses of a subjective hermenutic, not grounded in careful Biblical exegesis but rather colored with a Marxist driven isogesis of scripture. Bell and Golden take their preconceived notions and go running for a Hebrew narrative proof text to support them. The key error of their theology is to think that Jesus has already ushered in His future kingdom and we should be beating our swords into plowshares, and getting cozy in our possession free communes. Do the disadvantaged of Bell's community live under his roof with free access to all he possess? Do his children have pet vipers and lions to play with? I think not. The kingdom Jesus was talking about is future tense, and the new Exodus begins with a Second Coming. I shudder to think of the real "violence" the world would witness if Bell and his followers were in charge. Could it be that, David & Solomon's kingdoms, and dare I say the United States, were blessed by God to possess both wealth and power to create a climate most favorable for the advancing of the message of the Gospel? Certainly there will always be abuses, but what we need to do is to use wealth and power wisely, not be ashamed of it.
- Not Quite Up To Par
This is the third book by Rob Bell. And I think it may be his weakest. In Jesus Wants to Save Christians, Bell draws comparisons to the current political activism of some Evangelical Christian circles and Rome, The United States and Rome. Both Rome and The USA are "empires". Both use the expression peace through force. Both were occupying another country.
Whether you agree with Bell's accusations, his conclusions bring out some great thought and debate. Check out some of these stats:
Every 7 seconds, a child under age 5 dies of hunger. Americans throw away 14 % of their food.
More than half of the world lives on less than 2 dollars a day. The average American teenager spends $150 a week.
Most of the people in the world do not own a car. 1/3 of American families own 3 cars.
Americans spend more annually on trash bags than half the world does on all goods.
These stats are found on page 122 & 123 of the book. And they're not meant to give you guilt. They aren't meant to give you reason to hate America. They are meant to get you off your seat and be passionate about the things Jesus is passionate about.
While not as good as Velvet Elvis or Sex God, Jesus Wants to Save Christians is a great read for any follower of Christ. ...more info
- Another IMPORTANT read for "Christians"
an easy read, with some potentially life-shifting details.
in the classic Rob Bell style.
it will test itself, it is good....more info
- Good, but thin.
I bought it yesterday, and just finished it, i had the day off today. It's not a hard read, and it's incredibly short.
Most of the pages look like this post.
One line at a time.
Very few paragraphs.
I thought it was interesting, and actually agree with a lot of it, but i was very annoyed with the book. It was exhausting to read and I'm not exactly sure why. Again, I thought it said a lot of good things, but I feel like it was thin. I found myself going to the notations a lot for a deeper look, which was nice that it was there. Overall, I think the book could have been a series of blog posts and not cost 19.99.
- A cop-out
He had me going at first, but making the "Empire" case stretched Bell's credibility too far. Bell presents lots of facts, but facts aren't always the truth. Bell ignores the need to face evil where it rises and joins a long line of apologists who inspire the fear and hopelessness of those who rely on their own powers rather than God's....more info
- Jesus wants to save paper
To be honest, I have tried to like Rob Bell's work many times without much luck. That's probably a bad way to start a review.
I'm not a Bell-basher, but I'm not a fan either; I understand his appeal, but it doesn't appeal to me; I have been to his church, I know some people there, and I like them and have enjoyed worshiping at Mars Hill.
Many who haven't read Rob Bell's books are at least familiar with the phenomenally successful series of short films called Nooma (which are quite good). Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile is the third of his provocatively titled books - the previous two being Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith (my review) and Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections between Sexuality and Spirituality.
If you've ever heard Bell speak, it's easy to hear his voice when you read his books - his pacing, pauses, and emphases are communicated well by the format of the text. The size and outside cover designs are clever and appealing, making them nice books to be seen with.
In Jesus Wants to Save Christians Bell uses the motif of exile to illustrate the condition of God's people at present and in times past, drawing parallels between the two. Exile, by Bell's definition, is "when you fail to convert your blessings into blessings for others... [and] when you find yourself a stranger to the purposes of God."
Bell wisely recommends that, "a Christian should get very nervous when the flag and the Bible start holding hands. This is not a romance we want to encourage." And adds: "For a growing number of people in our world, it appears that many Christians support some of the very things Jesus came to set people free from."
He does excel at delivering a concise synopsis of Old Testament Biblical events, but beyond that and into his interpretation of the events, I found little of value. The book does not deliver on it's promise.
In describing the new covenant Bell says: "No more fear, no more terror, no more thunder. That was the old way, the former thing, the first covenant." In this new covenant, "the truth will be so deeply etched into people's consciousness that they will naturally do the right thing." There is a common thread in Bell's work, one that is the cause of some accusations that he favors Universalism. There are certainly overtones of that soteriological view and it would be nice to hear Bell explain his thinking on the matter a bit more.
By challenging Bell's allusions to Universalism, one is put into the position of having to answer questions like "Are you saying you DON'T want everyone to be saved?" That is not the point here. Of course everyone (except the most extreme hyper-Calvinist) DOES hope that all will be saved, but likelihood of this goes against numerous passages of scripture. Some will spend eternity separated from God; Bell would do well to mention this more often in his teaching - not as a gleeful condemnation, but as a plea for repentance.
The text on the back cover says the following:
"There is a church in our area that recently added an addition to their building which cost more than $20 million. Our local newspaper ran a front-page story not too long ago revealing that one in five people in our city lives in poverty. This is a book about those two numbers."
That claim is not substantiated in the pages of JWTSC; it would have been a much better book if it had.
The tone and scope of JWTSC reminds me of two other titles I read. Neither one sold me completely on its thesis and both are secular in orientation, but they challenged my preconceptions more effectively. So if a vibrant screed against the culture of excessive consumption and affluence is what you're after, you're more likely to be inspired by reading Naomi Klein's No Logo. or Kalle Lasn's Culture Jam: How to Reverse America's Suicidal Consumer Binge--And Why We Must....more info
- Jesus-Relationship Not Religion
This is another fantastic book by Rob Bell. He looks at the narrative of scripture and sees God at work through history. This book is highly recommended....more info
- The U.S empire
I love their message about empire and the U.S being like Roman empires and the patterns of that cycle. I like this quote "What would $ 1 trillion (Cost of the War)do for the worlds poor???" That should make all of us think. My hope is that this book isn't seen as Anti-American but factual in regards to the eye-opening statistics.
I love this quote from "JWTSC" "Human history has never witnessed the abundance that we (Americans) consider normal.
America is the wealthiest nation in the HISTORY OF HUMANITY. We have more resources than any other group of people anywhere at any time has ever had. Ever.
God Bless America?
God has! "
- Theology Aside
I finished this book last night, and I continue to hold to my stance that even if you do not totally agree with Rob Bell's theology he always brings up some very good points that are worth think about and discussing. This book is a collaborative work of Rob Bell Teaching Pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids and the former Lead Pastor of said church Dan Golden on the current exile of the Church in America.
The point and ideas that Rob and Dan make in this book are clear and simple enough that I do not want to ruin it with a shoddy summary but I do encourage you to read this book. Bell is known to sometimes make links and correlations between New and Old Testament that are sometimes thin at best. And there are a few of those, also in one biblical reference he confuses Philip the Evangelist with the Apostle Philip, but small little things like this do not take away from the fact that Rob Bell & Dan Golden bring forth some very interesting ideas that can really make you reevaluate what you think your position in the world is.
There are people who love everything Rob Bell writes or speaks about, they will enjoy this book. There are people who hate everything thing Rob Bell writes or speaks about, they will dislike the book and probably find hundred's of things wrong with it. Then, there are those of us to listen to Bell, and agree with him on some things and disagree with him on others. I get the feeling that is the kind of reader or listener he enjoys the most. Bell & Golden don't ever claim to have everything right, but they do want to ask questions and encourage people to think and do. If you read this book with an open and without preconceived notions this book should deliver that for you.
- Liberation theology 101 for the internet generation
This book provides a good, very accessible summary of the Bible and its message from a "liberation" perspective. It tells the story of Israel in terms of slavery, liberation, and the temptations of empire leading to a new exile and slavery in Bablyon. The authors see Jesus as a different form of liberation from the Roman Empire, a liberation that is intended to escape the pitfalls of worldly empire under Solomon.
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....more info
- What a Journey
I continue to be in awe of Rob's ability to see into Scripture, share insight and make it accessible to many. He is quite the communicator. His comparison of what is going on in the world today to Solomon's day is an eye opener. I can see how his writing shakes things up especially with those that are practicing religion and forget why they are doing so. Rob's simplicity is hard to ignore.
I'm always appreciative of a writer/publisher that spends time and money to have a book properly designed. That also added to the enjoyment of my reading.
This is a great read that will not provide anticipated answers but will make you think.
- More good teaching from Rob Bell
Rob Bell continues to give good insight and a fresh take on the Scriptures and the Christian faith. This is helpful for those of us who have been having deep feelings about many of the subjects dealt with in this book, but have been unable to articulate those feelings clearly....more info
- Good content badly formatted.
I found the content of the book to be easy to read and understand and thoughtful. But I felt I could have read the last two or three chapters and gotten the same message. If you want this book, try and find it used.
The unfortunate part of reading this book is the format. The entire book has the text broken up on the page like this:
Here I am.
Reading this book.
Really reading this book. I don't know if the publisher thought this typesetting was cool, or if the authors thought this would be a cool thing to do throughout the whole book.
Yes. Throughout the whole book.
I'm not even joking.
I happened to find that frustrating to read through. I would have preferred it to be typeset like a regular book. Although had the publisher done that, it may appear to be a much shorter book and thus might not justify the price. :-P
But it's anyone's guess really.
Wait! It's happening again! Make it stop!
Oh no!...more info
- Five Starr
Once again Rob Bell hits the nail on the head with his latest book about Christianity and the church. Five stars....more info
- Rob Bell challenges us to see our world through the eyes of Jesus
In his latest work, Jesus Wants To Save Christians, Rob Bell along with friend Don Golden reflects on the growing differences between the message of the Gospel as found in the Bible, and the message of the gospel as preached in many Western churches each Sunday.
No doubt the criticisms will come that this book is anti-American, or un-Patriotic as Bell portrays America's growing global empire by way of comparison with other global empires of their time. The comparison is chilling and leaves the reader thinking, "what the heck are we doing?? Is this what Jesus wants for our nation??".
Rob Bell is in essence calling for Reformation in the Church. It is a timely and indeed Prophetic book that calls out the mischief of the war-makers and calls the Bride back to its roots and a message of grace and redemption. Something that will no doubt grate painfully with many right-wing pseudo-Conservative "christians" that see foreign enemies as the real cause of our problems, rather that those domestic enemies Thomas Jefferson warned us of.
Calling things as they really are and shining the light of Kingdom truth on where we are headed as a nation is something few men are brave enough to do. This book will challenge you to reflect on your own faith and ask yourself hard questions about your day to day opinions of war and terrorism and what our response as Followers of Christ should be.
A Manifesto For the Church In Exile. The sub title is extremely fitting. This book should go hand in hand with another Manifesto written by a Christian, that of Congressman Dr. Ron Paul; The Revolution: A Manifesto. Both books are in agreement with each other but present the argument from two very different but very solid positions. I recommend both of these books together.
Ending the book, Bell calls the reader to consider their place in the world. To stop waiting for something big to happen and to simply live the example of Christ for the rest of the world, and everything that entails. Buy this book, it will challenge and provoke you to see the world through the eyes of Jesus and not of the "Western Christian faith". And that, can only be a good thing.
I give this book 5 out 5. If this review was helpful to you, please click yes below....more info
- Good read, eye opening.
"When you give unconditionally, you will be reminded of the God who gives unconditionally. When you extend grace to others in their oppression, you are reminded of the grace extended to you in yours.
The Eucharist is the firstborn, the church leading the way in exodus. Every time we take part in the Eucharist, we're reminded that we were each slaves and God rescued us. The church must cling to her memory of the exodus, because if that memory is forgotten, the church may forget the poor, and if the poor are forgotten, the church may forget what it was like to be enslaved." Rob Bell
The above is taken from Rob Bells new book "Jesus Wants To Save Christians." I think I had the book for over a week before I realized that it wasn't entitled Jesus Wants To Save Christmas, I am sure a few of my friends are still looking for it under that title. Anyway, back to the book. I liked it. I mean I wasn't taken in by it to the point that I couldn't put it down, but it was good. It challenged me in my view of God and the church. It opened my eyes to things that I already knew, but couldn't put into words, Rob is good at doing that.
If you are interested in Church history, if you like Rob Bell and if you are looking for a good book to read that is very green, literally, then this is a book for you. I love the style he wrote it in. There is a lot of space, alot of time to think and reflect while reading and it will leave you understanding your faith in Christ as well as being encouraged in that faith. So in short, I do recommend this book, I really enjoyed it.
Thanks Rob...more info
- Something every Christian needs to read, but contains a vital flaw.
Rob does an excellent job identifying the parallels between Solomons empire and ours. He writes about the American lifestyle and the sad realities that are on the other side of it. He provides excellent cultural background to scriptures and really brings them to life.
BUT. the only thing i can really critique this book about is his theology. In the beginning of the book he said that the book would be about theology and his take on what he believes.(or thats what i got out of it). And by the end of the book i never figured it out.
his theology was all over the place. At one point he talks about God making peace with the world through the cross, but he never mentioned how. in fact he basically flat-out denied that Christ died for the forgiveness of sins. He never addressed the sin issue and never has.
but besides that he's an excellent teacher, he has a great understanding of greek/hebrew, awesome illustration of the repeating cycle of exile. and overall he is probly one of my favorite teachers/speakers and he has a lot to contribute to the body of Christ. ...more info
- Good read, but just scratches the surface
I am a Rob Bell fan. After hearing Rob and Don share the pulpit at Mars Hill I am a Don Golden fan as well. This book follows in-line with the rest of Rob's work (writing, preaching, and NOOMA video). Rob and Don continue their message of social justice and the Christians part. Good stuff, and a much needed reminder. It's about time someone of faith deals with politics, even taking on the current administration. I am tired of Christians taking one side only. A side that I believe is wrapped in self comfort and attitudes of superiority. I did want to see this book go a bit deeper in content. I felt that they left some illustrations half done and chapters not completed. That's why I gave it an average rating. I didn't get bored with the book, but I was not compelled to read it all in one night like his previous works. I will say that an average rating for Rob would be a 5 star rating for most other authors! Can't wait till your next book comes out....more info
- Very Good book with appropriate title
This book is one of the better books i have read in the past few years. I have always been a big fan of Nooma, Velvet Elvis, Sex God, i even own The God's Arent Angry and Everything is Spiritual, so Bell's new book was something that i was excited to get my hands on, and i must say i wasn't let down at all.
I appreciated all of the links for human history towards the Exodus, and i couldn't agree more with the idea of The Empire, and how it is hard to get kids/adults today to indentify with Christ because they are all children of the empire themselves.
I would call this book a lighter version of "Jesus For President" by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw, whom he sites a few times in this book, as do Haw and Claiborne in their book. I think Jesus for President said what Bell and Golden are saying, just a little more indepth, but that is not to say that i dont love this book, because i do.
With Bell's three book releases thus far i would rank them (and this is hard because the three are SO different)
1. Velvet Elvis
2. Sex God
3. Jesus Wants To Save Christians
Keep it up Rob Bell, your ministry is helping shape the world. ...more info
- On the appearance of Jesus Wants to Save Christians
As with SexGod, I ordered this book in new condition and I received it in new condition. ...more info
- A great pamphlet, okay book
Rob Bell once again does a great job of portraying a very interesting point of view - one that will undoubtedly challenge most readers. Rob Bell is definitely an artist who uses words and paper as his medium. The "book" has one major flaw - it's much more of a pamphlet or series of blog posts than a book. It can be read in about an hour or two, which makes one frustrated with spending $19.99. My recommendation would be to spend a quarter of the cost purchasing a large latte at the bookstore to sip on while you read the "book" and then return it to the shelf....more info
- A worthwhile read very capable of a positive influence...
A worthwhile read for any Christian or person remotely interested in Jesus or Christianity.
The short length of the book is a bummer on price, but bonus on practicality...as the book is quite a bit more concise than worthwhile books that present similar perspectives, such as Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw's "Jesus for President" or Brian McLaren's "Everything Must Change."
Even if one is not convinced that the interpretation of Revelation presented is "dead-on" or that America is indeed as oppressive of an empire as some of the authors' language may suggest, I think the perspective is still worth reading and taking into account:
In my thinking, it at least makes for a "fuller" viewpoint of Christianity that makes the news of Jesus not just about the future or end of the world or another world, but also about TODAY and HERE and current political, global, and personal situations and decisions.
And even if one thinks America is not guilty of oppressive empire or the authors assertions are a little far-fetched, I think the hyper-sensitivity to oppression and Empire that this book provokes can likely only be a good thing for the body of Christ as well...as the Bible and Jesus seem PRETTY concerned with such things.
Furthermore, I think the effect of the authors' linear march through the Old Testament connecting the dots of a holistic Biblical narrative is pretty awesome. I still have questions when I crack open the Old Testament (Judges anybody?) but it helps me in categorizing and seeing the big picture and progression. See for yourself.
Any comments?...more info
- A Much Needed Manifesto
Rob Bell's third and most anticipated book(for me at least) hits shelves on October 1st. Fortunately for us, we had the opportunity to see the book before it comes out. Wanting to scan the book led me to read the prologue. After that brief introduction I was hooked.
The book expounds on the journey of God's people from Egypt to Sinai to Jerusalem to Babylon. He then paralles that with the life of Christ, the Early Church, and the situation of the American Chruch today. One of his main points is that God hears the cry of the oppressed, and responds to that whether it is His people being oppressed or his people doing the oppressing. There is an ample amount of political talk that carries over with his descriptions, but they are insightful, relevant, and well thought out. Though Bell has been dogged by a lot of people within the church, the way in which he sees and explains scripture is unlike any of his contemporaries(personal opinion), and I believe this reveals the sincerity of his heart for following God.
Another vital point, that I felt made the book timely, was his comparison to Solomons empire to what he deems the empire of America. The similarities are hard to ride off, and pierce the heart in a way that caused me to hear the cries of those that we(as a nation) are oppressing. He challenges the readers to question the difference between entitlement and blessing. Given the recent naming of my generation as the "Generation of Entitlement," this question must be posed by those who live as though they are entitled and those who are attempting to challenge, minister to, and dare those who are ingrained with the idea that they deserve more than mere grace.
I would rather not give the book away, as I would recommend this book to anyone. But, if you have ever wondered about the connection between the Old and New Testaments, then read this book. Bell's setup reveals a completely new(to me)way of viewing the connection between the Testaments. This is vital since it is something that most Christians have wondered about. As I read, it was as though something clicked, and Bell's insights made me see more clearly God's authorship of Scripture. Not just divine authorship either, but good authorship, foreshadowing and connections like you wouldn't believe. And the lessons one can take away from these fresh ideas are timely and timeless.
If you have ridden Rob Bell off because he is categorized as Emergent, or whatever else they've labeled him, give this book a chance. If you are one searching for a real way to live out your Christian life, this book will challenge you to make some changes. And any book that points out that Revelations is apocolyptic literature and pertained specifically to the people of the day, and not 2000 years later is worth reading(in my book)because it makes us focus on finding hope in what could happen here and now.
Originally posted at:
- Bell's Incendiary Manifesto Throws Open Doors and Windows Toward God's World
No one who has followed Rob Bell's books and "Nooma" films should be surprised that "Jesus Wants to Save Christians" is not quite what it seems. Let's start with the cover. I don't want to spoil the "ah ha" by explaining it, but we're presented with a puzzle before we even open the book. Then, for a book about Jesus, it may seem strange that Jesus doesn't even step out on stage until page 78 of what's basically a 180-page book, if you don't count all the footnotes.
But this is Rob's prophetic gift. He opens doors, throws open windows and leads us to new perspectives on faith. His "Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith (Cover Image May Vary)" certainly wasn't about American art and music. His "Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections between Sexuality and Spirituality" was about sex and God, but not in any form that you'd expect from an evangelical writer. I mean, who would envision that an inspirational book about sex from an American evangelical would detour through the Holocaust? But that's where Rob took us.
The subtitle for this new book is "A Manifesto for the Church in Exile" -- a clear signal that Rob wants readers to work their way through this volume and then start moving in a new direction. This book is almost a cinematic invitation to see the Bible -- the whole Bible starting with the Hebrew Scriptures -- in a new way.
It's the "new way" that pours the fuel into this manifesto. In fact, Rob is starting to sound a lot like John Dominic Crossan in "God and Empire: Jesus Against Rome, Then and Now" and Marcus Borg in "Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary." Now, there are major differences between Crossan, Borg and Bell in the way the three writers see the figure of Jesus in the gospels and today. But, all three converge in arguing that Jesus came to proclaim a new world order of compassionate concern for the neediest people on the planet.
Deep in his book, Bell begins to drive his arguments home in passages like this: "The Bible has a lot to say about empires. Most of the Bible is a history told by people living in lands occupied by conquering superpowers. It's a book written from the underside of power. It's an oppression narrative. The majority of the Bible was written by a minority people living under the rule and reign of massive, mighty empires ... This can make the Bible a very difficult book to understand if you are reading it as a citizen of the most powerful empire the world has ever seen."
Bell is not alone in issuing such a manifesto. But from the evangelical heartland in the upper Midwest, this is an incendiary epistle from one of America's hottest young voices.
- Thought provoking
Christians who read this book need to set aside their preconceptions (about the authors, about books, about Christianity) and take this text on its own terms. Written in sort of an epic free-form poetic style (or maybe epic free-form greeting card style), the authors paint a starkly new picture of the origin, purpose and destiny of the Church. Exile and empire figure strongly in this view. My orthodoxy antennae were quivering the entire time I was reading, but at the end of the day I'm not ready to bring any charges of heresy against the authors. Stretching a point maybe, but not heresy.
The point in tension is this: The Bible, assert the authors, consistently paints a picture of God in opposition to empire, hearing the cries of the oppressed. (Fair enough). The U.S. is an empire. (Debateable). Therefore God is opposed to the war in Iraq. (This is the somewhat stretchy part). Actually, to say this book is about the war in Iraq is a gross misreading. It's about the church, the church's role in culture, and what Christianity is really all about [is it just me, or are we suffering from a glut of books on 'what Christianity is really all about' just now?]. I recommend this book as a thought-provoker and conversation starter, but as I said, leave your preconceptions at the door, please....more info
- Very good, but like Boyd's better
Jesus wants to save Christians is a very good book . . . but Greg Boyd's Myth of a Christian Nation covers much of the same material in a less choppy, blog-like style. This book will probably be easier for those 30 and under to read (I'm 41); Boyd has an Ivy League education and his style is more traditional. (If you've never heard him preach, download at itunes for free - phenomenal teaching on empire - on everything!) But this book is very meaty - what I love is Bell's extensive end noting. I read his books as much for the end notes - to see what he's reading - as I do for the material. It you can tolerate the style, you'll get a lot from this book....more info
- Three cars, four flat screens and 840 million hungry people
I stumbled upon Jesus Wants to Save Christians A Manifesto for the Church in Exile just after it came out in October 2008. I purposely didn't buy it then...couldn't get past the thought that Rob Bell was being an elitist blowhard in publishing a book with such a condescending title. The last thing American Evangelicals need is another book to wave in the faces of unbelievers saying "see, He wants to save us." As if the crap fiction of LaHaye and Jenkins that pollutes bookshelves nationwide isn't enough. Gram taught me, though, to never to judge a book by its cover. In the case of Jesus Wants to Save Christians, I should have listened
First a little background. Trashy Pop Culture has perverted Evangelical Christianity. American Christians have, over the past 20 or so years, slowly bought into a Wealth and Health Gospel that says Jesus wants their wallets fat and their waistlines bulging. Preachers who espouse this Pseudo Gospel entice the weak and gullible to give a little money, say a prayer and poof the magic Genie will be at their beck and call. Health and Wealth Power pastors have helped to turn a proactive gospel of bringing the kingdom of heaven down to earth into a commodity, a hotel of comfort, a religion of sit quietly, tithe, and one day you won't be left behind. As this attitude permeates the Evangelical Culture, a Gospel of good news to the poor becomes an impotent, insular self help program led by men and women who've helped to cast their congregations into what the authors call a state of exile.
Exile, the authors state, "isn't just about location; exile is about the state of your soul. Exile is when you fail to convert your blessings into blessings for others. Exile is when you find yourself a stranger to the purposes of God."
As a growing portion of American Evangelicals decide whether to buy a third car or purchase a fourth flat screen, "3.5 billion people in the world live on less than two dollars a day, 100 million children are denied basic education, 4,500 people today will die of aids, and 840 million people will go to bed hungry tonight because they can't afford one meal." Bell & Golden argue that these statistics aren't meant to incite guilt within believers, rather recall a little story/theme of the bible, Exodus.
According to Jewish scriptures, the ancient Jews were in a literal physical exile. Slaves in Egypt whose lives were brutal beyond belief, they cried out for justice like the blood of Abel and in His timing, the story says, God came through Moses. The authors follow the progression of these rescued Jews through their deliverance to Sinai. Their journey continues to Jerusalem where, through Solomon, they again became slaves in their own empire, eventually ending upon the shores of Babylon physically and spiritually lost.
In Babylon the prophets began to speak of a coming son of David who'd lead them on a new exodus, a "Prince of Peace" who'll "reign on David's throne upholding it with justice and righteousness." This messiah, would fulfill the promise of Genesis that one would be born who would crush evil forever. Jesus, Christians believe, was the promised Prince of Peace.
In his first sermon on the scene, Jesus quotes Isaiah 61:1 and states clearly the purposes of God He has been sent to fulfill:
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners.
To proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
Why has the church strayed from this, the true Gospel? Amongst other things, the authors reason, because her people have forgotten the various Egypts from which they were rescued. Exodus, they say, plays out not only as a story of a people long ago, but a spiritual reality that echoes in people's lives every single day. All people have their Egypts: "addiction, suicidal thoughts, anger, rage...prejudice, hate, envy, lust, racism, ego, dishonesty." They continue, "at the center of the Christian experience is crying out in our slavery and being heard by God," being redeemed through Jesus, led to Sinai where we find our purpose and identity," being "invited to join the God in doing something about our broken world" which "always involves hearing the cry of the oppressed and then acting on their behalf."
There's a sentence in the book's epilogue that sums up the entire manifesto: "Jesus wants to save our church from a kingdom of comfort, the priority of preservation, an empire of indifference, exile of irrelevance." This isn't a book with which the Church can pat itself on the back. It's a reminder of the spiritual desolation believers once knew. It's a challenge to see how broken the world is and how much God, to those who believe, has blessed their lives. It's a simple yet powerful meditation on bondage and liberation that describes a new exodus by which the Church can again become relevant. It reminds Jesus' modern day followers that the Kingdom is at hand and that it needs revolutionaries of peace and love ready to answer the cries of the oppressed. Ingesting it with an open mind and an open heart is sure to challenge and inspire, if not provide perspective on where the Church find herself and where she's called to be.
I,m not sure about all that is in the book,but it is thought provoking and insightful. I think there is much more than we have understanding of but we must be careful not to accept another man,s explanation and seek truth from the Holy Spirit....more info
- Not So Much . . .
First, I want to say that I am a big Rob Bell fan. I thoroughly enjoy all of the Nooma videos and his other two books "Velvet Elvis" and "Sex God", and also the "Everything is Spiritual" video. In those, he consistently captured the Christian message and made it fresh and relevant for today, which challenges each of us to reflect on our personal relationship with our Lord.
With that being said, I was deeply disappointed with this book. I am not sure if it was because it was co-authored or what, but the personal commentary on the state of the United States' "empire" was a little too much for me.
Bell and Golden are great at asking leading questions and causing you to draw your own conclusions. The book is full of such questions. But then there is a major deviation comparing the United States to the `failed empire of Solomon'. For example, the analogies of the armies, chariots & horses, and riches of Solomon's day with the war on terror, homeland security, and accumulating riches of the current United States. There is a clear indictment on the United States living in an "empire" and because of that, we are accused of being oppressive by nature. `Big' equals `oppressive'? The Bible clearly states that the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart had turned from the Lord God of Israel. To challenge Americans to examine our hearts because of the blessing bestowed on our nation, which could cause us to forget the Lord is one thing, but to equate that because we are the most prosperous nation in the history of the world and by default we are somehow bad or evil is just peculiar. If America fell, and let's say China was the new "empire" in the world, are they oppressive by nature because of this standing?
Also, the commentary of the book of Revelation was really out of place. An attempt was made to attach participation in the exchange of goods and services in the Roman Empire days with taking a mark, and somehow that is connected to having us not `take part in the animating spirit of empire'. This was just strange. The author(s) conclude in this by saying: "Resist. Rebel. Protest. Revelation is a bold, courageous, politically subversive attack on corrosive empire and its power to oppress people." WOW! It was stated that the book of Revelation was written to the audience of that day, and not prophetic. Where did this come from? Although there are the letters to the churches in the beginning of Revelation (which is also analogous to the church today), the rest is prophetic. The Old Testament is chock full of prophecy regarding the coming of the Messiah. The one prophetic book in the NEW Testament has been now discounted by Bell and Golden as just another message, and written in a "subversive literary style called apocalyptic".
This book delves too much into a political statement on the perceived oppressive state of the current administration. The author rails against the very thing they engage in. It is implied throughout the book that if we make a personal connection with our Lord, live for Him, things will change. Interjecting a personal commentary on an otherwise thoughtful discourse was out of place. If Bell and Golden would have stuck to the redeeming nature of God and NOT of their personal opinions, I would have been much more satisfied with this book.
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