I just finished reading “Jesus Wants to Save Christians” by Rob Bell and Don Golden. I must admit that I am a bit of a Rob Bell fan–I really enjoyed Velvet Elvis, and his Nooma video series rocks. I really enjoyed this new book, and I’m giving away three copies today! Read on to find out more…
His newest project takes a look at the Old Testament, and points out how eerily relevant it is to our modern-day world. He provides a fresh look at the book of Exodus, and the journeys of God’s people into and out of exile. His premise is that the church today is in exile, which he says is “what happens when you still have the power and the wealth and the influence, and yet in some way you’ve blown it because youu’ve forgotten why you were given it in the first place. … Exile is when you forget your story.”
A few months back I read Brian McLaren’s “Everything Must Change” and this book makes many of the same points, but in a much clearer and more concise way.
Bell and Golden write: “America is an empire. And the Bible has alot 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 reigh of massive, mighter empires…This can make the Bible a very difficult book to understand if you are reading it as a citzen of the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. Without careful study and reflection, and humility, it may even be possible to miss the central themes of the Scriptures.”
More and more, I’m convinced that if God has blessed our country, it is so that we can bless others. Not so that we can be smug or clueless about the suffering of others. As Bell writes, “Jesus wants to save our church from the exile of irrelevance. If we have any resources, any power, any voice, any influence, any energy, we must convert them into blessing for those who have no power, no voice, no influence.”
In light of all that’s going on in the world, even if you don’t agree with this book, I think it is important to read it. It challenged my assumptions and changed my perspective on Scripture and on world events.
I’ll send a free copy of Jesus Wants to Save Christians to the first three people to comment on this post. I’d love to have you read it and tell me what you think!
I think that one of our greatest blessings of living in the United States is also our greatest hinderance – our wealth. Even people who in our society are considered poor or “middle class” are extremely wealthy compared to people in many countries throughout the world. It is so easy to get caught up in focusing on self and not on others when there are so many others who have so much less.
The comment about Americans being in exile really struck me because I have been reading in the Old Testament about the Isrealites being carried off into exile for worshipping other gods and forgetting the One True God. Thanks for the reminder and making me think about serving others instead of just my own priorities!
This is on my pile too . . . but um, I had to step it down a notch so I can finish this other book first. “Rest” – ever heard of it? 🙂 Rob Bell is a bit edgy but I really enjoy his thought-provoking style.
And a friend at church and I are reading Everything Must Change together. We meet twice a month to just talk about it. I have to say, it’s a really great way to read a book like this, and confirms in my mind the idea the importance of learning in community.
Sigh. So many books. So little time. I am literally reading about 6 books right now. I have one in every location!
I have “Jesus wants to save Christians” on my Amazon list. I actually have about 75 (no joke) books on my list. As diannecp said, so many books, so little time. I have to get through “Rest” first, but would love to read this one by Rob Bell. I have enjoyed the Nooma videos too. I love how Rob makes simple statements that are so profound, and I chew on them for days.
Aah! I’m finally able to comment after weeks of fighting with the WordPress login feature! Well, Keri, you know that I’ve never met a book that I wouldn’t like to read. Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve heard of Rob Bell but haven’t read him yet. I’m interested to read an Old Testament perspective, as I’ve recently been studying some more obscure OT stories and am amazed every time at how relevant they are to me and our world today. I think more and more Christians are finally digging into the OT for wisdom. Interesting.
So very cool that you loved the book enough to give it away. Awesome! Your engagement and passion are inspiring.
Visit me sometime at http://www.jesuswantstosavechurches.com
wow, I’m honored that you stopped by to leave us a comment. great book, I really enjoyed it!