Thursday, May 15, 2008

Quoting Theology: Caputo on Hope

"If at the end of our lives we find that all our hopes have been sensible and moderate and measured by the horizon of the future present, if we have never been astir with the impossible, then we shall also find that on the whole life has passed us by. If safe is what you want, forget religion and find yourself a conservative investment counselor. The religious sense of life has to do with exposing oneself to the radical uncertainty and the open-endedness of life...which is meaning-giving, salt-giving, risk-taking...Religion on my telling is a pact or 'covenant' with the impossible. To have a religious sense of life is to long with a restless heart for a reality beyond reality, to tremble with the possibility of the impossible."

Thursday, May 08, 2008

N.T. Wright Hopes Matthew Paul Turner does the Hokey Pokey (maybe I should have put a comma in there somewhere)

Sorry I've been terrible at blogging lately. I'll get back to regular posting soon. In the meantime, I wanted to recommend 2 books that I've read recently:

Hokey Pokey: Curious People Finding What Life Is All about by Matthew Paul Turner

In the interest of full disclosure and so I don't seem like a shill, I should tell you that Matthew is a friend. That being said, I actually liked this book. The really refreshing thing about this book is Mathew's unflinching honesty. His subject is "calling" or vocation, and his main premise is that you must have 2 things to be able to hear and follow the calling of God. You must be curious about life and you must be truly free. Those 2 notions bear unpacking, and Matthew does this brilliantly in Hokey Pokey. Those who want a straightforward, linear argument will be sadly disappointed though. Matthew makes no claims of being a theologian (though he underestimates himself in this regard). Matthew is a storyteller, and a gifted one at that. He writes his text, not so much as an authority on the subject, but rather as a traveler on a journey who invites us to walk with him. He interweaves insights (though he might object to this word) with stories and interviews, and offers the mixture as less of an answer and more of a shared path to answers. Don't let the title fool you, this is not a children's book. It is at times hillarious, poignant and profound. Turner's uncompromising honesty is sure to offend some, but it is just as sure to bless and inspire those of us who are gripped with an insatiable curiosity for more than our current experience and traditions have to offer.

Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church by N.T. Wright
In the interest of full discloser, though I have never met N.T. Wright, I am unashamedly an admirer of his work. I would have picked up his latest book if it had been titled "A Short History of Earthworms, by N.T. Wright". With that being said, this book far exceeded my expectations. Sincerely, I think this may be the single most important Christian book that has been written in the last decade (at least). Interweaving theology and history, Wright argues that somewhere along the way Christians substituted a warped and anemic version of "heaven" for the Biblical concept and have almost completely neutered or lost the Biblical concept of the Resurrection. He further argues that this has fundamentally warped the identity and mission of the church. Wright then paints a picture of Resurrection, Heaven, and Christian Mission that is both Biblical and inspiring. Without any hesitation, I recommend this book to every Christian, and especially every Christian leader. May you be filled with the hope that Wright unveils in these pages.