Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Book Review , The Secret Message of Jesus

I finished The Secret Message of Jesus by Brian D. McLaren and I have to say that it wasn't nearly as good as A Genorous Orthdoxy but it still was very thought provoking. The theme of this book is pretty much in the title , are there secrets to the message Jesus brought that we have yet to discover and if so what are we doing about it and why hasn't anyone discovered them as of yet.
The book starts off by asking a bunch of interesting questions, "What if the religion generally associated with Jesus neither expects nor trains it's adherents to actually live in the way of Jesus? What if the core message of Jesus has been unintentionally misunderstood or intentionally distorted? What if many have sincerely valued some aspects of Jesus message while missing or even suppressing other , more important dimensions?What if many have carried on a religion that faithfully celebrates Jesus in ritual and art, teaches about Jesus in sermons and books,sings about Jesus in songs and hymns, and theorizes about Jesus in seminaries and classrooms.... but somewhere along the way missed rich and radical treasures hidden in the essential message of Jesus?"
Sheesh- that right there is just a snippet of the questions that come at you right off the start of chapter 1. Needless to say, this book made me think about the really hardcore , somewhat unpleasant topics that Jesus touched on while he walked the earth. It was a good reminder to me how important it is to study the scriptures because to just quickly read through them is just about as pointless as not reading them at all. The deeper meanings hidden behind so many of the things that Jesus taught can only come when we practice that word we read over and over in the old testament (Selah) which means stop and really think about that for a minute or two or three.......
Here are some of my favorite quotes;
"In one of my previous books, I said that clarity is sometimes overrated and that intrigue is correspondingly undervalued."
"Much about his message is frustratingly unclear and impossible to categorize, but this much is clear: this carpenter's son from Galilee challenges every existing political movement to a radical rethinking and dares everyone to imagine and consider his revolutionary alternative."
"It is not just another one of the kingdoms of this world. NO, this kingdom advances slowly, quietly, under the surface-like yeast in dough, like seed in soil. It advances with faith: when people believe it is true, it becomes true. And it advances with reconciling, forgiving love: when people love strangers and enemies, the kingdom gains ground."
It was most definitely worth the read and there was a study guide provided in the back that I am still working through and thinking about going through with others. Any takers??


Jen in Budapest said...

Although there are always deeper meanings veiled behind the surface, what I love most is the fact that even children can understand. He's not that far away or that deep that I can't get to Him. Yet He takes me to deep places and I'm forever changed. Good stuff.

I am re-reading "Renovation of the Heart". I highly recommend the book.

noel said...

so true- some things are so simple yet so difficult at times to walk out in the diversities in life.
i liked this one, it made me think but it was a bit interesting at times.
i will have to check that one out. thanks for the tip.

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