One exception to this has been a review copy of a new book by Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola called, “The Jesus Manifesto“.
I’ll do a review of it in a day or two when I finish and make some notes. I thought I would share a few tasters from the book though just to give us something to think about…
First, for the sake of full disclosure I will tell you that I’m a big fan of Len Sweet. I follow him on Twitter and Facebook and have read a lot of the books he’s written. I enjoy his style and the approach he takes to communicating his ideas. Frank Viola, on the other hand, is someone I “track”. I like Frank, I’ve read his books, blogs and watched some video. For the most part I haven’t enjoyed his particular ‘style’ but I’ve found his ideas, insights and concepts to be ‘spot on’. In the past, after reading one of his books I’ve said, “I agree with his point but I don’t like how he gets there.”
So I started this book with some fear – arguing with a book right now is basically a bad idea – not just because the author can’t hear me – as the Elusive Donna often reminds me – but because I need to keep things stress free right now!
With that said, I’ve enjoyed the read. I’ll say more in my ‘official’ review but there is some important reading in these pages.
Here are some ideas I’d like to see if you are interested in thinking about –
First, the authors are suggesting that the Church is currently suffering from Jesus Deficit Disorder. That totally sounds like Leonard Sweet but I don’t know which of them came up with the term. Personally, I agree. I’ve felt for the longest time now that the Church, by and large, has become bored with Jesus.
Second, they quote one of my favourite books in their book. Here’s the quote: ‘Miss Maudie stopped rocking, and her voice hardened. “You are too young to understand it,” she said, “but sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hand of [another].’ – Anyone know the book? Hint: It’s also one of my favourite movies.
Third, from the intro, “So what is Christianity? It is Christ. Nothing more. Nothing less. Christianity is not an ideology or a philosophy. Neither is it a new type of morality, social ethic, or worldview.” They go on to build on this single, simple and profound idea – relationship with Jesus is what it’s all about.
The danger of the message of this book is that it’s the classic Sunday School answer to every question: Jesus. I imagine that many who are living with Jesus Deficit Disorder will find little or nothing in this book to grab them because we/they will all agree that we need Jesus. But the message of this book is much more radical than that. We don’t just need Jesus, he is, in fact, ALL we need.
And there begins a revolution…