just courage

just courage yesterday i finished listening to just courage: GOD’s great expedition for the restless CHRISTian by gary haugen. i’ve been listening to it on my daily runs for the past few days and it was so interesting that i found myself running a little longer each day just to hear more of the book. i have loved the international justice mission for years and thus was familiar with haugen already. i’ve heard him speak several times and thus i knew that he could tell a good and meaningful story but i didn’t know how he was as a writer. turns out he’s a pretty good author.

“just courage” is full of rationale and inspiration for those who wish to walk in the way of JESUS. if you want to understand the need for social justice in the world in regards to practical and real slavery in the world then read this book. haugen tells the stories of many who were stuck in the sex trade and indentured servitude. he also tell the stories of many who have been involved in helping this inidviduals reach freedom. finally haugen gives a ton of suggestions on how anyone can get involved in freeing those who are enslaved.

an added benefit to this audiobook for me was that it was one of CHRISTianaudio.com’s free books a few months ago. WOOHOO!

so beautiful by leonard sweet


i finished so beautiful: divine design for life and the church by leonard sweet yesterday. i have mixed feelings concerning sweet’s writing. he makes some incredible points but he does it by making tons of one line statements that vary from cheesy to brilliant. for example he states that when we de-story something we in essence destroy it. i would usually dismiss an author who writes in such a manner BUT sweet makes some incredible points.

sweet structures the book around the mri concept that he has discussed at other points. sweet says that the dna of the church is m.r.i. (missional, relational, incarnational). this again is one of those things that drives me crazy and attracts me at the same time. i can stand lots of cute little acronym’s and dr. sweet uses them all the time. for example the opposite of the mri church is the apc church (attractional, propositional, colonial). the book is full of these little things.

yet sweet’s writing has a great deal of depth to it. the acronyms that would typically drive me nuts hit the mark instead. i love what he says on the church being missional, relational and incarnational at its core. he hammers this home chapter upon chapter. this is why i enjoyed reading “so beautiful,” it is why i have enjoyed reading several of sweet’s previous works, and it is why i will read his future works also. in some ways i think saying “i don’t like his writing style” is part of the highest compliments i can give dr. sweet. this is because i read his works in spite of his style. i read his writing because his point are so good that it doesn’t matter that i don’t enjoy the way he makes them.

it’s a good read and i would recommend it.

they like JESUS but not the church

they like JESUS tuesday i finished dan kimball’s book “they like JESUS but not the church: insights from emerging generations." this is not a new book. it’s not old either but it’s not brand new (written in 2007). i bought it a couple of years ago and it has sat on a book case waiting for me to read it. i wish i had picked it up earlier because it was an excellent read.

no, it’s not a book of statistical research. it is based on his conversations with people who like JESUS but not the church that he met in public and became friends with. these conversations form the “data” that he analyses through out the book.

yes, you could dismiss “they like JESUS but not the church” because of the fact that it is not based on statistical information. you could say to yourself that since it isn’t statistically based it doesn’t fit your situation. i think you would be wrong to do so.

for me kimball’s book is more meaningful because the points of the book came out of kimball’s discussion with friends he had made. i think that was really the point of the book … CHRISTians, especially ministers, desperately need to get out of our buildings and subculture and make friends with non-JESUS followers. kimball lived this out in the manner that he wrote the book and in the manner that he ministers. he lived it out by having people who like JESUS but not the church over to his home for supper, going over to their home for supper, spending time with people where they are rather than expecting them to come to some religious building, and most importantly LISTENING to people who like JESUS but not the church.

it’s a good read.

tell it slant

tell_it_slant_eugene_peterson when i am training for a race i run the following times of runs:

  • easy runs – 3 times a week – these are just maintenance miles to build up my weekly mileage.
  • speedwork / hill work – 1 time a week – i run a fartlek or any hills i can find or intervals on a track.
  • long run – 1 time a week – this is to build my endurance

anyway on my easy and long runs i like to listen to podcasts or audiobooks (i can’t listen to them during my speedwork because they make me run slow – or should i say slower). yesterday i finished listening to “tell it slant: a conversation on the language of JESUS in HIS stories and prayers by eugene peterson. i love peterson. i loved the way he writes and what he writes about.

in “tell it slant” peterson turns his wonderful intellect towards the parables and prayers of JESUS. peterson focused on the “slanted” way that JESUS used language and stories to cause HIS listeners to consider aspects of their lives and faith in new manners. JESUS used words to catch HIS listeners off guard and then point them to what life is really all about. 

any book that i listen to while running needs to be pretty good and have a decently quick pace in order to keep my attention. “tell it slant” was perfect for this. peterson does a great job of conveying depth in a manner that is still enjoyable enough to hold a slow runner’s attention.