Thursday, September 14, 2006

Books that Change You

A couple of weeks ago I finished reading "Irresistible Revolution" by Shane Claiborne. It is without a doubt the most challenging and mind changing book that I've read in a long time. Shane's practice of Christianity is remarkable. I've often wondered what it would look like to be in a Christian community that looks like the church in Acts 2:42-47 today. So much is different about the world now than 2000 years ago that it seems impossible (for example transportation has made it possible for people to live a long ways from their church, job, family, and friends). However, thanks to Shane and his fellow "revolutionaries" at The Simple Way I now know.

I first read about the concept of orthopraxy in the work of Brian McLaren. Orthopraxy means "right practice" whereas the more familiar term orthodoxy means "right thinking". Many churches that I've attended focus almost exclusively on "right thinking"; on understanding Jesus and our relationship to him, but too often in the life of a Christian it stops there. The Christian faith is an active one, it must be practiced in sacrificial love and acts of service and we should never be satisfied with believing the "right thing". I'm not saying that orthodoxy is unimportant. In fact it is often foundational to orthopraxy. But not always... Recently I heard a story of the faith journey of a woman (it was wonderful to hear) and God moved in her life and she started "practicing" Christianity before she even understood really what it meant to be a Christian. The point is simple "right thinking" should never innoculate us from "right practice."

I had planned on including lots of great quotes from Shane's book like one from Mother Teresa: "In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love." But there's too many. When I read books I dog-ear the top corner of the page to mark where I am, and I dog-ear the bottom corner of the page to mark things that I want to remember. My copy of the book is nearly twice as thick because of my dog-earring. So, you'll have to read it yourself to get the good stuff. If you're a Christian be ready for a wild ride. If you're not, read it anyway to see a Christianity unlike ANYTHING you've seen on TV, or pushed on you by your "hypocrite neighbor." I make this promise. If you don't find anything of value in the book. I'll give you your money back (actually Shane makes that promise in the book... actually he's giving away all of the proceeds anyhow)

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