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Posted June 8, 2008
I may have just given Doug Pagitt the title for his next book, but it aptly describes my response to his new book - A Christianity Worth Believing. I read the first three chapters on his website 'dougpagitt.com' and couldn't wait for its release. Since picking up a copy 'hot off the presses,' I only put the book down to eat, sleep, and conduct other necessary functions -' This book will be a gift of affirmation for those who aren't afraid to ask questions and question the answers. For those who have often felt like a 'fish out of water' in Sunday school, small groups, Bible school and seminary, Pagitt invites you into a theological conversation. He masterfully and winsomely weaves together his own life story with insights drawn from church history, theology, cultural anthropology, missiology, and scripture. Simply put, Pagitt writes an eloquent narrative theology for a 'post-systematic' generation... and in doing so he causes you to pause, think, and wrestle with your faith. As a professor of intercultural and biblical studies, I am impressed with the depth of Pagitt's theological, historical, and cultural knowledge, and his unique gift to write about such topics in way that engages and is accessible to readers. He shows how so much of our 'Christian' language and understanding of what it means to be Christian has been shaped by cultural contexts and worldviews very different than ours today... and very different than those of the biblical writers. In peeling back the cultural layers that clothe so much of Western Christianity, he reveals a faith that is dynamic, conversational, invitational, relevant, relational, wholistic, and alive. This is what I try to help my students discover faith in a God fully engaged in our world and inviting us to join in God's adventure - today. Get some friends together, grab your pens, take notes, and enter into a conversation that will help you discover a Christianity worth believing... and living.
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Posted January 19, 2010
I Also Recommend:
This book truly is "a hope-filled pursuit toward an alive and well faith for our day."
Doug Pagit writes "My hope is that this book is my invitation for people to pursue a Christianity that is good for world, good for their spirits and good for their faith."
Doug's latest work is by far his best. It is simple and accessible because it reads like an old-school testimony, but it accomplishes this without sacrificing any of the depth needed to address the issues Doug sets out to cover.
Doug invites readers to follow along as he recounts his own faith journey of growing up as an un-churched child and then becoming a Christian while experiencing a Passion play as a teenager. Doug details how he was immediately immersed in the Christian culture and was quickly leading Bible studies and even involved in court cases for Christian rights.
Doug explains that he is a contrarian (a person who questions any majority opinion) by nature. And how this led him to question and explore the roots of the theology and doctrines of the modern western church culture.
For longer than I care to admit, I naively assumed that the popular theology and widely accepted doctrines of the church were well, unchanging biblical truths. I simply took it for granted that were the apostle Paul to show up at my door he would recognize and affirm all of the theology and doctrine I was taught. But the truth is our Christianity has been passed down through a great many generations and our doctrines have been shaped and reshaped by many folks who were simply trying to make sense of things in their time. The danger here is that we have come to view these doctrines as set in stone and allowed them to become stagnate.
Doug presents a unique critique of western Christianity. Unique in the fact that it is not meant to be an argument about who is more "correct" in their theology. Doug shows how Greek philosophy, mid-evil superstition, and modern reasoning have permeated into the story of Jesus and left their mark on our own theology and doctrines. Such as the idea that Greeks, who worshiped vengeful impersonal gods, did not have any frame of reference or understanding of an intimate or personal God such as Yahweh. He walks through the ideas that developed through the centuries to explain Jesus and the Kingdom of God and how they have shaped our own theology.
This book offers us all a beautiful, holistic, compelling vision of the Kingdom of God. One that will resonate with many people who have always felt there must be more to Jesus and the kingdom of God than what you were taught on the flannel-graph. If you are drawn to, mystified, or even intrigued by Jesus, but put off by the religion that bears his name then this book is exactly what you need. It truly is "a hope-filled pursuit toward an alive and well faith for our day."
"I want it to be an invitation to a Christianity that makes sense in the world we live in." - Doug Pagitt
You can give this book seminary trained pastors as well as people who can not name a single book of the Bible and they will both enjoy its depth and simplicity.
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Posted February 9, 2014