Jan 24, 2014

Goodbye... sort of.

I started this blog in 2008 as a way to let people know what was going on while I was on my internship. Over the course of the last 5 plus years, it has morphed into a place where I mostly share reviews of new books that I have read with the occasional deep thought thrown into the mix. I have really enjoyed writing it and sharing with you about life and books. The time has come, however, to move on to something a little different. In September of last year, I was hired at Westbrook Christian Church as the Pastor of Adult Connections and Missional Life. This I oversee the adult discipleship ministries at the church. We moved out of the cornfields of central Illinois and up to the Chicago suburbs, which also makes the tagline of my blog incorrect. In light of my new position, I’m making the move to focus my writing on Discipleship and Mission. There will still be some book reviews, but I want to focus more of my effort and time writing about the ministry I am leading.

Thank you for reading this blog and I hope that you’ll take the time to read what I write over at my new site onthegolife.wordpress.com.

Jan 18, 2014

Jesus vs. Religion

What does is mean to be a Christian? There are a lot of different views about what it means to be a Christian. Most of the time it involves a set of beliefs and specific practices that people use to define Christianity. Jefferson Bethke, who gained internet fame with the video “Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus,” wants to define Christianity in one way and one way alone. He defines Christianity by Jesus. It seems so simple, but many of us make Christianity way more difficult and, in Bethke’s terms, “religious.” We set up rules and regulations, determine beliefs that we have to be for or against, and create lists of people we like and people we don’t like. Often times, when we do that, we lose one important thing, Jesus. Bethke’s book Jesus > Religion (read Jesus is Greater than Religion), is an encouragement to get back to the teaching and actions of Jesus and to get away from the man made religion that has been built up around Him.

For the most part, I enjoyed Bethke’s book. His writing is very approachable and he’s straightforward about his life and experiences. There were a few times in the early chapters his writing almost came off as an arrogance or pride that he wasn’t like those “religious” people. He of course is not trying to be that way, since that is one of the attitudes he is trying to combat with this book. Also, I felt a little frustrated by the fact that he uses the word religion without ever really defining it. In James 1:27, we find religion being used as an acceptable term and being defined as caring for orphans and widows. I think he would have helped his cause to define how he is using the word religion and how culture uses the word in contrast to this verse. I know what he means, but it’s always important to define the key terms that you are writing about. Overall, I appreciate that his book is down to earth and he is just trying to be an honest and straightforward follower of Jesus. I love the reason that he is writing and the point he is making. While it’s not my favorite book, it is certainly worth and read and will cause you question how you define your faith.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson through netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”