Bell, Rob and Don Golden.
Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile
Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008. Pp. 224. Paper. $19.99.
With thanks to Chris Fann at Zondervan for this review copy!
Bell and Golden tell us in the introduction to the introduction that this is a “book about a book” that “follows the narrative of the Bible.” [p. 8] I’m going to review this a bit differently than I have any other book. I’m simply going to show you my notes and expose you to my thoughts as I read through this volume. As you read, you’ll be reading my actual thoughts, like literaly, the thoughts I thunk as I read this book. Seriously, these aren’t polished book review thoughts, they’re raw thinking thoughts. The kind of thoughts that you think before you edit them in your mind to speak through your mouth. Get it? Got it? Good. I’m like the narrator of this “book about a book [that] follows the narrative of the Bible.” So without further ado, here goes nothing… or… something… or… might be both… or… neither… [Note that all page numbers refer to the advance reader copy I was sent; I don’t know if there were any changes made to the published hardcover edition.]
Ooh… UPS truck… Please be for me, please be for me! Wope, he’s pulling in front of the house… is he… yes!!! He is! He’s walking up the driveway… Sweet!!! Small package, who’s this one from? Zondervan. Ahh, this is the one Chris was talking about. God I hope Bell isn’t the emerjerk that I expect him to be. Let’s see. What’s up with this package? Why is it giving me trouble opening i… ahh, there we go. Hmmm… weird cover. Reminds of of the graph paper we used to use in school. Might as well crack it open and start reading it. Well, hold on… I should post about it first.
Alright, let’s see what this is about. An introduction to the introduction? That’s just stupid. Okay, it’s a “book about a book,” I get that. The Bible is a “narrative,” check. That seems to be a very popular buzz word these days… “narrative,” “narrative,” “narrative.” It does roll off the tongue. I wonder if it will lose all its meaning if I keep saying it over and over. Anyway…
Oh no, “shout outs.” These guys are trying to show us youngins how cool they are. That’s annoying. Just say thanks, what’s wrong with that? I hope the whole book isn’t filled with such dork-like pseudo-coolisms. Alright, the real introduction. Let’s see what they have to say. Hold on a second, Rob BELL and Don GOLDEN? That’s a strange coincidence… that’s like the reverse of the Golden Bell diner. Man I hate that diner! Why are they so expensive?!! Alright, focus Nick, read, read, read!
“Air Puffers and Rubber Gloves” huh? What’s that about? I guess I’ll find out. Uh oh… they begin by talking about the “first family” being “dysfunctional” [p. 12]. I can already see where this is going. Why does he start with Cain and Abel and not Adam and Eve? That’s weird. They sinned first. Isn’t that the beginning of the dysfunction? Okay, Cain went out “east of Eden,” so what? Adam and Eve did too (Gen. 3:24). Oh God…
The writer, or writers, of Genesis keeps returning to this eastward metaphor, insisting that something has gone terribly wrong with humanity, and that from the very beginning humans are moving in the wrong direction. [p. 13]
Uhh… metaphor? How? Oh, (t)he(y) doesn’t explain that… big surprise there. What about the Magi seeing the star in the EAST (Mat. 2:2, 9) and following it to young Jesus? Was that the wrong direction? Didn’t Jesus say that his coming would be like the lighting that flashes from the EAST to the west (Mat. 24:27)? Jesus must have been starting out in the wrong direction, huh? Let’s grab the concordance and see what other east verses there are. Ahh, Numbers 3:38, the tabernacle was towards the EAST. Wrong direction, must’ve been. Job 1:3 huh? Job was from the EAST. We all know how he was going in the wrong direction, what, with his blamelessness, uprightness, and fear of the Lord. Ooh, Zechariah 14:4, it’s messianic! The messiah is going to touch down on the Mount of Olives? In the EAST?!! Alright, I’m convinced… Golden’s and Bell’s “metaphor” doesn’t hold up.
Oh boy, an analogy. So Bell is in the airport and he gets stopped and put into an “air puffer.” Okay, it’s supposed to make him feel safe and at the same time violated? I don’t get it, what’s his point? Now he’s talking about the news… and back to the air puffer… now back to the news… wow! He’s going to keep doing this, isn’t he? Yup, back and forth, forth and back. Oh Jesus, what did Chris get me into? What’s his point?!! I know he has to have some kind of point, doesn’t he? Oh… I see. The news says that “American forces are now occupying [a] Middle Eastern country until peace can fully be realized within its borders.” [p. 17] Yeah, okay… and? Ahh… I see, “Jesus was Middle Eastern man who lived in an occupied country and was killed by the superpower of his day.” [p. 17] So we’re like the superpower who killed Jesus! The Church is like the dysfunctional Cain who killed Abel and America is like the world superpower who killed Jesus. I get it, and I HATE it!!!
Oh well, gotta keep reading. Well, no, I don’t actually. I’ll pick it up later.
To be continued…