Favorites of 2008

I’m a huge fan of books, movies, and music.

Hint, Hint, think gift cards.

Below are my favorites of the year:

Books:

  1. “Leading with a Limp”  (Dan Allender)
  2. “Humility”  (C.J. Mahaney)
  3. “It”  (Craig Groeschel)
  4. “Sex, Romance & the Glory of God”  (C.J. Mahaney)
  5. “Under the Unpredictable Plant”  (Eugene Peterson)
  6. “The Emotionally Healthy Church”  (Pete Scazzero)
  7. “Jesus Wants to Save Christians”  (Rob Bell & Don Golden)
  8. “The New Christians”  (Tony Jones)

Movies:

  1. Dark Knight
  2. No Country for Old Men
  3. Valkyrie
  4. We Own the Night
  5. Vantage Point
  6. 3:10 to Yuma
  7. Get Smart
  8. Traitor
  9. The Golden Compass
  10. Juno

Music:

  1. “Viva la Vida” (Coldplay)
  2. “New Surrender”  (Anberlin)
  3. “Dial M”  (Starflyer 59)
  4. “A Hundred Million Stars”  (Snow Patrol)
  5. “Appeal to Reason”  (Rise Against)
  6. “Dark Horse”  (Nickelback)
  7. “Human”  (The Killers)
  8. “Sleep Through the Static”  (Jack Johnson)

What did I miss? What were your favorites of 2008?

Top Posts of November ’08

In case you missed them, here are the posts that generated the most hits this month:

  1. One Church’s View on Prop 8
  2. John Piper on Election 08
  3. Saturday Night Mind Dump…  (11/15)
  4. Saturday Night Mind Dump…  (11/8)
  5. Jesus for President:  Politics for Ordinary Radicals
  6. Advent Conspiracy is Coming
  7. Jesus wants to Save Christians
  8. Porn Again Christian
  9. Meet Paul Ingram
  10. Why We’re Doing a Christmas Offering

Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile

Just read Jesus Wants to Save Christians by Rob Bell & Don Golden for our current series. Fascinating.

The book starts off “There is a church in our area that recently added an addition to their building which cost more than $20 million. Our local newspaper ran a front-page story not too long ago revealing that one in five people in our city lives in poverty. This is a book about those two numbers. It’s a book about faith and fear, wealth and war, poverty, power, safety, terror, Bibles, bombs, and homeland insecurity; it’s about empty empires and the truth that everybody’s a priest; it’s about oppression, occupation, and what happens when Christians support, animate, and participate in the very things Jesus came to set people free from. It’s about what it means to be a part of the church of Jesus in a world where some people fly planes into buildings while others pick up groceries in Hummers.”

Intrigued?

It just gets better from there.

These are questions that every Christian must wrestle with as we live in a world of power and empires which is very similar to the world in the Old and New Testament. The parallels that Bell and Golden make from the United States to Egypt in Exodus and Rome in the New Testament are somewhat disconcerting but difficult to argue with.

Here are a few things that jumped out:

  • There is God’s kingdom – the peace, the shalom, the good that God intends for all things. And then there is what happens when entire societies and systems and empires become opposed to God’s desires for the world.
  • “The only thing that can really destroy us is us.” (Colin Powell)
  • Remember, God is looking for a body, flesh and blood to show the world a proper marriage of the divine and human. What happens when your body looks nothing like you? What happens when your people become the embodiment of everything you are against? What happens when you’re being given a bad name? What happens when your people are unfaithful to the vow they made to you? What happens when your people “go back the way again,” the way you rescued them from?
  • The Hebrew scriptures have a very simple and direct message:  God always hears the cry of the oppressed; God cares about human suffering and the conditions that cause it. God is searching for a body, a community of people to care for the things God cares about. God gives power and blessing so that justice and righteousness will be upheld for those who are denied them. This is what God is like. This is what God is about. This is who God is.
  • America is an empire. And the Bible has a lot to say about empires. Most of the Bible is a history told by people living in lands occupied by conquering superpowers. It’s a book written from the underside of power. It’s an oppression narrative. The majority of the Bible was written by a minority people living under the rule and reign of massive, mighty empires, from the Egyptian Empire to the Babylonian Empire to the Persian Empire to the Assyrian Empire to the Roman Empire. This can make the Bible a very difficult book to understand if you are reading it as a citizen of the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. Without careful study and reflection, and humility, it may even be possible to miss central themes of the Scriptures. Because what’s true of empires then is true of empires now. What we see in the Bible is that empires naturally accumulate wealth and resources.
  • Entitlement leads to immunity to the suffering of others, because “I got what I deserve” and so, apparently, did they.

The line that I found most intriguing was “What happens when the church participates in the very things that Jesus to set people free from?” Do you think that’s true? What things does the church participate in that Jesus came to set us free from?

Books I’m Reading for “Becoming…” Series

Here are some books I am reading for our next series Becoming…

Links of the Week

  1. Perry Noble on The pastor’s pain
  2. Don Golden on The missional church
  3. Tim Keel on The election season
  4. Church Marketing Sucks on The Illusion of Community Part 1 
  5. Church Relevance on Family interaction reduces teen sex and substance abuse
  6. Scot McKnight on Abortion (here & here)
  7. Perry Noble on 7 things senior pastors want their staffs to know pt. 1,pt. 2, pt. 3
  8. John Ortberg on The gospel & happiness paradox
  9. Dave Ferguson on What it takes to catalyze a movement
  10. Reggie McNeal on Prayer
  11. Scot McKnight on Where theology is headed
  12. Ed Stetzer Interviews Thom & Sam Rainer (authors of Essential Church)
  13. CNN on How to save $9,000 a year