There are way too many quotes from this book to quote. Needless to say, Gary is an excellent writer who is able to communicate profound Biblical truth in clear word pictures. He does an excellent job of pushing the Gospel of transformation through its paces, incorporating the theology of the accession, and not allowing the reader off the hook with just "do nots", but now that you have heard and seen "do like wise."
" The gospel of transformation calls me to progress from not lusting to having eyes that honor, respect, and generate compassion." page 63
With this, he writes about the transformation of our eyes, mouths, heart, hands, feet, mind, and ears as instruments ( he actually uses the word submissive) of God; going beyond the elimination of sin, but moving towards the practice of righteousness.
The third section the book deals with embracing personal transformation, being available to and pursuing transformation, recognizing its not an easy process, but it is a process to be pursued in community. If we dare heed the call to come follow, then we should count the cost, because the call is nothing short of a call to be transformed; living compelling lives that inspire others to fight the beautiful fight.
Gary does what few writers seldom do; combine good theology, church history, and contemporary illustrations to communicate truth; challenging the reader to live in a manner worthy of the Gospel. While you won't get " Here are three steps", you do you get a list of ingredients for transformation.
Is it good for small groups? In the back of the book there are discussion questions that engage the reader around the material and illustrations. While the books is laced with scripture refrences and quotes from theologians, the questions are not rooted in the observation but in the application of scriptural truth. They would serve to help a small group get to know each other.
If you have a group who functions like a book club, this would be great. If your group doesn't like to do homework, this may be a little bit to chew off.
For personal use, if you find Dallas Willard a little dense, you may find Gary a little more tangible, but no less thought provoking. Gary is just able to communicate in a more consice manner.
You can't afford not to read The Beautiful Fight.
Next Week's Reveiw : Your Money Counts by Howard Dayton
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Posted by George Atkins at 1:21 PM
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
While life on the Internet, and particularly Blogger, is relatively clean and controlled, life outside the net is messy and beautiful, much like a Jackson Pollack painting.
While I am not a big fan of Jackson Pollack, I can see the appeal and the transfer of reality through the simple dribbling of paint on a blank canvas . . . .as if I knew how to analyze art.
Anyway. You get the picture. Life is messy, and God is at work in the mess to create beauty.
Posted by George Atkins at 1:17 PM
'virtual' has a similar meaning to ' quasi-' or 'pseudo'-
If you Google Virtual Church you will actually find one. The concept is that you can experience a worship service and a community of people without direct interface. You can do 'church' without the messiness of people. In a way, that's what Blogger offers a lot of people, community without the messiness of life. Its probably one of the reasons why I like it. I get to create my own reality through this page, that I design, comment on whatever I want, and change features of that reality. On my page, I am the creator, initiator, and controller. You are the responder. Could I be treading on Idolatry? Give me an Amen! . . . I promise never to use my power for evil.
Now, even though there is an opportunity to experience the Virtual church, our approach to the real church is not much different. We attend a service, often designed to our liking ( and if not, we find one that is), we critique it like a Broadway musical afterwards, using lingo like " I wasn't fed today ", and then we go about our existence; being creator, initiator, and controller ( so we think), avoiding the messiness and beauty of human interaction.
" 13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" James 5:13-16 NIV
Posted by George Atkins at 6:53 AM
I'm still figuring out how to move a draft to a blog, so I'll be retyping yesterdays thoughts for today. The theme for yesterday was the Vertual Church . . .Its not as far away as you think.
I'll be posting a second thought later in the day as well.
Check back soon.
Posted by George Atkins at 5:08 AM
Monday, January 28, 2008
This blog thing is new to me, and the last thing I want is to start a blog and not post, and become one of those people who start out great, post a couple of times, and then drop it for several months, or forever, because the reality is . . .that's how I operate in other areas of me life (exercise, eating well, reading, ect), and my only resolution for 2008 is to surrender myself to the transforming power of the Gospel.
So, I am convenanting with myself ( and you) to post Monday through Friday. My goal for 2008 is to read a book a week, and to post a review of that book on Friday. This week I will be reading The Beautiful Fight: Surrendering to the Transforming Presence of God Every Day of Your Life by Gary Thomas.
Here we go, and see you tomorrow!
Posted by George Atkins at 8:45 AM
Friday, January 25, 2008
Qadosh - Hebrew for holy / set appart. I find it interesting, actually amazing, that holiness is something both ascribed to and prescribed by a holy God to his people. The call to reflect the glory ( character) of God is simply overwhelming and yet the call to anything less would seem trivial. While I am reticent to ascribe holiness to myself, it is intrinsic to Christ's call " come follow me". This blog is a place for me ( and you) to wrestle with this call.
Posted by George Atkins at 8:35 PM