1,600 Pages of Awesome

My morning reading.

Yesterday, I received in the mail the magisterial doorstop of a book: NT Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God. I’ve only read the first section, but I already love it. Many fans consider this book Wright’s magnum opus, but it’s actually part of a many-book series that he says he hopes to continue. Nevertheless, this is the book that Wright will be remembered for.

In the preface, he says that he’s really been working on this book his entire life, since his parents gave him a Bible at age five and he read the book of Philemon first. He admits that he didn’t work on this book from ages 5 to 15, but he says he’s been working on it ever since.

Even so, one of his first admissions is that he doesn’t cover everything, he doesn’t interact with every other point of view:

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Straight White Men Shouldn’t Write about Power and Privilege, Right?


This post is part of the Patheos Book Club. To see more posts about this book, see an interview with the author, and add your own review, see the Patheos Book Club.

On this blog and elsewhere, I have been repeatedly told that I am blind to my own privilege. Of course, it’s hard to see what you’re blinded to, and if you protest a statement like that, you’re being obstinate and defensive. That’s why a lot of straight, white men like me — and especially those of us employed by the academy — avoid writing about such things, so we can avoid the charge, “Who the hell are you to write about such things?!?” Instead, we choose other things to write about.

Evangelicalism isn’t as beset with political correctness as the progressive academy, so maybe that’s why Andy Crouch could unashamedly tackle the subject of power and privilege in his new and compelling book, Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power. Also, Andy is a journalist, so he can claim a bit of objectivity in his approach.

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When Divorce Is Not the End of the Story

Laura Truax

I met Laura Truax a couple years ago. She’s a force of nature — high spirited, joyful, loving. She pastors a church in Chicago that, as unlikely as it may seem, was founded by Moody Bible Institute as a place for its students to attend. That church has changed significantly over the years and, suffice it to say, with a woman pastor and an openness to GLBT persons, Moody no longer recommends it to their students.

When we met, Laura told me that she was writing a book, and we chatted about the writing process. We did not, however, talk about the content of her book. So after my initial impression of her as ebullient and joyous, I was surprised to get her book in the mail last week and find out that it’s about failure and brokenness.

And then I was really floored when I read the opening lines, about her divorce. Yes, I was hooked.

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The Emergent Dave Ramsey

I’ve know Mark Scandrette for a long time. In fact, in 2008, he and Doug Pagitt and Dave Laird and I spent an entire summer together in Michael Toy’s RV. I got to know him even better that summer.

Mark is an uncommonly honest person. In fact, chances are that within 5 minutes of a conversation, Mark will ask you something rather intimate about one of two little-discussed topics: sex or money. And he won’t break eye contact until you answer him.

Mark is unafraid of these topics, and he’s unafraid, in turn, to tell you intimate details about his own sex and financial life. His honesty is a gift to his friends and to the church, writ large.

Which is why I’m so pleased that he and his wife, Lisa, have written a book about money matters. It’s called, Free: Spending Your Time and Money on What Matters Most.

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