A Christianity Worth Believing Offers An Engaging, Come With Me On A Journey Of Exploring The Possibilities Approach To What It Means To Be A Follower Of Jesus In Our Day Written By Doug Pagitt A Leading Voice In The Emergent Conversation This Beautifully Written Book Weaves Together Theological Reflections, Christian History, And His Own Story Of Faith Transformation Pagitt Invites Readers To Follow Him As He Tells The Story Of His Un Churched Childhood, His Life Altering Conversion At Age , His Intense Involvement In The Church, And His Growing Sense Of Unease With The Version Of Christianity He Was Living On Page After Page, Pagitt Lays Out His Journey Toward An Authentic, Passionate Expression Of A Faith That Feels Alive, Sustainable, And Meaningful I really identified with this book and have gained quite an appreciation of Doug Pagitt through it His points about the influences Greek philosophy and later determinism made a lot of sense to me these ideas have really affected our understanding of Christianity I think Pagitt is wise in his observations of how our understanding of our faith is skewed by these influences that have been handed down to us as gospel truth, when they were in fact cultural trappings Today we know that the universe is far beautiful, alive, and interactive than the imagination of the deterministic thinkers of the 1600s could allow for The deterministic version has never been able to tell the entire story I love that Pagitt embraces the mystery of the Bible I share his critique of those Christians who claim to have all the answers wrapped up in a neat little package I also really identified with his critique of the God of the Gap image that is so prevalent in evangelism resources I have struggled with this picture for a long time and I think Pagitt helped me understand why this image shows God as being so removed from creation, and somehow helplessly distant from us on the other side of that great canyon, Sin I do believe that sin separates us from God, but I just don t buy this image that God has no interaction in peoples lives until they cross that gap The Hebrew understanding of the immanent God seems like a biblical understanding than the one handed down to us by Greek tradition, which establishes him as up and out to use Pagitt s phrase.On a personal level, I greatly admire Pagitt for the example he has set of doing the hard things What he shared about his adopted son Chico brought tears to my eyes I thought, Wow, this truly is love Not only to adopt a child, but to pour one s life into a child who faces such struggles of brokenness as a result of other people s sin I could go on and on, but I ll just share one thought The concept of the kingdom of God in the here and now is one that I think a lot of Christians have missed I admit to have thought very little about its full implications until recently What a different approach this is from the typical approach, Do you know where you are going when you die What about the here and now What about God s will being done on earth as it is in heaven Thank you, Doug Pagitt, for helping me revisit these questions A Christianity Worth Believing beautifully lays out one man s encounter which resonates with the experiences of so many of us with a Greek influenced christian faith of answers and diagrams, of schematics, and of overly systematized theology He shares his questions his journey to a faith of hope and of holism rather than the legacy s of Plato in splintered body vs spirit Exceptionally worth recommending, I found it encouraging, confirming, and thought provoking. this book made me feel significantly less crazy The chapters on how the Greek ization of Christianity may not have been the best thing for everyone resonated with me and let me feel a little bit at home in Christianity. Doug s perspectives on sin, dualism vs holism, justice, and Jesus have completely refreshed my faith Before reading, I found myself majorly discontented and even ashamed of being a Christian Though I have been on this journey a long time, I didn t think anyone would want to be a Christian based on my understanding of what it meant But this book s fresh take on the goodness of humanity and its chief end to partner with God, others, and creation in love and work, has renewed my vigor and appreciation for Christianity and life with God Especially in this Advent season, my passion for knowing Jesus has been stirred and I respect him much I have a deeper reverence for the history of the Jewish people and what Jesus meant to them One of the most prevalent themes of the book is the distinction between Hebrew interpretation of and Greco Roman impact on theology I find myself drawn to the father love figure painted by Hebrew history and rather put off by the distant judgmental God of the Greco Roman tradition This book has really helped me reevaluate my mindsets and perspectives about God, sin, Jesus, the afterlife, and the point of life on earth Highly recommended for those struggling to like their faith, who have the desire to discover an alternative view of Christianity. I bought this book a number of months ago when I heard the author speak in Denver At the time, I found myself appreciating his heart for those on the fringe and his frustration with pop Christianity in America I also was curious about some of the claims he made about the development of theology, specifically in relationship to differences between a Hebrew and a Greek mind.Having read the book, I can once again affirm and relate to Pagitt s struggle with popular Christianity in America, from the obsession with dualism body and spirit, earth and heaven, etc , to the arrogant stance that those who are in Christ are somehow better than those outside of the faith, to the demonizing of select sins and therefore, select sinners , to the just waiting to die mentality.All that being said, I don t find the author s take on Christianity worth believing in any than the version he s writing against Rather, I find myself standing somewhere in the middle, affirming human depravity when standing before God, but doing so fully aware that my depravity makes God s grace that much amazing not to mention, humbling Like Pagitt, I celebrate our calling to be a part of the rule and reign of God here and now, but trust that even the most tangible experiences of that Kingdom today, are just a foretaste of an even greater manifestation that is yet to come.God, through Jesus, freely giving grace that washes away my past, grants confidence to live free of guilt in the present, and inspires with hope for a future that s beyond anything I can imagine, now that, in my mind, is a Christianity worth believing in. I appreciate Doug Pagitt s voice in our American context of practicing Christianity This book is a good intro level read into some of the questions the emerging Christian movement is asking the nature of the atonement, God s presence and activity in the world, new angles on the centrality of Jesus, etc It s certainly enjoyable, and even quite humorous at points, as Doug threads personal stories throughout his brief theological discussions The book is winsome, and I would happily lend it to someone who is not familiar with the emergent narrative, but is discontent with traditional Evangelicalism However, for someone like me, who has been grappling with these questions for several years already, much of what is talked about here feels repetitive My recommendation definitely hangs on your experience with Christianity have you grown up in a conservative, Evangelical culture, with little exposure to any other viewpoints Highly recommended Have you been exploring recent writings from people like McLaren, Tickle, Borg, Tony Jones and others Then this will probably not be anything new. It was interesting to read how the Greeks ideas of the gods influenced Christianity and how those concepts which have been refined and held to for most of history might be stumbling blocks for people with a less grecian worldview today. Having heard occasional episodes of Doug s podcasts, I was curious to read a couple of his books This one is somewhat biographical with some insight of how he came to Christianity as a teen But the most interesting points relate to how early Christianity slowly shifted towards the Greek philosophy in the early centuries and how that contrasted with the personal relationship of their Jewish ancestors A good read with some new insights I had not heard much about previously. A good read, and it asks questions many Christians might be afraid of asking I appreciate Doug s voice in this conversation.
Doug Pagitt is the head pastor of Solomon s Porch in South Minneapolis and a Senior Fellow with Emergent Village a generative friendship of missional church leaders around the world and a leading architect of the emergent church discussion.
- 242 pages
- A Christianity Worth Believing
- Doug Pagitt
- 13 January 2019 Doug Pagitt