Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jesus is the Answer

Sewanee, TN

Last night, five of us met to talk about Martha Grace Reese's book Unbinding the Gospel and to check in with each other about the prayer practices we'd been invited to try in week six of the personal prayer journal in the back of the book.

In the last chapter, "Getting Started", Reese told the story of riding with a friend after a long day during which they had been grilled by their law school professors who threw trick questions at them. They stopped for a traffic light and noted that the car in front of them sported a bumper sticker which read "Jesus is the Answer". Reese's friend muttered, "So what was the question?"

Throughout 2000 years of Church history, Reese wrote that Christians have said, "Jesus saves us." This led her to continue with some emphasis by stating "The question is, 'From what does Jesus save us?'"

We noted her first three answers . . .
1. sin
2. death
3. demonic social conditions

And then added several of our own . . .
Jesus saves us from. . .

4. living swallow lives
5. loneliness
6. addictions
7. being self-centered
8. giving up
9. being lost in fear
10. being our own worst selves
11. needing other people's approval
12. having to have all the answers

So how about you?
What can you add?

Unbinding the Gospel by Martha Grace Reese

This summer, five of us have been reading Martha Grace Reese' s book Unbinding the Gospel. Tonight we held our last by the book meeting. We will get together and check in with each other next month because we have found excitement in sharing our faith journeys and prayer experiences. We recommend the book - please, be sure to get the second edition as the heart of the book is the personal prayer journal in the back. This is a hands on book. It is more than reading. More than talking together. It is trying and striving. It is seeking a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

Speak to Canon Shallcross if you'd like to form a small group and want one of us to help start. We're only six weeks and a few steps ahead of you but are willing to share what we've learned.

The book is easy to read and full of remarkable passages like these:

"Prayer is the way to stay in love with God." p. 46

"Prayer isn't some sweet, nice, safe, naive little activity to do in your flowery hat. It is crash helmet action for people who flip kayaks in raging spring rivers. " p. 53

"Faith has to be real. Faith has to go as deeply into the holy mystery of life with God as we can stand. We are invited into give-it-all-away, bet-the-farm, choreographed-by-the-Spirit, life-walking-by-Christ's-side in minute-by-minute miraculous glory." p. 1106

"A Bishop's Locker Room Pep Talk:
'All right! Get out there and try stuff!" p. 117

"...safety lies in God, not in our habits." p. 122

"God is the North Star, the fixed point by which we can navigate while the church sails, while the world swirls and buffets us." p. 124

"Christ is the calmer of waves, the master of the storm. God holds the untamable chaos of our lives in God's hands and can calm it. Don't stop. Keep going. Step up communication with your team members. Step up communication with God." p. 125

"God is always in the new place." p. 125

"The point of evangelism is sharing the life with God you know. A tragedy opens up a much deeper life with God. Whatever we learn, we can share with others later.... God is alive and working throughout our most painful time. If we allow ourselves to feel the hardest feelings, ask the painful questions, God will be able to reveal Godself to us in more powerful ways than before. p. 132

We commend this book to you all.

Peace be with you all.

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