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Archive for June 9th, 2008

OK, I’m a little tired so this won’t be a long one. Just wanted to touch base on a book I am going through and put some thoughts out there. The book is called “Vintage Jesus” by Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill in Seattle, Washington.

I have been wanting to go a little deeper into Pastor Driscoll for awhile. I became aware of him when I was at Solomon’s Porch for the Emergent Summer Institute a few years back. He was one of the founding people for Emergent (negative) but made a stand and left the group (positive) when more of the leaders of the group became more vocal about scary beliefs. I read he was conservative with his beliefs (positive) and ran a contemporary church (positive). He;s know for a foul mouth; “the cussing pastor” (negative) and being angry and spiteful towards fellow emergent leaders (negative) but later publicly apologized (positive). So as you can see, Mark has been a roller coaster ride for me.

So I picked up his new book “Vintage Jesus” on audio book. I was happy to see he was the one doing the reading itself so it would give me a better feel for him over all. So far, I have found a few redeeming qualities including the ample research and presentation that makes his knowledge on the topics impressive. However, there is a great deal of attitude represented that turns me off. Even as one who agrees with many of the beliefs being presented, I am turned off by the cockiness within the tone and words of the author. I would even more so be turned off if I was someone seeking the Lord and this is what I came across. I’m all about confidence but a majority of what is shared is over the line.

Before I got the book, I found on-line reviews of ultra conservatives who shared frustration about Mark’s flippant attitude in his writing. I did not share the same concern some of them shared. He often uses shocking words and phrases to capture an effect which doesn’t throw me. However, what I was concerned about was his way of taking portions of Scripture out of context just far enough to make a point that has nothing to do with the Scripture. For instance, he has a lengthy section about Jesus having a sense of humor. As Mark goes chapter by chapter through the gospel of Mark (I think it was Mark if I remember correctly), he throws out the hilarious things Jesus said or did. As he comes to Mark 9 and shares how zany Jesus is for suggesting we would cut out an eye or cut off a hand if it makes us sin. Obviously this is so out there it must be a great prank! Funny Jesus.

I’m all about Jesus having a sense of humor. I would bet my life that He did. However, Jesus had a point to make of the serious of sin and how important it is to address and not play games with temptation. I don’t feel comfortable with throwing that point under the bus to twist it into it was just Jesus feeling a little zany and cracking everyone up.

That being said, a lot of times I can blow off the little things that annoy to get the wealth of information in the book. However, this is not so in this book. The pompus attitude and carefree handling of the Word take away from the study itself. I wouldn’t take too much time on this one.

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