on 10 November 2012
I have been struggling to identify with some of the often contradictory messages offered by the church over the last few years and now rarely attend services. I still attend a house group regularly where I can be more open with my questions. However none of us are theologians so dont know elements of the bible well enough to feel confident in examining those contradictory messages properly. Then I stumbled upon this book. It examines many of the questions I was wrestling with e.g. If God is the God of love and compassion as I believe He is, and has ultimate control over everything as the church tells us, why did He choose not to stop the murder of his only son? What did Jesus mean when he said I am the way? Could he mean that we role-model his behaviour (love and challenge) rather than merely affiliate to a religious "club"? Shouldnt we value those people who do not identify with the Christian faith but role-model Jesus's behaviour? How does the fact that Jesus was crucified because he had the strength to stand up for what he believed in and the persistence not back down, tie in with him dying for our sins? Is it accurate to describe God as a protector if bad things happen to good Christians?
Thank you David Felten and Jeff Procter-Murphy. I felt so isolated. I cannot begin to describe what an impact this book has had on my life and my faith. You have restored my faith and offered me some challenges for living a more Christian life.
I would thoroughly recommend getting this book. I will be looking to buy the DVD for my house group and getting more involved with the Progressive Christian Network as I've realised that that is what I am.
on 26 April 2014
After getting fed up of the dogma and exclusionary practices of the church, I just dismissed Christianity as an ignorant, regressive religion. I couldn't reconcile my faith in the Divine with the vengeful God that the Westboro Baptist Church, and far less extreme (but still right wing) Christians preached about. As a member of the LGBT community who has suffered at the hands of such people, I didn't think that religion had anything of worth to offer me. I also struggled with the concept of blood atonement and although I found his message to be one worth living my life by, the idea that Jesus was God incarnate was just something I could not believe to be true. Furthermore, I have always been a deep thinker, and have always put my faith in scientific advancements; this wave of new earth creationism we are hearing about constantly just made it even harder for me to identify with the Christian community- or at least what I, and many others, perceived to be the Christian community (it turns out, they were just the ones shouting the loudest, as extremists do).
This book validated all of these issues that had been swimming through my mind. Not only did it teach me that it's OK to question, doubt and ponder, but it also taught me that it's OK to totally disagree with the mainline church; after all, that is what Jesus did. I feel that I can call myself a Christian, and take pride in the fact; the progressive movement means that being a Christian does not mean one has to live up to the stereotypical (yet often accurate) representation of Christians as intolerant, evolution-denying, right wing, sanctimonious bigots that we all too often see in the media.
I have fallen in love with Jesus, and I have reconnected with God. I have never felt more at peace, more loved or more whole. I thoroughly recommend this book to believers and non-believers alike; for the believers, it will open your eyes and mind more than you ever thought possible. For the non-believers, it will show you that there are thinkers among us, that our faith is not all about superstitious myth, sin and redemption; you will see that some of us really do follow the man that started it all, by loving our neighbours and standing shoulder to shoulder with 'the least of these'.
on 25 April 2013
Living the Questions is a worthy introduction for those seeking to live out a liberal Christianity that is passionate and relevant in today's world. The writing is straightforward (easy for those who are not divinity scholars to understand) and precise and covers the important aspects of Christianity including how to interpret the bible, the truth about the life and death of Jesus, and the Christian approach to relationships, social justice, violence and the environment. It deconstructs and debunks many of the myths the churches have erected around such things as creation and the afterlife. I also enjoyed the author's use of poetry and quotations which injected an aesthetic and devotional dimension into the book. I would recommend this book for use in church small groups or house groups for the education of congregations. Understanding of Christianity has greatly declined in recent years and many churchgoers will now be unfamiliar with basic facts about the bible, the lives of Jesus and the developments in their religion and its teachings since the early days of the faith. This book could help to rectify this and restore a more reasonable and informed approach to the faith.
on 22 October 2015
Well worth reading. This is an interesting book which continually hits nails on the head. My only tiny frustration was the confusion between disinterested and uninterested and other examples of slipshod writing, a pity when the content is such a straightforward and coherent summary of intelligent thinking about Christianity in our century. The authors quote Borg, Crossan, Spong and other authors on the same subject.