I'm still getting Free!Books!! from Michael Morrell of "The Ooze." He's also sending music now, and I'll review a couple of CDs down below. Due to my RA limitations, some of the books have been a little heavy for me to hold in my hands; I passed along Saving Paradise to another blogger (and if she wants to review it, I'll link to it!), and I'm still hoping to read a book about mystics, and probably won't read a novel about Eve.
The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why, by Phyllis Tickle — I like Phyllis Tickle. I like the way she writes. I like her grasp of history. If you want a sense of how what's currently happening in Christianity as compared to other great shifts in history, this is an excellent short course to put things in context. But (did you know there was a "but" coming?), as is so often the case with reporting about the emerging church, the role of women and the differences on social issues (acceptance of LGBT people, abortion) are brushed past. Why is this the case? Are these matters too radioactive? Or do they seem of only passing interest or importance? It hardly feels like "emerging" if it's possible we may turn back the advances we've seen in the latter part of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st. A long discussion of Rosie the Riveter was great, but let's talk more about the role of women in the new century and in the church, in particular.
(This is Book#6 for me in 2009.)
Parabola: Experiencing Jesus as Reality, by Kelly Deppen — This is a self-published book of prophecy and fervor that both seemed odd to me and also came up in my reading queue at a very appropriate moment. The author comes from a Pentecostal background, and therefore her way of approaching prayer, scripture and worship feel very different to me. I'm not saying bad, just different.
Deppen believes that advances in Physics prove Christ as a cosmic reality. I had Pure Luck (whose B.S. is in Physics) read what I would call the science-y parts, because while I know, for instance, who Einstein was and that he wrote the Theory of Relativity and that E=mc2, by which I mean "squared," I don't know much more than that.
I do share a sense with Deppen of wonder about the magnificence of creation down to its tiniest components, and I share a sense of God's presence in everything. I also agree with her belief that churches stuck on organization and tradition are essentially dead.
What I don't share is a sense that we are at the 11th hour of existence.
Look, things are bad, but when haven't they been in some way and for some people? I'm all for admitting it's time to change the way we do some things, but I'm not for abandoning the sense that we have responsibility for the Earth and other creatures and living things on it. While Deppen is not absolutely explicit on some things (while being very explicit about others), she seems to be claiming that we are so close to the return of Jesus that what we all ought to be doing is pretty much nothing but praying.
So it's a good thing someone else at her house earns a living to support her ministry.
(This is Book #7, all completed in January. Yes, I'm competing with myself.)
I wasn't expecting to get CDs as part of this deal, but I am listening to them. The first one that arrived was called, I kid you not, Toking the Ghost. (Click the link to hear the song I reference below streaming on MySpace.)
I really listened to it, I swear I did. I guess these guys are trying to reach a certain segment of the culture. God bless them. I am either too hold or way too non-hip to get this. Also? I don't want a "double portion of being whacked all the time." I want to live in this world while I'm alive. If we're after transcendence all the time, which frankly is what the Deppen book is about, too, I contend it does God's creation a disservice. Why engineer this miracle of creation in all its intricate wonder if only to want us to escape it?
"Lord, even when we die," they chant, "Let our corpses not decompose for hundreds of years." Um, okay. And please, enough on the lactation miracles. Grow the heck up. (Family members who listened to this in the car agree.) These guys are all over YouTube if you want to hear them giggling like stoners and telling kids the Holy Ghost is the best.drug.evah.
The next CD I received was Going Up? by Zehnder, an eclectic group that plays really nice Christian music. Light Princess (13) liked it, too. The music, written by people who REALLY know their Bible, might not be as accessible to a less-scripturally-literate audience. We understood what they were getting at in a song about "the Nicodemus in me," but would most people? I'm thinking not. But the CD gets a thumbs up from both of us.