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1 Stars Out Of 5
September 29, 2010
This book is told in the eyes of the author Timothy J. Stoner. It a very heavy theology book about comparing emergent theology to Christianity. I had a very hard time getting through this book as theology is not an interest of mine.This book took alot longer for me to finish and I read other books in between because my interest are books that I can relate to and become attached to the subject and characters. If you enjoy a heavy read (having to really pay attention and think through what you are reading) then this book is for you. If you are a person that enjoys studying and comparing then you will enjoy this book. I can't really explain this book as it was too deep for my taste and interest. I did enjoy the part of the book that Timothy tells about his life experiences. If the book stayed with the story and didn't switch to the theology and references of his stories then I would have loved this book.I can recommend this book to a few of my friends that are in love with theology. On a personal side, I can not recommend this as I could not give a good explanation of what I really read.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Stoner is one of the few middle ground speakers on the topic the Emergent Church. He addresses the more debatable things Rob Bell (pastor of Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids, NOOMA dvds) brings up in his sermons, videos and books. I enjoy a lot of what Bell says, but other things he believes and states, I can't help but question. Stoner confronts those issues without attacking any person in particular or many of the good, sound theology to come from emergent pastors.He discusses some of the hard issues in church today. He's not some Authoritative figure turning his nose up at these problems. He shares some very personal experiences, which are sincere and sometimes heartbreaking. He shares his thoughts on justice and righteousness, not just for the "pretty people" but for the ones who are hard to love, both for us as the individual, and us as the Church. It's written in a friendly, very accessible manner that allowed me to read it in days, never wanting to put it down. And that says a lot considering it's the holidays!
I just finished reading The God Who Smokes, Scandalous Meditations on Faith by Timothy J. Stoner. Each chapter of the book contains autobiographical stories pointing to the bigger story Stoner calls the Great Epic. It is obvious he also enjoys the upheaval of Christian stereotypes. The humorous stories are from his childhood, marriage, fatherhood, career, and friendships. They are filled with the depth of biblical theological truth alongside a balanced, well thought out, honest critique of post-modern and Emergent ideas. He says, Our accommodation to our cultures insistence on a half-truth puts us in danger of declawing and domesticating the mighty King, whose presence made demons scream in terror and death flee in shame. This book is a balanced book finding good in both sides of divisive thinking. I learned that since absolute certainty is under major attack today, at the same time we should evaluate what we think about the God we have become comfortable with. It is true that at times I have felt that God does not follow the rules, lets us down, does not show grace or give advance warning when our loved ones and we need it. Those who take issue with postmodern thinking tend to have intellectual ideas about things that really only God knows.While reading this book, make sure you read the endnotes that are worth the price of the book alone. He quotes favorites like Peter Kreeft, C.S. Lewis, and Augustine as well as current day writers in His research of modern questions and answers. So..does God smoke? Yes, He does. He is so full of passion and blazing emotion that He burns and yes, smokes in the ferocity of His infinite holy love. Not only does God smoke in His love, He smokes in His anger. If God turned away from sin, He would not be God. So indeed God smokes in rage and yet forgives extravagantly. I highly recommend this book.