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From Stone to Living Word: Letting the Bible Live Again - eBook
Brazos Press / 2008 / ePub
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Christians have viewed the Bible in various ways: as a map to follow, an instruction manual for life, a moral code to live by. It's been called a firm foundation, a sword, a rock.
But what if the Bible is more like an octopus than a rock? What if it's wild, unpredictable, and unmanageable?
In From Stone to Living Word, author and pastor Debbie Blue shows how Christians have treated the Bible as a firm foundation---and thus an idol---rather than a "living response to a living being."
In the opening chapters of the book, Blue shows how Christians read and preach in ways that lean toward idolatry. Then she sets out to dismantle this tendency by interpreting important biblical themes such as creation, incarnation, atonement, and resurrection in a new way. Her reflections transform the familiar into something strange, new, thrilling, and alive.
In a world where idols are used to divide and oppress, Blue's recognition of the tendency to idolize the Bible frees Christians from preconceived notions, allowing them instead to discover new possibilities.
Blue's fresh and sharp insights will appeal to everyone from those who find the Bible irrelevant or suspect to those who are looking for a way to make their faith alive. Her winsome, honest, and often amusing writing captivates and inspires.
Many Christians sense that their encounters with the Bible are supposed to be deep, life-forming, and powerful, but that isn't always the case. They may be overly familiar with the text to the point of finding it predictable, or they may be disillusioned with the church. Too often, and for a variety of reasons, believers make the Bible an idol and unwittingly turn the Word into stone.
Author and pastor Debbie Blue helps readers discover how to turn the stone back into living Word. She first gives general guidelines for letting the Bible breathe, then looks at the Bible's main themes as dynamically encouraging and challenging. Blue frees believers from dumbed-down spirituality as she reveals that the Word is alive and thrilling.
Before reading From Stone to Living Word by Debbie Blue, I had never before considered the word bibliolatry and how it has had such a huge impact on our Christian communities. According to this book, the church has begun to worship the Bible as much as the God to whom the Bible refers. As we are prohibited to place any other idols before our Lord, this is a major concern for modern Christianity. When Bible memorization becomes rote recitation or, worse, blatant chanting, that is not God honoring. When passages are pulled out of context in order to justify modern behaviors, the Bible is being abused. When cults and sects become so obsessed with one aspect of scripture that they become estranged from society, rebellious against government, and alien to culture, that is not Gods plan for humankind.
The author uses many personal experiences to prove her case against the use of bibliolatry and delves into a wonderful new interpretation of how the Bible is meant to be read and understood. While many Christians believe their studies of the Bible are meant to inspire and enrich, usually the opposite occurs as they become familiar with the teachings. I have seen this in myself and many others, making this a great analysis in overcoming this misconception that the Bible is predictable and outdated.
I recommend this book for anyone who has struggled in keeping Gods Word alive in his or her life, which I am sure applies to everyone. This is also a great book for any age group and a wonderful devotional tool in any church setting. -- Heather Schultz, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Debbie Blue is a founding pastor of House of Mercy (HOM) in St. Paul, Minnesota. HOM is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches in the USA and is committed to the diverse and rich theology and worship of the Christian church, worldwide and historical. A graduate of Yale Divinity School, Blue is also the author of Sensual Orthodoxy. She lives on a farm outside of the twin cities with her husband and two children.
"From Stone to Living Word is a brilliant and dazzling book that invites us to read scripture with renewed wonder, curiosity, rigor, and imagination. In a literary voice that is at once lyrical, earthy, and smart, Debbie Blue writes with a generosity of spirit, humor, humility, and clarity about a topic that is so often fraught with technical debates and controversy. In this intensely readable book, Blue calls us beyond mere intellectual engagement with text to encounter the present reality of the living God." -Mark Scandrette, author of Soul Graffiti
"For many, scripture is the fossilized detritus of rationalism and moralism. Debbie Blue's soulful reconstitution of the Christ narrative is nothing short of divine alchemy. Absolutely brilliant." -Sally Morgenthaler, coauthor of An Emergent Manifesto of Hope
"First off, it must be said without equivocation: Debbie Blue is a brilliant writer. She masterfully and winsomely weaves the sublime and the mundane, the stones and the living words. And we can all count ourselves blessed that she has turned her literary talents on the Bible, that tome that many of us feel attracted to and repelled by at the same time. Debbie Blue will help you fall in love with the Bible (again). If you long for living words, read this book!" -Tony Jones, author of The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier
To many readers, "bibliolatry" is a new and frightening word. It describes a phenomenon where the Bible itself, rather than the God of the Bible, becomes an object of worship. Blue, a pastor, author and teacher who is part of the ministry team at works with the House of Mercy in St. Paul, Minn., believes that such a worshipful attitude toward the Bible is a form of idolatry, and that the sacred volume needs to be freed from the clutches of biblical literalists. In this rich and satisfying study, she draws from both her own life's journey , and from the stories of those to whom she ministers, to explore some of the better-known biblical accounts in a new way, enabling the casual reader to find value in a book that some consider filled with fables and morality tales. Indeed, Blue displays not just knowledge of the book, but an intimacy with its underlying meaning. Her prose is clear and precise, written for the lay reader who is interested in many of the questions raised by the emerging church movement. Faith itself, she insists, becomes "a freaking crazy and beautiful thing" when the Bible can be liberated from the literalists. (Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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