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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Publication Date: 2015
Farmers markets, artisanal dark chocolate, home-made bread, craft-brewed beer, and independent boutique coffee shops may not immediately call to mind issues of faith, but they should. As the "American Dream" starts to fray at both ends, millions of people are embracing values that seem to hail from a bygone era. They are seeking out the local, the small, the responsible and the nourishing instead of the cheap, the homogenized, the mass-produced and the canned.
Is it possible that this renewed interest in these pre-modern values may actually offer an open door into the hearts and minds of this generation? Is there a way to explore specific, inspiring stories about coffee, bread, chocolate and art that lead people toward a truly Biblical understanding of the person, words and work of Jesus to reveal the truth, goodness and beauty of the Gospel?
With fascinating stories and a thread of memoir, Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate explores the emergingactually re-emergingvalues of this post-industrial age and points out parallels between them and the teaching and ministry of Jesus and his earliest followers. Rather than seeking to tie the faith to trends in the culture, it shows how trends in the culture are already very close to the organic kind of faith that could reenergize the church and bring countless young and middle-aged people into a saving experience of Christ.
Scotty4 Stars Out Of 5Is artisanal a better example for today's corporate-style church?June 7, 2015ScottyQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 5Do you like hot, freshly baked, whole grain bread?
What about incredible, rich chocolate? No, not the Hersheys kind of chocolate, but the kind crafted by an artisan?
And do you like Jesus, too?
What do bread, chocolate, and Jesus have to do with one another?
John J. Thompson manages to connect these and more in his interesting, and even challenging, new book, Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate, (published by Zondervan) that uses todays growing interest in things hand-crafted, organic, and artisanal to reveal our need for a lot of improvement and changes, especially in the church.
Add to baking great bread and making incredible chocolate interesting stories of roasting his own coffee, brewing his own beer, and a passion for music, and youll have the eclectic tools Thompson uses to challenge his readers into Crafting a Handmade Faith in a Mass-Market World.
A warning: todays Christian who is deeply mired in and committed to the industrialized, institutionalized, corporate-style church will likely be tempted to dismiss this as Christian hipster angst. Indeed, youll spend plenty of time reading about baking awesome bread, re-discovering great chocolate, or roasting a fabulous cup of coffee, and sprinkled within all that are illustrations that connect to our faith in Christ. Finally, as the book draws to a close, Thompson pours on his messages, tying all his ideas together to challenge us to see how far off track the church has gotten and what we might do about it.
Even early on in the book, Thompson writes
Our industrial culture is exceptionally good at shaping and reinforcing what I call the sacraments of progress': consistency, customization, measurability, efficiency, progress, guaranteed satisfaction.
Our primary identity is that of producers and consumers of goods.
Our society reinforces these values constantly through the marketing we imbibe, the stories we tell, and the songs we sing. We are what we do. Were entitled to comfort, stimulation and satisfaction It seems the advances in technology that resulted from the invention of the assembly line were nothing compared to the Industrial Revolutions ability to reframe our identity as human beings. In fact, all the Revolution did was pour lubricating grease on the greed, fear, and violence native to our hearts. Industrialism isnt responsible for our destruction; it simply accelerates it.
We adopt worldly, corporate definitions of success and live out our faith accordingly.
Thompson uses his tales of his artisnal pursuits to compare cheap, bleached, white bread to the delicious delights of freshly baked whole grain breads, contrasting that with the church being the cheap white bread knockoff. He goes on to contrast Hersheys chocolate that contains very little real chocolate to artisans re-discovering great chocolate, with the church being the Hersheys example, and so on.
All of these stories are to help us see how weve settled for a cheap faith thoroughly lacking in spiritual nutrition, and a corporate church instead of a faith family.
And when it comes to the formation of our faith and values, an artisanal approach one that includes master and protege intentionally crafting something from God-given materials in a way that works because it is true may be something that can actually change the world. As youll see in these pages, this is the process that is changing me right now.
It could change you, too.
Pick up the book, enjoy the adventure of Thompsons own spiritual development, and see if God wants to cleanse the corporate out of you to hand-craft a real, deep, pure faith in this mass-market world.
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for this review. 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 Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
RaventhreadsWhite, GAAge: 35-44Gender: female3 Stars Out Of 5Handcrafting Jesus in a Mass-Produced WorldMarch 28, 2015RaventhreadsWhite, GAAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 3Value: 3Meets Expectations: 3We live in a mass-produced world. Everyone of us can feel it. Lots of plastic, cookie-cutter stores and the need to be trendy. Not only is that the case, but we are often judged (and judge ourselves) on the things that we buy. Do you ever feel a discontent with that? I know that I do.
Thats where John J. Thompsons Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate: Crafting a Handmade Faith in a Mass-Market World comes in. He acknowledges that all around us the church is dyingInstead of an authentic faith, many of us are settling for a mass-market, mega-church shallow spirituality. Thompson here has a total cultural indictment against our mass-market industrial revolution culture and a deep longing for the handcrafted artistry that was so much a hallmark of times past.
Along the way of making his case, Thompson dips deep into the memoirs of his personal faith and of the people who he comes in contact with. I think that Thompsons primary thesis, that you cant mass produce faith is true. However, as a type A personality, sometimes I have trouble in this book keeping his thread of thought as a thesis for faith-based living. Far too often, I got lost in the threads of baking, chocolate and beer-making, instead of focusing on Jesus.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book through the BookLook Bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review, and my opinions are my own.
RickDTelkwa, BCAge: 35-44Gender: male2 Stars Out Of 5From Farmer's Markets to FaithMarch 27, 2015RickDTelkwa, BCAge: 35-44Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 3Meets Expectations: 2I love the smell of fresh baked bread. When we livied in Croatia, walking down to the local bakery and smelling all the amazing breads and pastries was awesome and the taste was indescribable! Now, living in northern British Columbia, I have access to fresh baked breads, organic coffees, and a host of other items at local farmer's markets and boutique coffee shops.
When I came across Jesus, Bread and Chocolate I was immediately intrigued. The idea of crafting a handmade faith in a mass-market world sounded appealing. However, author John J. Thompson, seemes to have promised more than he actually delivered.
While the author's passion is evident, the connection between faith and a farmer's market lifestyle seems more forced than a natural flow.
Having said all that, I found the author's story of his journey of faith to be captivating and it his love and passion for God is quite evident.
Though not my cup of tea, this book will appeal to those believers deeply embedded in the farmer's market lifestyle.