It's been a while since I've put a mystery novel up on this blog. I've been doing other reading.
Many of you know that I am an ordained minister who served 25 years in small-town ministries.
I survived the stress of the ministry by reading mystery novels. But I also read books about religion.
Here are two quotes from my most recent religious reading, Robin Meyer’s Saving Jesus from the Church.
"The biblical vision, though tainted with human folly, violence, and sin, is a vision of shalom. When this Hebrew word is translated as 'peace,' something of its richness and complexity is lost. More than just the absence of war, shalom is a pervasive well-being that reflects the absence of oppression, anxiety, and fear and is characterized by health, wholeness, prosperity, and security. It is God’s dream made manifest 'on earth as it is in heaven.' But it belongs to everyone, just as it is everyone’s responsibility."
Second, here's a quotation which is at the heart of the book—
"There’s nothing wrong with having a 'personal relationship to Jesus,' as long as you know something about the company you are keeping. Liberals and conservatives could actually come together now over what it would mean to follow Jesus on a dying planet. Just think of the numbers."To save ourselves, however, we will first have to save Jesus from the church—break him out of the stained glass window in which he is frozen as a two-dimensional superhero without depth, flesh, or breath. We need to turn away from the institutional forgeries that constitute orthodoxy for millions: the blood atonement, fear-based fantasies of the afterlife, 'vertical' notions of heaven and hell, selective providence based on human ignorance, and a God who pimps for us on the battlefield. Whatever else we think we know about the Great Mystery that goes by many names, this one fact is true: God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, even on our best days. . . .
". . . .Our faith was not born as a belief system; it was turned into one. . . .
". . . .If God is the “Ground of Being” and not a Cosmic Dealer, then faith must be a journey toward wisdom and compassion and not a system of human creeds with divine consequences. This is a journey we can all take together, regardless of our prophets, teachers, or revelations. This is our hope."
For some, Meyers’ book is controversial. To me, by and large, it makes good sense.