"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book Talk & The Arab Question

In the final pages of American Jesus author Stephen Prothero wrote,

"Like America's Jesus himself, who was born among Protestants but now lives among Christians and non-Christians alike, the United States has developed from a Protestant country into a nation, secular by law and religious by preference, that is somehow both the most Christian and the most religiously diverse on earth."  (pg. 302)

I think that's rather neat to consider though I wonder how many of those people including myself really follow Jesus' teachings.  Are we mostly "cultural Christians" or do we take Jesus' words seriously? Or should we? Is it enough to have Jesus as our "buddy" without hearing what he has to say and doing it?

I finished that book a few days ago and read one from a British-born lady with an Afghani heritage. It was a library book that I found the same day I got American Jesus. Now I am reading a book I got for Christmas, Arab Voices by James Zogby.  The subtitle is "what they are saying to us, and why it matters."

If I asked you what the Arab world is saying to us, how would you answer? 

And do you think it matters to us? Should it? Or should we care little since that world is not our world, and is, in fact, thousands of miles away?

I'm also reading Girl Meets God by Lauren F. Winner.  Subtitle says "on the path to a spiritual life,"  and I also found it at the library. Apparently she had a Reform Jewish father and a "lapsed Southern Baptist mother," but chose to become an Orthodox Jew.  Until she had a dream about Jesus and knew "as certain as I have ever been about anything, that the dream was from God and the dream was about Jesus, about how He was real and true and sure." (pg. 8) That lead her to eventually accepting Jesus.  Actually I'm not very far into this book so I'll have to keep reading about her spiritual journey.  So far it's interesting because she sees Christianity through Jewish eyes and even explains how Jews read the Bible and celebrate holidays.  I believe that I will enjoy "seeing" Christianity and Jesus through the lenses of one who grew up in the Jewish faith and also learning about Judaism in the process. I don't know any Jews that I can recall.  Not a lot of religious diversity in my area.

Are you reading anything interesting these days?  Feel free to share what has taken your interest lately. Also, I'd love to hear your thoughts about the Arab questions above if you care to make your voice heard in the comments.


Lat said...

Interesting books there esp Girl meets God by Lauren F. Winner.How far should one take one person's experience as our experience? I think they can be misleading as there are thousands of experiences around.

Still reading Tolle's book and finished one titled Winter Song by Jean-Claude Mourlevat and ended feeling rather sad for the female character.

Amber said...

I guess the question of whether or not America really is the 'most Christian' nation on earth depends on how we're defining our terms. What does the author mean when he says Christian? Those who claim the title, or those who live it?

I know that what happens to nations in other parts of the world affects us. We're a global community now days more than ever before. It's not like we can shut our borders and ignore everything. Every country on earth is tied in to other countries in a way that makes it impossible.

If I had to guess what the Arab nations are saying, I'd say that they want to be treated like equals. Not just have equality paid lip service to.

I always cringe when I see someone 'had a vision' in modern times. Which is funny, since I'm willing to accept certain visions from antiquity.

Susanne said...

Lat, I don't think I take one person's experience as my own...hmmm. Now you've made me think about that. and whether I do this. Hmmm.

Oh,do books ever make you cry? Thanks for sharing what you are reading/have read! :)

Susanne said...

Amber, I totally agree about defining what Christian is. I remember when Samer and I first met this was one of the first questions we discussed because I wanted to know what "being Christian" meant to him before I could reply to his queries concerning my faith! It's so variable depending on who's answering!

I enjoyed your thoughts on what Arabs might have to say. I think they should be heard by us especially since we are often meddling in their region for whatever reason.

Ha...I'm very similar re: visions/dreams in modern times. Why is this? Do we expect God to only use dreams and visions in the olden days and nowadays use is too kooky? Really, when I read what her dream was about,I was like "Really? That?" but then later in the book she talks about it briefly that her dream can't be what holds her to Christianity so I get a feeling she ... well, she matured past that. I don't know. I guess God can use such things even if they seem silly to me.

I finished the book and overall I really did enjoy it. I especially loved her thoughts on the Book of Ruth and how she tied it to Jesus and the genealogy given by Matthew. I looked her up briefly and I believe she teaches at Duke's Divinity School now. I am curious about the rest of her story since this book was published nearly ten years ago.

Thank you both for your replies!