Monthly Archives: January 2009

Book review: “Common Ground” by Keith Drury

I’ve just finished Keith Drury’s “Common Ground – What All Christians Believe and Why it Matters.”

The book consists of 10 page essays on the elements of the Apostle’s Creed. Since the earliest days of Christianity the Apostle’s Creed has stated the faith of the followers of Jesus. Drury takes each phrase of this ancient creed and helps us understand why it is included in this crucial statement of faith.

The book isn’t long and is easy to read. At times the prose is absolutely beautiful and reads like poetry. The chapter on “Jesus Christ” is very good. Also, the chapter on “Forgiveness of sins” blessed my heart.

Drury includes considerable church history in his essays, helping us understand how the Church arrived at each particular statement in the creed.

Even a life time “low churcher” like me comes away with a fresh appreciation for this ancient creed which has been a part of Christianity from it’s first baby steps.

Review of “The Shack” by William P. Young

I started reading “The Shack” by William P. Young and couldn’t get through the first few chapters. I didn’t think I wanted to wade through all the nightmare stuff.

So, I stopped reading after the first chapter or so. Then a couple of months later I heard people talking about it and decided to give it another try. Instead of reading it, I just scanned through the first 4 chapters enough to know what happened and then joined the story from chapter 5 on.

I find the story of the weekend to be quite compelling and love the emphasis on the Trinity and the relationship within the Godhead.

I am helped by several of the teaching aspects of the book — especially the constant message of God’s desire to have a relationship with people. I doubt I will ever forget that the Lord is especially fond of each of us. I also love the description of the “wastefulness of grace.”

I like the way Jesus is described. His manhood, humanness is very easy to connect to.

I like the good natured response of the Trinity to mistakes and misunderstandings and the powerful emphasis on grace.

Two things that make me somewhat uncomfortable:

1. The seeming universalism in the theology. I wish that at some point there is an acknowledgment that humans can ultimately and finally reject the love and grace of God. The presence of Mac’s father with no background on how that came to be seems to underscore the universalism message.

2. The encounter with Misty coupled with the funeral scene makes no mention of a bodily resurrection. We have Jesus, very human and much is made of that. Then we have Misty and the “night of lights” as though that is all there is to it. Even the funeral service contains no mention of resurrection.

So, I think I’ll subtract one point for the background story being unnecessarily disturbing and intense. I’ll take away another point and a half for the two theological issues I mentioned.

For me, that should give the book a score of 7.5 — however, my gut is that it has terrific potential to speak to people in compelling ways on the issues of human suffering, the nature of God, and the good will of God toward all human beings. The final rank, then, to me is more like a 9 or a 9.5. In other words: if you haven’t done so yet, you ought to read this book!