Tuesday, 11 September 2012

How to be a bad Christian and a better human being"

I have been reading Dave Tomlinson's latest book How to be a bad Christian and a better human being" 
It is the first of Daves books I have read since his influential "The post evangelical" and as I expected there is much about both this book and the authour to admire,though I need to say that I do not share his theology especially his theology of scripture which obviously means I do not share many of his conclusions!
The book is written in a popular style and is mercifully free of religious jargon
The rather creative  subtitles to the books chapters reveal a bit about their content 
eg" how to keep faith and ditch religion," how to find God without going near a church," how to think with your soul "and how to make sense of suffering."
I admire above all. Tomlinson's focus on the person and teaching of Jesus and he reminds us powerfully that Jesus as depicted in the gospels was full of compassion for human beings;a compassion that Tomlinson rightly shares and seeks to demonstrate in his own ministry,indeed he comes across as a person with great pastoral gifts and an ability to connect with all kinds of different people.
This is evidenced by some powerful stories that he tells from his own experience as a priest, that I think are worth the the money for the book alone.
Long before becoming an Anglican priest, Tomlinson had a central role in the earlier days of the house church movement and spoke at Spring Harvest and other evangelical conferences ,he therefore understands evangelicalism, which make his implicit attacks on it in the book very well directed indeed!
He is surely right to remind us that that there is much more to Christianity than doctrine, and that Christianity is meant to be life affirming rather than life denying ,so there are lots and lots of positives and yet in my view  doctrine is still very important, if our faith is to be grounded properly
 However you don't have to agree with a book to benefit from reading it so if your interested here is the promo for the book

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