I told Frank Viola I would post a review of his book on here. This was in direct exchange for getting a free book and a very interesting interview I haven't posted yet, either. Thing is, I long ago posted a "review" on my work blog, the one targeted at Christian radio listeners. I mean, targeted FOR Christian radio listeners.
So here it is, way late. Amazingly, even though it's a year old (!) the book content still manages to somehow stay relevant. By, say, January, all bets are off, but for now, From Eternity to Here still makes some sense. You should purchase it, just like I didn't.
Anyway, the review from my work blog:
Here's the book we've been talking about: Frank Viola's From Eternity to Here.
You can get it at the usual places online. And you really should get it. Like here.
I don't say that often, and -- of course -- it's true that one book does not fit all. But this is a very accessible book about a topic so important, the word "topic" seems diminishing.
It's about Jesus. And you. And a wedding.
Many people think knowing Jesus is ultimately about one thing: Going to heaven. "I got my ticket to heaven, so the rest is details" -- I've actually heard that.
This sounds right to some, at some level, maybe, but it doesn't capture the love affair between God and His people. Not even close. Viola brilliantly explains what he calls the "eternal purpose of God", and it's a love story, since before time began.
When I read about this love story, this wedding-to-come, I can't help but think the "ticket to heaven" idea of Christianity is a selling-short of this Great Romance. You see, it's like saying, "All that matters is I get in the reception, and I get some of that cake. I loves me some wedding cake."
Well, okay. We all do. But this is about love. Always has been. You see, it's about much more than whether or not you get some cake. YOU ARE IN THE WEDDING. You're being proposed to. You're going to be standing up in this one, front-and-center, and the question isn't whether you want some cake. The question is: Do you take this man...?
The question is, and always has been, not "Do you have your ticket?" but..."Do you love me?"
So do I?
Viola admits to being a romantic. I'm not -- not in the typical I-love-"The Notebook" sense -- but I'm glad he's that type, because it's allowed him some remarkable insight and appreciation into the romantic elements of the Bible, from start to finish.
Genesis to Revelation is all about Jesus. I knew that. But Viola points out the romantic storylines, played out over and again, that I'd never noticed. Fascinating stuff. (I'd never thought, before, about how "communion" is, among other things, a re-enactment, based on Jewish tradition, of the acceptance of a wedding proposal, for example. And there's much, much more.)
This book is not overly heady, not written for scholarly-types only. And there's far more to it than I can allude to in a short entry. If you read it, let me know what you think. It might rock your world, in the most exciting, freeing way.
I've been in Afghanistan, and I found the whole country rather inconveniencing. I understand others have as well.
While the mujahadeen did not do any killing of me, my shower was irregular, hot/cold, few spoke the correct language -- mine -- and I found the dust unpleasant. To top it off, my internet connection was very slow. Their lack of tech advancement, perhaps retarded by bi-weekly invasions from south, north, east, and west, prevented me from uploading videos of me doing remarkable things to save them. Pity.
All in all, I give Afghanistan 2.5 stars. I felt unwelcomed by both the lack of good coffee, and the missiles they fired at our intended hotel.
But they did have excellent bread. Toast, really. And women, upon seeing me, rapidly scuttled away quietly, covering their faces, seemingly fearing the worst. So that, also, made me feel somewhat at home.
I grew a beard, a "Safety Beard", to better fit in with the Afghans. Good news: It worked! Several thought I was an Afghan, of a particular tribe from the north. Bad news: Afghans like to kill each other, particularly some tribes from the north.
Here are links to what I was able to post on my "work blog", for popular (radio listener) consumption:
And if you'd like to part with $65 to pay for a heavy blanket, plus pre- and post-natal care for a Afghan mom and newborn,here's a link for that. We were hoping/praying for 500 moms to get medical care, and our listeners have paid for more than 1800. We're thrilled about that. This is one very, very unique hospital, the best in Afghanistan, and it's there because of one couple's heart for the Kingdom.
I can tell you, spending time with the American doctors/nurses/staff (all told, less than ten of them), and the Afghan doctors, was a terrific experience. Lots of laughs, and lots of regrets, on my part, that I did not become a doctor. Healing little ones, setting them about walking, and running, and playing? Something seems especially fun about that.
So at THIS church, you walk in, see the Box o'Cash, and pray that you win it, and then someone pulls a random seat number out, and maybe you take home the cash.
After all, you know, it teaches people the proper way to handle money, and you've got to be creative in today's media-soaked environment, and you can't reach-em if you don't get-em through the door, and hey, if it reaches just one person, and who's to say God didn't tell this guy to do this with his church?, and what's the matter with making church fun?, and there's no reason why we can't use good marketing to help the church?, and it shows that God is offering us the ultimate "Deal or No Deal" and we should take it, and what's the matter with that?
Right -- I know. There's no point arguing, anyway. "Church" = show. Some successful shows are game shows. Some successful churches will, therefore, be game shows. Transitive Property of Equality.
Because there's nothing more fun than forcing people to look at your own photo albums, here's an online version.
I can't force you to look at it. I can't even force myself to think you'd want to. But here it is.
Oh, the places you'll go!