Monday, October 17, 2011

book review: sacrilege

title: Sacrilege: finding life in the unorthodox ways of Jesus
author: Hugh Halter
publisher: baker books
date: 2011

Some people won't like this book. If you like religion; if you like things nice and neat and tidy; if you like things to remain the same; if you want to be comfortable. But if you want to be real; if your life is lived in the middle of complications; if you want to live with Jesus - then this is a good book to read.

This is a book which encourages us to reexamine Jesus and ourselves. Jesus is shown to be the untamed Lord that He really is. Hugh insists that we take steps outside the confines of the pages of the book, to interact with God and others as we begin and continue to learn to be be apprentices of Jesus.

Halter's book will be a challenge for anyone who bought into a church sized gospel, rather than the gospel of the kingdom of God. 

I like how Halter defines the Ministry of Reconciliation. He writes: "Because I kicked down the barriers for you, I want you to kick down any barriers you find that keep people at arm's length from my love and acceptance... That's revolutionary. That's sacrilegious." [158] But sadly, too often, the church builds barriers.

Near the end of the book, Halter tackles communion and the walls that get built around this celebration. We build walls to keep people away from the table and remove as much joy as possible. What a travesty! I am with Halter here. Communion is not a reward for "holy" living. We so easily forget that Jesus served Judas and Peter the bread and the cup. We don't need to protect God from people who misuse the Bread & the Cup - "He's a big boy!" [166]

One of the other sacred cows Halter tears down is the idea of "holy ground" in church buildings. He writes: "Sacred space is where light breaks into darkness." [202] He needs to cue Leonard Cohen's The Anthem here: "There is a crack in everything That's how the light gets in."

Sacrilege is an excellent read. Hugh Halter keeps bringing us back to the real God of the Bible - not the churchified one.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 
Available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

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