April 2008 Book Review: A Christianity Worth Believing by Doug Pagitt
A Christianity Worth Believing – Hope Filled, Open Armed, Alive and Well Faith – For the Left Out, Left Behind and Let Down in Us All by Doug Pagitt – Jossey-Bass Publishers San Francisco, CA Copyright 2008 by John Wiley & Sons. Publication Date: June 2008.
A Book Review by Bill Dahl
Postman came today;
Junk mail, bills, and a weird promotional gadget.
At the bottom of the stack,
A new book from Doug Pagitt!
As I ripped open the bills,
I immediately began grieving.
Then I opened Pagitt’s book,
“A Christianity Worth Believing.”
Pagitt’s writing flows.
He doesn’t posit strange realities.
He invites you on a journey,
Exploring new possibilities.
Doug declares he’s a Christian.
Yet, doesn’t believe in Christianity.
The kind that’s been around for 1500 years,
Ignoring the questions within our present reality.
Pagitt is a self-described ‘contrarian.’
One dedicated to a living hope.
Looking beyond current limitations;
In a world filled with certainty, cynics and ‘nope.’
Living a life with Jesus,
Doug began to grow.
Encountering the gray areas of faith,
He began to find “uh-oh!”
Doug never abandoned his faith in Jesus.
He embarked like one let loose.
Changing the words, changes the story,
Like his church’s ten foot goose.
The idea of a wild, untamed Spirit of God
Hit Doug like a force no dove could muster.
New images, ideas and language provided A Christian faith
Around which he and his could cluster.
The cultural genesis of Christianity?
The version that came out of the Greek.
Doug explores the implications -
Refreshing insights useful and unique.
Renewing, rethinking, reformulating
Our ideas about what it means to follow God.
Doug’s authentic encouragement is refreshing.
I didn’t find it one bit odd.
An invitation to participate within each story;
For Doug, the Bible is alive;
A living way created in our lifetime;
Opportunity to re-imagine where we can thrive.
Doug writes for the common person,
He’s no clairvoyant mystic.
His is a theology of invitation,
Well-grounded and holistic.
God in us, with us and around us –
Doug is all for the God who is “down and in.”
Including those left out, let down and left behind.
To tell a better story, is where we might begin.
The definition of being human?
To be God’s partner’s in this world.
Recognizing one another as God’s children,
Is the place where love’s unfurled.
Pagitt has disdain for the theology of depravity;
The one where we’re all rotten to the core.
Damned as dirty, filthy mistakes -
Incapable of better - unable to become more.
For some, Doug’s positions,
They might seem a little odd.
You should read this book,
Discover Doug’s redemptive God.
Pagitt is an imaginative realist.
He appreciates the destructiveness of our sins.
Why the integrated life with God triumphs?
Because in Jesus, this love life wins.
I became misty in sections of this book,
Doug convinced me there’s a better way.
Imagining new possibilities,
Filled with hope from what he had to say.
If you’re simply wandering,
Or from Christianity you’re in remission.
I encourage you to take this walk with Doug.
Give yourself permission.
This living way with Jesus,
As Pagitt talks about it you might want to try it.
Start by reading this book,
Don’t forget to buy it.
Perhaps you’ve been hurt by Christians, Church and doctrine;
Have no desire to explore or do any faith-related retrieving.
This book is a safe place for you,
A Christianity Worth Believing.