Monthly Archives: August 2011
NOTE: This is part of my ongoing, “real-time” book review of an advanced copy of the book. Read my thoughts on Chapter 1.
Chapter 2 of Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus is a short table-setter, an appetizer, a quick dash of flavor for what’s to come.
I love the analogy of trying to read the Gospels without Jesus’ personality being like watching TV with the sound turned off. As Eldredge points out: “Without Jesus’ tone of voice, what was in his eyes, the lift of an eyebrow, a suppressed smile, a tilt of the head, an unflinching gaze, we misinterpret a great deal of what we find (in the Gospels).”
On to Chapter 3 – “Is Jesus Really Playful?”
The best way I can describe Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus so far is like switching from a fuzzy, black-and-white image of Jesus to a 1080p, HD, full-color, even 3 Dimensional portrayal of the most important man who ever lived.
I love this line from the Introduction: “For despite the vandalizing of Jesus by both religion and the world, he is still alive and very much himself.”
What strikes me most from the first chapter, “The Playfulness of God and the Poison of Religion,” is how casual, playful and personal Jesus is with those he loves. (John 21:1-12) How fun Jesus is.
This is not the sad-looking guy from stained glass windows.
He’s a smart-aleck, quick to share an inside joke or memory with his close friends, and always beyond generous in his interactions with people.
Eldredge also takes religion to task, which I’m sure will rankle many modern-day Pharisees. (The Pharisees, by the way, are the one group Jesus always seemed to have a beef with. Not pagans, not sinners, not tax collects – but the religious guys.)
Still, the evidence the author offers up about what he calls “the religious spirit” is sobering: “Millions of people … have spent years attending church, and yet they don’t know God.”
This first chapter leaves me breathless, excited and scared.
Yes, I said scared. Because getting to know and spend time with the real Jesus is disruptive. Maybe what’s scaring me is all my false, familiar idols shouting their protestations. Maybe it’s the little, wounded boy inside of me being scared at the incredible offering in front of me.
Because, as John Eldredge lays out in the first chapter, knowing the real Jesus, in an intimate and everyday way, is life-changing.
Nothing will ever be the same.
And as exciting and hopeful as that sounds, it’s also a little bit scary, isn’t it?
Can’t wait for Chapter Two.
Just got my advanced copy of Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge and can’t wait to dive into it. I’m thinking I might share some shorter, real-time thoughts on it as I go along. And then post a full review when I’m done.
I’m so exceed about this book because I think it might be John’s most important work to date. (And that’s saying something!)
I’ve heard the talks this book is based on (The Life of Jesus) and they often left me alternating between tears of joy and laughter and amazement. Using stories from Scripture, John is able to bring Jesus to life as a person. Not as a set of sayings or a one-dimensional historical figure, but as a real person, one with a personality that just shows you why Jesus was the most fascinating, engaging and important man the world has ever known.
Or, as the subtitle to Beautiful Outlaw says, “Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus.”
Needless to say, I cant wait to read it.
Stay tuned for more updates!
In my existence, nothing has touched me more and brought about more healing and intimacy with God than the work of John Eldredge and Ransomed Heart. Here’s a snippet from his first book, The Sacred Romance, that focuses on the addictions (large and small) we all struggle with. I love the fact that in this particular passage he quotes Gerald May, whose book Addiction and Grace literally floors me every time I read it. If you grew up (as I did) in a very rule-oriented and duty-bound religious system, and/or if you grew up in a situation where love was often conditional and/or came with a heavy price to pay, God will use the work of authors and teachers like John Eldredge and Gerald May to make you weep. The tears will be welcome, however, because they are the tears of freedom, understanding and intimacy. I cannot say how many times this has been the case for myself, anyway.
Here’s the passage from The Sacred Romance that moved me so deeply today:
This is the power of addiction. Whatever the object of our addiction is, it attaches itself to our intense desire for eternal and intimate communion with God and each other in the midst of Paradise – the desire that Jesus himself placed in us before the beginning of the world. Nothing less than this kind of unfallen communion will ever satisfy our desire or allow it to drink freely without imprisoning it and us. Once we allow our heart to drink water from these less-than-eternal wells with the goal of finding the life we were made for, it overpowers our will, and becomes, as Jonathan Edwards said, “like a viper, hissing and spitting at God” and us if we try to restrain it.
“Nothing is less in power than the heart and far from commanding, we are forced to obey it,” said Jean Rousseau.
Our heart will carry us either to God or to addiction.
“Addiction is the most powerful psychic enemy of humanity’s desire for God,” says Gerald May in Addiction and Grace, which is no doubt why it is one of our adversary’s favorite ways to imprison us. Once taken captive, trying to free ourselves through willpower is futile. Only God’s Spirit himself can free us or even bring us to our senses.
Scott Libin is arguably one of the most talented and experienced TV News Directors in the United States. He currently works as a Consultant and Project Manager at Internet Broadcasting here in St. Paul.
He has more than 25 years of experience in the TV news business and is well-respected across the country, so when he agreed to have lunch the other day I was thrilled at the opportunity.
Our conversation brought up several great reminders, along with some new insights. Some highlights/reminders/takeaways for myself and other PR professionals:
- In TV, everything is dependent upon what else is happening that day. Scheduling your event on a day when little to nothing else major is going on in your market is critical.
- Help the reporter/producer visualize what the segment would look like. Do the journalist’s job for him. A great pitch covers everything a TV producer needs – the visual, the news hook, location, timing, logistics, etc.
- It might seem antiquated to some, but e-mail pitches are still preferable in many instances. They allow an assignment editor to forward all the relevant information easily to the proper person, along with attaching a note or instructions regarding the story idea. E-mail is also a nice way to allow a news manager or assignment editor to take a quick look at your story without being tied up/hassled as a PR person stammers through a pitch verbally, chewing up valuable seconds/minutes that the editor/manager doesn’t have.
True story: How my cousin Paul Kenny OWNED MLB star Jim Thome at the plate (ok, it was Little League)
Just saw this note via Facebook from my infamous cousin Paul Kenny, who, like me and Jim Thome, was born and raised in Peoria, Ill.: “Jim Thomes 600th probably ranks right up there with the first time he got a hit off me in Little League. I struck him out twice before his slow roller up the middle snuck by my useless shortstop for a single. If you asked him, I’m sure that single propelled him to baseball stardom. We took different career paths, but both ended up excelling in life! I’m now a SENIOR sales rep!”
Paul is the greatest! The best part about him is that he has about 1,000 more stories just like that one.
Congrats to Jim Thome on hitting 600 career homers, but don’t forget your roots buddy. And Paul – oh, what could have been!!!