Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Book 19: Jesus Creed by Scot McKnight
Title: Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others by Scot McKnight
How it was obtained: Bargain price of $4.98 at Barnes and Noble. Oh the sweet deals of B&N bargain books.
Time spent on the "to read" shelf: 1 year.
Days spent reading it: 2 months. (I started it, got bored, put it down, picked it up again and finished).
Why I read it: I enjoy Scot McKnight. He has a great blog called Jesus Creed. He's an evangelical scholar who likes to think outside of the box. I don't agree with him all the time (or even most of the time I think). But he does make me pause and think about my theology.
Brief review: The premise of this book was simple: What does Jesus teach us about how we can Love God? Scot McKnight uses "The Jesus Creed" to explore spiritual formation ('Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The Second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these). McKnight traces how many of Jesus' sayings about spiritual formation are grounded in the Old Testament law and then expanded upon and applied by Jesus.
I liked some of this book. In the beginning McKnight uses too many transliterated Hebrew words in his text. I understand using Shema to talk about "Hear, O Israel" and the Ten Commandments. I don't understand using Anawim (pious poor), mamzer (illigetimate child), tsadaqim (righteous ones), OVER and OVER again to talk about words that are expressed just fine in English. I honestly annoyed me so much I put the book down for awhile.
However, some of McKnight's chapters on about how we live out our lives following Jesus in the second half of the book are very good and were worth reading.
McKnight has some great insights, but he can be difficult to read. His writing is not as clear or as smooth as I was expecting. Maybe it was just me, but I found him akward and frustrating to read during the first 100 pages.
Jesus Creed was alright. It was not great. It was not bad. It was just good. I've read other books on spiritual formation that I would recommend before this book. But if you're interested, McKnight does have some good points about how to follow Jesus in the last half of the book.
Favorite quote: "Our reputation (what others think of us) is not as important as our identity (who we really are). Spiritual formation begins when we untangle reputation and identity, and when what God thinks of us is more important than what we think of ourselves or what others think of us."
Stars: 3 out of 5.
Final Word: Alright.