We the Purple

We the Purple by Marcia Ford is a look at independent voters in America with a Christian perspective. Ford has published several books with this latest addition taking her distinct perspective to the political arena.

We the Purple is both about and finds its primary audience in independent voters – those who do not claim a political party. Ford takes the reader through many aspects of the independent voter from the nuances of registration in states to the potential that the internet has for independent voters to organize. Included are many profiles of independent voters from across the country.

Ford writes in a very personal way and uses a mix of data, definitions and vignettes to draw attention to what she see as the plight of independent voters – lack of attention or respect. She often quotes others as a part of bringing the point home.

I enjoyed learning about independent voters and the political environment in various states in response to these voters. I find myself resonating with those who do not claim a particular political party, but did not find Ford’s description of the independent voter particularly compelling. I also found stereotypes of people of faith in response to politics that I do not believe are the case any longer. I recommend this book to those who are interested in learning more about independent voters.

Wild Goose Chase

“Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit – An Geadh-Glas, or ‘the Wild Goose'” (Mark Batterson). This is the story behind the title for Mark Batterson‘s latest book, Wild Goose Chase. About Mark from the back cover of the book:

Mark Batterson is the lead pastor of Washington D.C.’s National Community Church, widely recognized as one of America’s most innovative churches. Mark is the author of the bestselling In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day and a widely read blogger. He lives on Capitol Hill with his wife, Lora, and their three children.

In Wild Goose Chase, Batterson has created an excellent text seeking to inspire the reader to step into the adventure of chasing the Wild Goose.  The main thrust of the book is to address cages that we find ourselves in that prevent us from chasing the Holy Spirit and God’s dream for our lives. Batterson covers the cages of: responsibility, routine, assumptions, guilt, failure and fear. Batterson assesses each of these with a refreshing mix of biblical narrative, personal experience, perspectives from church history, and stories from National Community Church. Each chapter closes with hope, next steps and probing questions for self-reflection.

I thoroughly enjoyed Wild Goose Chase, finding it inspiring and encouraging. Batterson writes well and uses solid examples from both inside and outside the church world. I was struck by Batterson’s use of scripture throughout the book – both in narrative examples and subtle endnoted references. This technique was quite effective and it reminded me of the style of some of John Wesley’s writing.

Wild Goose Chase will be released on August 19 and you can pre-order a copy from Amazon here or find out more about the book including a free download, preview chapter and Mark’s 10 Steps to Setting Life Goals at chasethegoose.com.

I will go back to Wild Goose Chase in the future and I heartily recommend it to those seeking to find or rediscover the adventure of pursuing God’s dream.

Holiday in Hellmouth: God and Suffering

My first experience of reading from The New Yorker was James Wood article, Holiday in Hellmouth:God may be dead, but the question of why he permits suffering lives on. Although this article was a review of the book God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question — Why We Suffer by Bart Ehrman, Wood addresses God and suffering in a well thought out article that seems to move beyond the scope of the book being reviewed.

I enjoyed reading the article and found it to be well written and articulate. Wood outlines many of the common responses to the question of the reality of both evil and a good and loving God. I am comfortable with two of the responses that Wood gives – God suffers with us and that the reality of free will allows evil to happen. In contrast to Wood, I believe that suffering does not limit God’s power. Also, I would make a distinction between the free will given to humanity and the regular workings of the natural world.

In Woods’ final paragraphs, he concludes that the hope for a second coming puts off and does not adequately address the question of suffering. Woods asserts that the hope for a new heaven and earth leaves the question – Why not now, God? What is the point of this life when a new one is coming? Here I see Woods response as deficient. Woods addresses free will in relationship to suffering, but does not address free will in relationship to the possible good that comes of the ability for us to accept God’s grace and live as a part of God’s kingdom today. I believe that we have the opportunity to live by the customs and norms of God’s coming kingdom and be a part of God’s kingdom here on earth. Is there the possibility to suffering as a result of free will? Yes. Is there the possibility for good as a result of free will. Also, yes.

I recommend the article and welcome your comments both on it and my response.