Probably worth listing the stories in here, because writing them out will not be easy:
The blessing of the apple tree – page 25-27
The kingdom is like learning the art of burglary – page 31-33
The kingdom is like killing an important Lord – pag 36
Perhaps – p46-47
The monologue of the beggar – page 50
As big as an egg – page 60-63
The gift of the begging bowl – page 68-69
The sweetest sound in all the world – page 71-74
McKenna talks about the different insights into blessings.
Favourites include the Sufi story about kissing tea pots and hems of skirts, and being able to be late for prayers (page 14);
Or the Aramaic Ashray being about setting yourself on the road to doing the thing which makes this happen
“Get up, go ahead, do something, move , you who are hungry and thirsty for justice, for you shall be satisfied” (from the Palestinian Elias Chakour, page 23)
Also the use of “Let me die, let him live” from Les Miserables (page 24), or the desire to bless the apple tree (what blessing will I find – page 25ff).
4th October 2013
Good thoughts on envy – how dangerous it is from the book of Proverbs (chapter 4 although can’t find the reference).
This is the silent sin which creeps up on us.
Definition – unhappiness when God blesses someone else
Think about 1. God’s blessing is not limited
2. God has more to give you
3. God rejoices in inequality (controversial and needs to be nuanced)
Think of biblical stories – Cain and Abel or David, Saul (we want to be David, we fear we are Saul, we must cast ourselves as Jonathan)
However, the first objection is a matter of verbal pedantry, and evaporates when you read what Warren says. The second objection is born out of pure envy. God has ordained that I do my job and Warren his. There is always someone to get jealous of – sure Warren probably compares his life with Billy Graham, and Billy Graham with Dwight L. Moody and Moody with Paul.
There is a nice moment at the start when, after you have heard of the pastor who booked an American Football stadium for Easter and arrived in the service on the back of his Harley, there are also congratulations offered to a pastor who had 62 at his Easter service, which doubled the normal number.
There are great things here. Like Hybels, Warren is probably more renowned as a leader than as a Biblical Exegete, but he’s not pretty good at second of these.
In his section on purity he diagnoses the three major sins as lust of the eyes, lust of the heart and pride of life (which always shows up in power plays, gossip and judgmentalism). In his section on purity he talks about Moses’ failure to circumcise his children in Exodus 4 (If God almost kills Moses for failing to circumcise his child, how can you claim immunity) and the sin of Achan in Judges 7.
The stuff on purity is about the pain of pruning and letting good things go (you don’t just kill the dead stuff). You realise these guys are not Church of Scotland ministers (with the possible exceptions of energy-ball and entrepreneur Albert Bogle and all round good-egg John Matthews OBE) when one says “We have a prayer tower at the top of our Church and when I was praying there God told me to give up running the school that I had started”.
The final section is on unity and an insight into John 17: that of all the things Jesus could have prayed about when he was about to die, he chose to pray about the unity of the Church. This leads to a discussion of gossip and dissent (too often pastors don’t take the difficult decisions with diffictult people).
This is tremendous stuff from Warren and his team. Kill your prejudices and give this thing a listen.