I have figured out why so many people don't appreciate NT Wright as a theologian.
He agrees with me about too many things. :-)
Seriously, as I am reading him, I keep being blown away by little things I didn't think I'd ever read a theologian saying. He is dead on the money, so far as I am concerned. He is who I'd like to imagine I could have grown up to be.
The one thing I have not figured out is why so few people appreciate me as a theologian. ;-)
Anyway, I'm in the middle of my 4th and 5th of his books. I cannot finish either of them, because I'm enjoying them both too much. One of them is an 800 page monster, and not a great introduction. The other, though .... ah, the other.
Simply Christian is NT Wright's highly persuasive explanation of why Christianity makes sense. Everyone is fond of pointing out that this is Wright's Mere Christianity, and as much as I'd love to top that statement, it's straight up accurate. If you liked Mere Christianity, Simply Christian should wind straight into your heart.
Wright looks at the world we all see, and finds 4 core wonders to it:
He then follows these four threads through a discussion of Israel, the Messiah Who came from Israel and God, and the church.
Along the way, he avoids minefield after minefield while still throwing sweet, sweet bombs. Let me offer just one example. I don't believe there is a single line in this book that agrees or disagrees with "the rapture" as has been popularized recently, but he make countless comments that implicitly reject it. I all but drooled on myself when I heard him start talking about the kingdom of God. The whispers of Wright's thought on the end times smuggled into this book are enough to justify the price.
[None of you should probably have noticed that I have never spoken of the end
times on this blog. Now that I point it out, you should be wondering whether
that's an oversight. It's not even close to an oversight. I have been waiting until
the right moment, and I'm pretty sure it is nearing. In fact, getting to that
subject is one of the things that brought me back after my month haiatus. First,
I will give you another example. Wright is an Anglican. That is to say that his church lives and breathes liturgy. Liturgy has no part in my life. There is nothing I do that is remotely structured or stable, except my three meals a day, and even they are only liturgical for convenience' sake. I love it when something makes me stay up past my bedtime. I hate liturgically knowing that on 15 Oct I will worship God for His amazing works in Numbers 23:12 - just like I did last year. (Don't look for that - it's pulled out of the air.) I will spend 5 hours putting together a 1/2 hour lesson and be tickled when the class goes so far afield it never happens.
I didn't even have to wrinkle my nose when Wright talked about worship.
I REALLY didn't think that would EVER happen. Oh, he said a couple things I think were bogus and self-serving, but even I have to grudgingly admit that I would profit from listening to those things. An Anglican impressed me on the subject of worship. I'm still amazed.
In all honesty, I have not quite finished the book yet, but only because I'm too busy in his other book. I'm reading Simply Christian at work and my lunch breaks are all higgley-piggley these days. I just could not wait any longer to tell everyone about it.
What do I think of the book? At $26 a pop, I bought 5 extra copies two weeks ago, and will give away the fourth on Sunday and the fifth probably before that. (Kirk doesn't know it yet, but he NEEDS this book.) If you want to know why Christianity makes good old fashioned common sense, or know someone who needs to know, then this is the best.