A New Kind of Christianity: cont’d 2

Some might get the opinion, based on my previous two posts, that all the response to the new book has been negative. But that’s not the case at all. After the jump, I’ll include an email that just came in.

This from an enthusiastic reader:

Hi Brian,
I just wanted to send you a message to tell you how much I appreciated your
new book, “A New Kind of Christianity”. I was at the book store first thing
last Tuesday morning to pick it up, and finished it this morning. Being a
full time college student and managing at a coffee business, I have not had
any spare time on my hands lately – but I found myself staying up late for
the last few days in order to keep reading this book. The anticipation I had
for it was enormous, to say the least. I have read almost all of your books,
and have been changed by every one of them. A New Kind of Christianity is
yet another masterpiece, a real work of transformative (and yes,
transformed) theology that will get the church’s wheels spinning in so many
urgent and necessary ways! I really think this book is your best Brian.
I am part of [a church in California]. I am a
leader in the church and have regularly recommended your books to members of
the church, as well as other staff members. I got 70 pages into this new one
and had to call the lead teaching pastor to tell him to order it as soon as
possible. I told him that this book really could change everything for the
church – he laughed at first and asked if I was getting commission for
promoting your book! (: The more I talked about it though, the more he
realized that the questions you were asking were indeed the same questions
he and I have been discussing so much in the last couple years together. He
ordered it while we talked on the phone with great anticipation. I then went
out and made up a reason to buy another copy for a close friend. He has been
glued to his reading chair ever since.
Brian, your work blesses me more than I can tell you. As someone who
struggles to reconcile my faith with what is going on in the world around
me, this book is a great gift to my intellectual and spiritual life. I will
work on an actual review and post it to Amazon as soon as I have the chance
so you can see my actual thoughts on the specific content of the book. Rest
assured, you are asking all the right questions and your responses to them
are resonating with many of us already. I believe that this book will spread
like wildfire, provoking heated debates and difficult discussions all over
the place – I’ve noticed this is already happening to some extent. Do not be
discouraged as some in the blogosphere take cheap shots at your work! You
are such a blessing to those of us who feel dissatisfied with the status
quo, and I believe your hard work is playing a major role in this new
reformation we are experiencing. Keep up the amazing work, and there will
continue to be fruit in your ministry.
I am [a student at] a liberal
California state university, so this book has already helped me deal with
some of my questions on pluralism that I am forced to wrestle with daily. I
am also an aspiring theologian, and hope to go to Claremont School of
Theology to work with Philip Clayton at some point in the near future. This
book felt like a direct response to his most recent book “Transforming
Christian Theology”. A new, more robust progressive Christianity is on the
way, and thanks to people like you and Philip, we have fantastic books to
stir the imagination during this season of change. Thank you so much for
what you do Brian!

I’m so glad the book strikes a chord like this for some people, even as I understand and appreciate the less enthusiastic responses from others. I should add that when this writer is talking about “cheap shots in the blogosphere,” he shouldn’t be interpreted to be saying that there’s anything wrong with vigorous disagreement or critique. Vigorous but respectful disagreement has more in common with vigorous and respectful agreement than it does with cheap shots, I think. But having said that, I understand that it’s impossible to do anything about the cheap shots, so it’s probably not even worthwhile to complain about them. Better to just move forward and focus humbly and prayerfully on constructive disagreement and agreement, in pursuit of God’s truth and goodness.