Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wide Open Spaces...to vomit


So I recently finished reading Jim Palmer's Wide Open Spaces and I have to be honest. I did not like it. Palmer offers a unique take on just about every aspect of the Christian life. Some of these views are challenging and eye opening. Others are so unique that I have never heard them before...anywhere...like the Bible.

Palmer is a former pastor who has left organized church and is starting to meet with people in his home for worship. I have nothing against this per say, however in the midst of his "Different Strokes for Different Folks" approach he definitely shares the positives of his approach and the negatives of organized church. He is saying that we can worship how we want...but his way is best.

Of course he also believes that "the devil" is simply being negative and believing your negative thoughts. Which means that Jesus had split personality and was talking with himself in the desert.

He also has an interesting take on what the world would look like if everyone loved. He thinks that there would be no crime (I would agree), no courts (I kind of agree), and of course no hospitals (I do not agree). It is a far fetched idea that there will be peace before the return of Christ, but even if it happened...we would still need hospitals. Palmer's basis is that sickness is based on not being loved. My opinion is that when someone loses control of their car and wraps it around a tree it is not because they are not loved.

I do want to make it sound like there are no redeeming qualities in the book. There are some challenging ways of looking at how we interact with people of different faiths that I think every Christian should hear. But on the whole the book is lacking.

Palmer sums up his book which I think will point to why I left the book with a bad taste in my mouth. He ends it with a quote from a band that claims that if everyone loved that nobody would die. It is as if death has become a bad thing. Paul said that to die was gain. It is not something to fear, it is not something that would go away if we all met in South Dakota for a big group hug.

Not only that but the band he quoted was...Nickleback...oh depravity.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is there illness in the kingdom of God?

Is there death in the kingdom of God?

Are there accidents in the kingdom of God?

Is there selfishness in the kingdom of God?

Does perfect unconditional love, peace, freedom and life exist in the kingdom of God?

What did Jesus mean when he said "The kingdom of God is within you"?

You may come up with a different conclusion than Jim but does your conclusion express the power of unconditional love and motivate folks to live in that love now?

The split personality thing about Jesus gave me a chuckle. :p

-Just a dude who stumbled on your blog.

Jeff said...

Very good questions. And in this I am not talking about the kingdom of God. I do believe that the kingdom is within us.

However, does this mean when I catch a cold I am rebelling against the kingdom?

If I die (physical death), does that mean I am rebelling against the kingdom of God?

I do want people to live in unconditional love, I do. But to believe that living in unconditional love will make the world's problem go away is a stone's throw from health and wealth gospel.

Sometimes we live for, and are full fledged citizens of the kingdom but we still experience persecution.

Do you think that because Paul had a lot of wounds to bandage he was outside of the kingdom of God?

Thanks for your thoughts though. It gave me some things to think about when I address things. If I am doing it out of love & concern for shaky theology, or if I am doing it because I think i am right.

guess said...

suck.. I was on my way to South Dakota for that big group hug, because unlike you I do think that it would change the world. People would realize that it sucks to hug strangers. And that wouldn't be a bad thing. There are far too many people in this state that feel like they can hug you just because you happen to hold your arms out and say "Get in here." Which I do from time to time, but only to make the point that too many people hug strangers.

I'm impressed by how much you read! I'm now inspired to read more myself. I'm going to get the living like a radical one- I can't remember the title but I remember what it looks like.

Jeff said...

I laughed very hard at your post. I have hugged a few strangers in my life. It is a gamble...like chocolate in a box. One might be full of delicious peanuts and one might be toothpaste.

peeps said...

as long as nickleback isn't the live band for that south dakota group hug shin dig, count me in!
great post jeff.

jdmerx said...

jeff, you crack me up! keep it up, bro.