The Story Lives - A Book Review - Being Nonjudgmental

July 23, 2014

For example, a black man in America is oppressed in a racist society.  If God is the God of the oppressed, then God is on his side.  But if this black man abuses his female partner, does God switch sides to be with her?  What if she abuses her child?  A God who resists oppression does not love or hate, accept or despise one person in this scenario more than another.  God resists the oppressive activity and calls each party to justice in their lives.  (82, Monica A Coleman, Making A Way Out of No Way)

The Story Lives: Leading a Missional Revolution by Henriet Schapelhouman (her website), a Speakeasy book, was sort of a mistake for me-it should have been really obvious that this book was about "winning people to Christ," which is not my theology at all and I would not have ordered it if I had not realized it in the first place, still I would say that for what it is, it is really well written, the best possible book for that genre and even made me think a bit.
I put the quote by Monica A. Coleman with this review, because I think it illustrates my feelings on Godde's favor well-just like God does not choose sides when it comes to supporting and loving those who are oppressed, even if they are being oppressed by each other, so I do not think that God chooses sides on who gets to enter heaven, that is, IF there is a heaven.  I don't believe that there are people who are extra special, that by believing or saying the right things will put a person in a better category than someone who does not when they die and so I do not feel a rush to evangelize.  I want people to have a peaceful and fulfilling life now whether that means living a life as a follower of Christ or as an atheist-both are valid, in my opinion.
That being said, I do consider myself an ambassador of Christiandom, meaning that I recognize that I represent Christians, especially progressive Christians; therefore, I must be on my best behavior.  I must still be authentic to who I am, of course, but basically, what I want is when people find out that I am a Christian, I want them to be left with a good taste in their mouth, which is why I like the book's caution of not being "too salty."  Christians are supposed to be the salt of the world and I liked that this book cautioned against overdoing it and not being in people's face about my faith-what the book called being "too salty."  In fact, The Story Lives, for the most part, is presented in a way that I can support for it is about being authentic, not overdoing or overstepping boundaries, helping others in a nonthreatening way, going beyond the church to help others, looking beyond the church for leadership opportunities.  Since I participate in the feminist, intellectual, and geek worlds, many of my friends are atheist, agnostic, or from different faiths, and I want them to know that I am not judging them or even tolerating them, but that I like to hear what they have to say.  I do not consider a judgmental Christian to be a Christian with their priorities in true order.    

Of course, being nonjudgmental also applies to one's self and funnily enough, I actually find that to be much harder sometimes.  My therapist was reminding me to be nonjudgmental towards myself just this past Monday.  I suppose though, if I taste alright to other people, then surely I must taste fine to myself too, right? That is the goal, anyway.  I am really just a little anxious-it is so hard to be patient!-because soon I will be moving out of the house after five years of living with my parents!!!  A big part of me is still in shock.  Happy shock!   A big smile is on my face just thinking about it.  Don't worry, I will write more in depth about it later. 
Do I recommend the book?  Well, I do if that is your theology.  I think it is very well written and extremely respectful, but just not quite my cup of tea.  If you think people need to be saved, then I think this book could be very thought provoking and could really help you be more respectful and holistic.  I appreciated this book and it helped me see that not all people who think this way are obnoxious, which is how I hope a lot of people see me, so it is perhaps a very good thing that I read the book.  It helped me be a little less judgmental towards people of my own faith.  Sadly enough, it is the "too salty" Christians that the author talks about that I am often the most judgmental or afraid of and I need to look beyond our differences and towards our similarities, just like I do with the other people in my life.  With all that is going on in the news about Hobby Lobby and reproductive rights and gay rights, I am feeling a little sore against conservative Christians, but even so, looking at people as the enemy only breeds hate and despair, while deep inside I know it would be better to breed love and understanding, which would help lead us towards reconciliation. 
Let us look at each other as people to understand, rather than as people to oppose.
Link Love:
Congress should not make any decisions about programs meant to help families living in poverty without people who know poverty first hand at the decision-making table.

He explained that now that I knew what was required, we could have a great time in the bedroom. I told him no. I would not hide from my own body. 
“You can’t change the laws without changing the images,” she said. “It is one thing to say we exist; it is another thing to show it. Art is political, art is about activism. And it’s beyond just the art. I also want to contest the notions of an African homosexuality, and I’m hoping that others will come up with similar visual narratives in Uganda, Nigeria, Malawi, Botswana, Lesotho.

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