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Todd and Tina Howard sent me a book to review. Here is an open invitation, if you send it I will read! I like books, and I like free, so this is a real winner for me. Rob the Texan Bar-b-cue chef sent me a book also that will be next, there are a few others, so here we go ,a new willohroots feature, From the Bookshelf to the Blog, my review. [I will also test drive cars and taste cheeses, please contact me for delivery.]
Reviews are by nature subjective, our perspective can drastically alter perception. It would behoove the reader to know I am a bibliophile. My house is too full, says my wife, of books. As Mike Bell is the Eclectic christian, I am the eclectic reader. I once spent three wonderful hours reading a 1938 manual on engine repair, wonderful read! I can also turn on a book, with dire results. I picked up the sequel to ‘Silence of the Lambs’ at an airport, and when I got home took it out back and shot it, repeatedly, for wasting two hours of my life I would never recoup. I am also very jaded when it comes to Christian books. I like John MacArthur, but disagree on some important points. I like Charles Stanley and agree with him , but his writing style does not thrill me. I did not like ‘Purpose Driven Life ‘at all, no apology. The Howards knew none of this when they shipped ‘Flickering Pixels’, but you do have this knowledge, it will help you understand.
Flickering Pixels is written much the way the municiple swimming pool in my old home town was designed. Perhaps the engineer turned editor. Shane Hipps starts us out in the kiddy pool, ankle deep. As a former advertising executive he quotes McLuhan [advertising guru] and says that Christians have long been taught that the Message [not the translation that irks me so, but the gospel] matters, but the Method, the way we spread the gospel, is flexible. I had to agree, I have been to those seminars, that is what we have been told. Yawn, another guy saying the same old same old, but then he hit a new twist.
The water gets wading deep around this point. Hipps describes how we are shaped by the medium. The bombardment of sight and sound has shaped and shifted the way we think, the way our brain functions. Hipps seems motivated by a frustration, his evangelical upbringing seminary training and Mennonite tradition gave him no help in evangelizing the lost. Paul’s method of linear thinking that was used on Mars Hill seemed lost in today’s word. I started to relate, as my attempts to preach people into the kingdom has been an abject failure. I was dog paddling on at this point.
Hipps believes that the amount of information bombarding us today has lead to a stunting of individual growth. He called it “a permanent puberty of the mind”. Hipps explained how Systematic Theology needs to give way to Practical Theology and then brought examples of change in seeker/believer thought processes. This was the adults only section of the pool, deep waters indeed. When it was explained that today’s believer’s salvation experience is more similar to a dimmer knob than a light switch I knew this writer had something I needed, and this book would be read and reread.
The last chapters of this book are diving area deep. He could not have started with so much depth, you need to gradually wade in to get there. Hipps says we need to teach today with images, not necessarily power point images, images of real life. His whole point is that we are the message. In my words, to bring people to Christ we must be Christians. Pretty radical, right?
Here is a writer more approachable than MacArthur, more readable than Stanley, much deeper than Warren. This is a book that vindictes what we at willohroots have shared, what many of you post on your blogs. Fine doctrine is fine to have, but the heart and mind of Christ is to love others, to be an image of Christ by acting in love is not only the message, it is the method.
I never thought I would so strongly endorse a book. This needs to be required reading for anyone who would claim the title Christian. The antidotes of Christian love and the out takes from the Mennonite handbook ‘Agreeing to Disagree in Love’ are uplifting enough, but I think this type of thinking is the antidote to the decline of the Evangelical church. I could paraphrase the book with these words,
Interview with Shane Hipps at Out of Ur ,
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