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The God Who Smokes answers the postmodern cry for an authentic, knowable truth that is compassionate and courageous, demonstrated in sacrificial commitment to a life of righteousness and justice.
Emergent theology is raising some of the most provocative and divisive questions in the church today. Filled with humorous insights and challenging ideas, The God Who Smokes imagines a twenty-first-century church where hope hangs with holiness, passion sits next to purity, and compassion can relate to character.
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The God Who Smokes
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The God Who Smokes: Scandalous Meditations on Faith by Timothy Stoner (I know, a book with such a provocative title such as the God who smokes by a guy named Stoner is a bit ironic!) does justice in highlighting positive aspects of the Emerging Church. At the same time, Stoner points out the dangers with points of theology that are slippery at best, heretical at worst.
These 'meditations on faith' combine humor, personal experiences and some of the most descriptive word pictures to speak to these issues. Stoner doesn't come across as negative or judgmental, but without a doubt spurns the notion that Jesus is 'a' path to heaven and other such emergent theological errors. Stoner has entered the post-modern dance and presents an amazing work that has the ability to dialogue with post-moderns and emergents while remaining true to the essential doctrine of the exclusivity of Jesus Christ.
An excellent (a bit long) look at some of the issues and vivid descriptions make this book an enjoyable read. It should no doubt provide examples one could use to dialogue with emergents while pointing to Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
9/22/2010 6:13:55 AM
The God Who Smokes by Timothy J. Stoner
Yes, the guy's name's funny. He admits it on the opening pages. Anyway, this book OS intended to be 'scandalous meditations in faith', particularly by trying to find middle ground between the emerging/emergent and fundamentalist evangelical movements. Stoner's chapters look at God's character and our response.
For a start, this is phenomenally well-written. Through personal stories and clever analogies it's impossible not to enjoy the communication style. The content's good too, biblically sound, logical and gracious.
That said, I struggle to put this in a box. With this title you don't expect orthodoxy, but that is what you get, albeit presented in a post-modern style. He clearly tries to get the emergent crowd on board by using the word 'crap' in the introduction, and quoting Rob Bell and Brian McLaren throughout, but he fundamentally disagrees with them both.
The problem with this book isn't the words, it's the cover. It doesn't really discover a new middle ground in Christianity, it just presents evangelicalism in a more Rob Bell style.
So, it gets plenty of thumbs up from me - I looked forward to reading it every day - but on this occasion you have to conclude that you can't judge a book by its cover!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
9/21/2010 1:37:14 AM
Lotta Smoke, Little Fire
Is there middle ground between the Emergent movement and Evangelical Christianity? Timothy Stoner thinks so in his book The God Who Smokes: Scandalous Meditations on Faith. While the book had a lot of truth in it, I found it difficult to follow at times. Was he defending the Emergent movement? Was he critiquing Evangelicalism? I couldn’t tell at times where he was standing on an issue.
He was certainly trying to write from an honest and raw perspective. Each chapter involves personal stories of heartache, blessings, hardships and successes. He certainly tries to place the focus on God and encourages us to refocus our lives on Christ.
He certainly addresses all sorts of issues, which are both a blessing and a curse for the book! I never felt any continuity between the subjects he was covering and couldn’t force myself to read every page. His writing is readable, but didn’t connect with me as much as I was hoping it would.
Would I recommend it? Probably. Will I read it again? Probably not.
There was nothing new in the book. I usually mark up books as I read, highlighting and taking notes, but at the end of this book I found nothing that was worth remembering.
2/23/2010 3:02:26 PM
Good answers to hard questions
This is a book which, once finished, needs to be started again at the beginning. Immensely readable, it’s also extremely relevant. And relevancy seems to be what many of us struggle with most, as we seek to carve a path through life.
Sometimes, if we are honest, the solid Christian truths we all know seem a little shaky. God seems remote from our lives, difficulties threaten to overwhelm and it all seems rather ‘wearisome’. Tim Stoner drags these thoughts and feelings out into the light, authenticates them with stories from his own experiences, and gives us a fresh look at our faith. He looks at the questions we all struggle with, pointing us always to the God of Scripture. You might not agree with everything he writes; yet ‘truth’ is never solid, certain and nicely packaged but often glimpsed from different angles. Tim Stoner gives us those glimpses of a ‘truth…that holds reality together; there is meaning and purpose’ and motivates us to keep on with The Way, as the Christian life was known in the early church.
So dive into this book. Find the God who IS in the earthquake, wind and fire. The God who smokes.
1/3/2010 3:11:24 AM
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Navpress has always been one of my top publishing houses, I can always rely on them for producing some excellent books, both fiction and Non-Fiction. They've published some of my very favorite books.
The God who Smokes has only reaffirmed that statement. Stoner is one of the few middle ground speakers on the topic the Emergent Church. He addresses the more debatable things Rob Bell (pastor of Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids, NOOMA dvds) brings up in his sermons, videos and books. I enjoy a lot of what Bell says, but other things he believes and states, I can't help but question. Stoner confronts those issues without attacking any person in particular or many of the good, sound theology to come from emergent pastors.
He discusses some of the hard issues in church today. He's not some Authoritative figure turning his nose up at these problems. He shares some very personal experiences, which are sincere and sometimes heartbreaking. He shares his thoughts on justice and righteousness, not just for the "pretty people" but for the ones who are hard to love, both for us as the individual, and us as the Church. It's written in a friendly, very accessible manner that allowed me to read it in days, never wanting to put it down. And that says a lot considering it's the holidays!
12/9/2009 2:22:08 AM