Fundamorphosis Blog Tour – right here, right now

The Fundamorphosis Blog Tour rolls on this week … except we’re not going anywhere right now. This installment of the blog tour happens right here with a guest post from my friend Van Latham. Van doesn’t have a blog of his own. And that is really unfortunate because Van is one of the most interesting and creative people I know. So, today, Van is borrowing my blog to post his review of Fundamorphosis.

fundamorphosis blog tour - van latham

Van and I got to be friends when Vanessa and I lived outside of Boston. Van and his wife Lynn were a part of our church. We loved getting to know their family, and even being adopted into it at times. Van and Lynn hosted us for Easter dinner one year and once took us to my daughter Mattie’s first Red Sox game. Van is a music freak who travels a lot and is wicked cool. And, he’s really smart. He’s got the PhD to prove it. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Much to my delight, Van went through Fundamorphosis with a fine tooth comb. When he finished, here’s what he had to say:

Books speak to people in different ways. Here are eleven word images I have after reading Fundamorphosis…

1. Personal: At its core, this book is Robb’s story. Fundamorphosis has motivated me to explore, understand, and articulate my own personal story at an even deeper level – introspecting, defining my beliefs, and ruminating on my value set. Fundamorphosis is about telling your story. Telling your story makes the Gospel uber personal.

2. Provocative: This book, in a good way, has brought me face-to-face with my heritage. It’s forced me to look at myself outside in. I can’t say I agree with everything in this book. For example, I don’t agree that fundamentalism is fully based on fear. I also believe that the Bible IS the sole source of theology. But, Fundamorphosis aggressively invites me to critically think about my theological stance and bring light to what’s core to my faith and what’s superficial. And that level of rigorous thought is good.

3. Creative: Fundamorphosis convinces me we need greater creativity and more lateral thinking in how we go about the work of the Gospel. Too many churches line up in the wishbone. They run on first down. They kick an extra point instead of going for two. I’m convinced churches that bring creativity to the gospel will grow. However, my sense is a lot of churches see creativity and departure from church tradition as a threat. It’s time for the church to flex its creative muscle. The church needs to run the pistol.

4. Optimistic: At its core, I read Fundamorphosis as a book of hope. That theology can be transformative. That theology isn’t an end state – it’s a beginning. That Christ’s melody is simply and utterly exuberant. Theology isn’t something to be learned, it’s something be lived.

5. Community: I love my church even more after reading this book. While God reveals himself in his Word, he also does through his Church. The Church is where it’s at. My church is far from perfect, but now when I see my fellow parishioners, I don’t just see the face of my neighbors, I see the face of Jesus.

6. Action-oriented: This book makes me want to DO. ‘Doxy’ is important, but ‘Praxy’ is where it’s at. It’s about getting after your faith. I really like the ‘doing’ disciplines Robb is putting at place at Vintage Fellowship – stuff like experimental collectives.

7. Fair: I was expecting this book to be a slam against Fundamentalists. It’s written with a spirit of restraint. It’s pointed, but not mean spirited or judgmentally over the top.

8. Poetic: Sections in the book are literary, something Robb obviously picked up after leaving Fundamentalism :). The treatise on the Trinity as music is imaginative. It gave me a new paradigm for understanding the simplicity and complexity of the Trinity. The last chapter is nothing short of a love story to the church.

9. Frameworks: The social psychologist Kurt Lewin said ‘there’s nothing as practical as a good theory.’ This book is full of models and frameworks, and they’ll help you organize your belief system. Personally, I’ve found the section on core, confessional, and conviction beliefs to be a useful schema in organizing your beliefs.

10. Messy: I’ve learned, from this book that it’s OK to live in the gray and with some doubt or uncertainty. In fact, living in the gray invites contemplation, theorizing, and accepting that some things in the Bible may just be too magical to understand and it’s OK they remain a bit of mystery.

 

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