A little advice from the outside

23 01 2010

“Data crowds out faith . . . Relying too much on proof distracts you from the real mission–which is emotional connection.”

I’m currently reading a book for small group leaders (which I’ll be reviewing shortly). One of the most important things I want to tell small group leaders is precisely that: data crowds out faith. People don’t need more history¬† or diverse interpretations.

But this quote doesn’t come from a small group leader’s guide. It comes from Seth Godin.

Seth Godin is a marketer. As far as I know, he’s not a Christian. He sells things, but he does it by knowing what people really want. And he’s usually right. People don’t want evidence, proof, or data. They want connection, grace, acceptance, and truth.

So the question is, who’s going to give them that emotional connection? Seth Godin? or the Church?

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Discovering George MacDonald

16 01 2010

A friend recently suggested I read George MacDonald. Now, since this is a friend I deeply respect and readily listen to, I picked up a used copy of one of his books. Apparently, C.S.Lewis, the modern St. Paul to Evangelicals, said of MacDonald, “I never wrote a book in which I did not quote George MacDonald.” That’s pretty high praise for a well-established professor and writer.

So, I read. Take Middle Earth and plop it down amidst the common setting of Scotland. Read of rough fishermen with coarse language rather than elves swift or Narnian fauns. See the broad sweep of history condensed to one moment in a simple life. See the divine in the mundane.

Everything that makes a story great weaves through his novels with the ease of a practiced hand.

This reminds me that I owe a bright new thread in my literary pursuits to the recommendation of a friend. Indeed, she has never steered me wrong in her recommendations, giving generally better suggestions than most people I know. Of course, that’s true not only of books, but of life.

The people that know what books we would enjoy also know how to speak to our souls in other ways.