What Was I Thinking?
Within the past few years, I’ve gotten real selective with the Christian books that I read. Some of them make me want to become an atheist because of the superficial or judgmental way they’re written. They represent Christianity as good as Kevin Federline represents the hip-hop community. Then there are other writers I respect who remind me what it means to be loved by God, and encourage me to love others as Jesus would. It’s hard to define what being a Christian is today without hearing phrases like “religious right”, “narrow minded”, and “George Bush” being thrown in. I can attest that none of those have ANYTHING to do with what a Christian is. Anyway, Steve Brown is one writer who always reminds me about God’s love in a way that most aren’t able to. His honesty about his sin and failures in life, and God’s love despite all of that, is encouraging to hear. Well, he has a new book out called “What Was I Thinking?”, and it is a damn good book. If you’ve ever heard Steve speak, you know he speaks like he’s talking with you, instead of talking at you as if he’s a spiritual guru. His writing is the same way. It’s written mostly in conversational style. In this book, he revisits all the old views he had on the Christian faith, and describes how he came to where he is now, understanding God’s love more. The one thing I love about reading Steve’s books is that I always come out with a bunch of great quotes that get stuck in my head. Here are some that stood out in this book:
“I honestly used to think that if one worked at it hard enough, studied the Bible long enough, and talked to the right people often enough, one would eventually figure out God. I’m an old guy now, and I’ve been doing all three for a long time. And I was wrong.”
“It’s not that I’ve always obeyed Jesus, but I’ve followed him for a long time, and I’m still here. I’m bloodied, sinful, and afraid…but I’m still here. The longer I follow Jesus, the more I learn about him--and the more I’ve had to change what I think about him.”
“Jesus hung out with prostitutes, drunks, and bad people. It quickly becomes clear that if I want to be his friend, I can’t be a ‘proper’ Christian.”
“One must be careful about religion, because it can make you feel that you’re close to God, when in fact, you aren’t.”
“I once thought that Jesus’ invitation was pretty exclusive. But I was the one who was into exclusivity. His invitation is far more open than I thought it was.”
“The church is not a place for people who are ‘together’, obedient, and spiritual. If you really think it is, then you were conned. The church is actually a place for people who are needy, afraid, confused, and quite sinful. But more important than that, the church is a place for people who have been loved…and have no idea why.”
“The greater we define ourselves in terms of ‘us and them’, the greater the gap in relationships, and the more marginalized we become.”
“The people who shout the loudest are often those who are least sure about what they’re saying.”
“When we start thinking about it, we begin to realize that self-righteousness is perhaps the most dangerous of all human sins.”
“If not for my sin, I never would have come to know Jesus…or love others…or experience the joy and release of acceptance.”
“Only those who know that God will love them even if they don’t get better will ever get any better.”
Steve brings it “back to the basics” with his new book.