Several weeks ago, I announced that The Thin Edge would be hosting the very first blog interview of George Barna and Frank Viola, co-authors of the new book, Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices. Their eye-opening book has been printed under the Barna imprint of Tyndale House Publishing and officially launched earlier this month. Amazingly, the book has rocketed up the charts for Amazon: as of this moment, it’s ranked #16 among Christian books and #285 in all books (out of 6,000,000 titles) sold by Amazon.com. Reviews are also overwhelmingly positive. Out of 37 customer reviews at Amazon, 28 readers award the coveted 5-star rating: there were only 3 negative reviews.
If someone had predicted five or six years ago that these two men would collaborate on any type of book, I might have questioned your sanity and I would almost certainly have been willing to dismiss such a proposal as total nonsense. I had read books by both authors andâ€”at least from my perspectiveâ€”they seemed miles apart. In my mind, Frank Viola was the stereotypical, iconoclastic, “house church” advocate whose writings were relatively unknown in mainstream evangelicalism; however, nearly every American evangelical had the words “George Barna” etched in their minds through repeated quotations from The Barna Group in sermons, seminars, denominational training sessions, seminary classrooms, as well as print media. Well, all that has now changed!
Before we get started with the interview, I want to express my appreciation to George and Frank for their willingness to answer my questions. Each brother brings a unique perspective to Pagan Christianity, yet they have found common ground and a common voice within the pages of this project. One thing is certain: you will not be able to read this book and simply walk away unchanged by its message. Well, let’s get started, shall we? Continue reading
It's official. I'm on my way to Atlanta in just seven days! Hopefully, my non-stop Delta flight from London will get me there next Saturday afternoon, where I'll pick up an Alamo rental car and drive to Birmingham that evening. My dad and two of my sisters live there, and it's been sixteen months since we have seen each other. Every time I see my father, I realize it could be our last visit on this earth and it's always a bittersweet affair, because he's getting older and more frail as time goes along. When we left home for the UK nearly four years ago, I never dreamed my mom would become critically ill with spinal meningitis only eighteen months later and die after two weeks in a coma. None of us got to say our goodbyes: it happened so suddenly and unexpectedly. So every trip gets more precious to me now. Continue reading
My blog comes with two warnings. The first one is the tagline: "Pushing the limits of the status quo." I was born with the conviction that change is good for people and the institutions around us. I like to think of myself as one of those celebrated by Steve Jobs, the co-founder and chairman of Apple Computer:
Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes…the ones who see things differently—they're not fond of rules…. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things…they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Now, I certainly don't claim to be a genius, but I sure fit the bill otherwise! I thrive in a culture of change and I try my best to create change wherever God plants me. In order to lead people toward the promised land, one must point out the disadvantages of staying in Eqypt. Can you imagine Moses saying to God, "You know, it's not so bad here. We have jobs, places to live, national security, an interesting cultural environment, and—apart from being slaves—Egypt's a great place to raise a family!" Someone's got to be willing to point their finger and say there's a better, more biblical way to do things. Why are we doing it this way? Continue reading
A few years back, I joined my father-in-law in an all-day adventure in the southeast corner of Nebraska, near the Kansas border, where he was scouting a new deer hunting location for the coming season. As we drove along endless sections of cornfields, my photographer's eye evaluated everything quite differently from the lifelong hunter sitting next to me. Suddenly I saw an unusual structure in the landscape: the ruins of a stone house sitting alone on the prairie, buzzards roosting in its chimneys, a decaying wooden roof, and spacious openings that once held wooden doors and windows. Continue reading
In my last update, I was thrilled to report Jessica’s (not her real name) progress going into the holiday season. My wife and I were honored to join her family for Christmas dinner at Betel‘s town center church in Birmingham, England. We drove two hours on Sunday morning, 23 December 2007, and eventually found our way there. Over 200 people gathered for the occasion and shared a wonderful meal cooked by “the boys” from Betel’s men’s program. As I sat there watching families relish those few hours of joyful reunion with their wayward sons, daughters, and spouses, it occurred to me that I had never been in one place with so many drug addicts, ex-offenders, alcoholics, and prostitutes. Jesus loved to party with people like thisâ€”the broken and the outcastâ€”and it was thrilling to meet many of them and hear their stories. Continue reading
I’m thrilled to announce that The Thin Edge will be the very first blog to host a joint interview with George Barna and Frank Viola, co-authors of Pagan Christianity. Just yesterday, I received notification that both authors have agreed to participate, so please watch this space and tell all your friends! I am finalizing my side of the written interview by tomorrow. Since both men will be responding to each question, I’m eager to make sure they will be address issues that are relevant to my readers.
:: UPDATE :: The interview, The Thin Edge hosts joint interview with Barna & Viola, is now available to read online.
I have made arrangements for our local Christian bookshop to become a distributor of Pagan Christianity in the United Kingdom and Europe. The first shipment of hardcover books should arrive soon, so please make a note of the following contact details:
Harvest Books & Crafts
Attn: Sheri Lollar
2 Church Street
Pontypridd CF37 2TH
Phone: 44 (0) 1443 408 962
Price: £9.00 + £2.00 shipping* (contact for exact shipping on multiple copies)
Harvest Books makes every effort to ship UK orders within 24 hours of payment, which means you will get your book in 1–2 days via Royal Mail 2nd Class delivery. It will take nearly a week from nearly any other source. Also, you will be supporting an evangelical Christian book ministry that aims to equip God's people with printed resources on a wide variety of issues.
*Note: Shipping cost within the UK. This hardcover edition is significantly heavier than most paperbacks. Shipping for customers outside the UK may be slightly different.