Church Library – Summer 2010

Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan join once again to present a new understand-ing of early Christianity–this time to reveal a radical Paul who has been suppressed by the church. In The First Paul; Reclaiming the Radical Visionary Behind the Church’s Conservative Icon (227.06 B), they use the best available scholarship to reveal that some of Paul’s letters are not authentic, but were created by the early church to dilute his egalitarian message and transform him into something more “acceptable” to Roman so-cial norms. The Paul that emerges is an appealing apostle whose message is remarkably faithful to the message of Jesus himself.

What could a book entitled Velvet Elvis (248 B) possibly have to do with Christian faith? Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Michigan, likens the current church to a painting on velvet of Elvis hanging in his basement–it represents just one artist’s conception. But what if the artist or the viewers were convinced that this paint-ing was the only true painting ever done of Elvis? Bell believes this is what has hap-pened to the Christian church; that it is a painting that can neither be changed nor al-tered. This book is for those who are also wrestling with the true definition of church, and of Christianity, and who need a fresh take on Jesus and what it means to live the kind of life he teaches us to live. (If you’ve seen some of the NOOMA videos in adult education courses, Rob Bell also produced those videos.)

Rachel Naomi Remen, author of My Grandfather’s Blessings; stories of strength, refuge, and belonging (248 R), is a cancer physician who encourages readers to recognize and celebrate the unexpected blessings in their lives. Some of her recollections come from experiences as a medical student and physician, but others from her relationship with her grandfather, who died when she was seven. The stories are simple yet powerful, such as that of a young woman whose husband helped her discover the real meaning of beauty years after her devastating mastectomy; of a widow who learned to cherish her husband’s memory with love instead of with “a monument of pain”; and of a little boy who recognized that it’s easier to love just a few toys than it is to love many.