Tag Archives: life philosophy

Book Club: Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower Pt. 1

Hello, fellow bookworms! Today marks the launch of my new Finding Delight Book Club. I’ll be reading 12 books and sharing about them with you here. I plan to post 4 times for each book — 1) about the book, 2) about the author, 3) extended reading/listening/watching, and 4) final thoughts and reflections. I’m kicking off the club with an exploration of Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower: Finding Answers in Jesus for Those Who Don’t Believe by Tom Krattenmaker.

For the full book list CLICK HERE. I’d love to have you along for the ride!

“It is not my aim to reclaim the Christian religion … Nor is it my objective in this book to join the scholars who pursue the historical Jesus–the historically and journalistically accurate Jesus–as important as that quest might be. I am interested, rather, in what we might describe as “face-value Jesus,” the Jesus who says and does things on the pages of the New Testament. I am not worried for now about the factual accuracy of those accounts or the religious assertions that arise from them. His stories and instruction are valuable and ‘true,’ I contend, whether they are journalistically accurate or not.”

Synopsis

When you think about Jesus, what image comes to you mind? A man with piercing blue eyes and flowy hair last seen on the cover of your old Sunday school workbook? A painful expression from a cross at the front of a dim sanctuary? Or perhaps the name alone invokes feelings about religious doctrine or political stances in direct opposition to your own.

Tom Krattenmaker, USA Today columnist, separates Jesus from our preconceived notions and explains how his teachings are exactly what we need to bring reason and sense to the current state of affairs in America — even a SECULAR America.

Krattenmaker asks–
What gives life meaning?
What does it mean to live a good life?

Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower is Krattenmaker’s answer to these long-pondered queries. Surprisingly, as a self-declared secular and non-believer, he turns to Jesus. Fully. Not just as an instructor or someone to be imitated, but as a personal North Star, as it were, directing and guiding all life’s components and quandaries.

To encourage us to adopt a similar conclusion, the book paints a realistic picture of the status quo while detailing the ways turning to Jesus’s teachings can provide a much-needed salve for so many of America’s woes. And no stone is left unturned — politics, racism, sexual exploitation, mass incarceration. Krattenmaker has studied religion for years and, as a journalist, covers the intersection of religion and public life in America. It is through this lens of religious understanding, that he expresses how nonreligious folk can follow Jesus. He walks readers through key teachings, parables, and sermons and extrapolates meaning and guidance that can be applied to a modern life.

This book helps readers discover, or perhaps rediscover, Jesus. A man who, Krattenmaker believes, can help us lead a good and meaningful life. An inspiring read no matter what you believe.

***

“If Jesus had a “shit list,” you wouldn’t find people on it. You’d find attitudes and actions. Not wrong people but wrong ideas, behaviors, and ways of being in the world. He could see the humanity even in the dreaded tax collectors, who were enforcing the severe policies that kept many of Jesus’s people in poverty. He could see the humanity even in the soldiers who were carrying out his execution.”

Initial Thoughts

Can these two truths coexist within one person?
1. Jesus is the answer.
2. I’m not looking for God.

They seem contradictory, right?

I love that this book shows me, as someone who has walked away from organized religion, the ways in which they are not. Krattenmaker does a wonderful job exploring Jesus’s teachings — explaining metaphors (for those of us apprehensive with *pulls thing out of thin air* miracles) and cultural context. This allows for a more holistic application of bible story to current conundrum. A leap that can be hard to make when the subject and setting of these stories feel so far removed from our own.

Wherever I’ve been on my own faith/spiritual journey, I’ve always conceded that Jesus was and is a pretty important dude. Afterall, he was able to split time in two. No small feat! But despite regular church attendance and religion classes throughout my formative years, I still wouldn’t say I have an intimate knowledge of his teachings.

Curiosity about the historical Jesus had me pick up this book last year. Which I would definitely recommend as a way of placing “the man” in time and space. Curiosity about what he taught, however, has me poring over Confessions of a Secular Jesus.

In recent years, I’ve seen some good done in Christ’s name, but a lot more bad. Maybe you feel the same way? For me, in 2019, this is what is hard to grapple with when approaching a book like this one. I found myself proceeding with caution towards the idea that Jesus can be a moral guide for all folks — whether they worship him or not.

Yet, Krattenmaker’s interpretations of the Jesus philosophy is winning me over. His philosophy…

that love is the way,
that responding to war with peace is a powerful counter-strike,
that finding the humanity in all persons is possible and beautiful,
that forgiveness can be subversive.

Perhaps these are the answers we can find in Jesus if we take the time to look.

Read this if you’re interested in: Philosophy, Self-Improvement, Religion + Politics, Literature

Read this if you loved: A Secular Age by Charles Taylor, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan, What’s Beyond Mindfulness by Stephen Fulder, What the Qur’an Meant by Gary Wills

Other books by Tom Krattenmaker: The Evangelicals You Don’t Know and Onward Christian Athletes

Keep a lookout for Part 2! It’ll be hitting this site next week.

And don’t forget — if you want the full reading list CLICK HERE. You’ll basically become a card-carrying member of the Finding Delight Book Club! ❤

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My Three Favorite Make-Ahead Breakfast Recipes

happiness depends on breakfast

I love breakfast. It is my favorite meal of the day and I could eat breakfast foods morning, noon, and night. (Sometimes I do!) I also really enjoy eating my breakfast in bed while I read the news and check my emails. According to Downton Abbey this is a luxury I shouldn’t be afforded until after my wedding day. But Downton be damned! I like to live by the quote above instead — All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast. Can I get an AMEN? Wanna know what can make your breakfasts even MORE leisurely than consuming them propped up amongst a mountain of pillows? (Yes, having it served on a tray by your ladies maid would be grand but that’s not quite what I was thinking…) Making them ahead of time! I’m an oatmeal girl through and through but sometimes it’s nice to have a few other options on hand to switch things up. Especially when those options cut down on the time spent away from my quilt! Here are a few make-ahead breakfast recipes that will have you dining like a Crawley in no time…

Freezer Breakfast Burritos. Breakfast Burritos are one of my favorite things on the entire planet. Having a stash in the freezer at all times is obviously the best way to live your life. To make them, just throw some veggies (like bell peppers, onion, spinach, or whatever you have on hand) into a pan for a minute or so. Beat your eggs and add them to the pan and scramble on up. Add black beans and salsa to warm. Transfer your egg mixture to a bowl and let it cool a little. Finally, grab some tortillas and plastic wrap/aluminum foil. Add a couple scoops of egg-y goodness to the tortilla, sprinkle some cheese on top if you like, and fold and wrap. Place the individually wrapped burritos in a tupperware or freezer bag and pop ’em in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat, unwrap and microwave for 1-2 minutes (flipping once).

Choco-Coconut Overnight Oats. This is the most decadent breakfast in all of the land. So rich, so creamy, so…in a mason jar. How could you go wrong? All you do is add the following ingredients to a jar: 1/2 cup of oats, 1/2 cup of milk of choice, 3 Tbsps coconut greek yogurt, 1 Tbsp cocoa powder, and 1/2 a banana-mashed. Stir everything up and put a lid on it. Pop it in your fridge and let it sit at least overnight (but up to 3 days). Note: If you don’t have coconut yogurt you can substitute plain yogurt + shredded coconut + sweetener of your choice.

Banana Blueberry Soft Serve. Ok, so this one is sort of cheating because you still have to use your food processor in the morning but stick with me…it’s worth it. All you’re gonna do is make little baggies (or small tupperwares) with 1 1/2 banana and 1/4 cup of blueberries and throw them in the freezer. Then in the morning throw the contents of the bag in your food processor with a splash of milk and give it a good whiz until you reach a soft serve consistency. Scoop the mixture out into a bowl and add whatever toppings you have on hand (like granola, sliced almonds, chia seeds, or fresh fruit). Admittedly, this is my favorite dessert at the moment but who said your leisurely breakfast can’t include such luxuries?

Which would you choose? xoxo