Unarmed Empire, Book Review

A new book has come out that you should buy today: Unarmed Empire by Sean Palmer.

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Order it here!

“This book is the result of a lifetime in the church.”

So begins Unarmed Empire, the new book by Sean Palmer. Sean is an incredible story teller. He observes. He listens. He reflects. And as he writes, he tells a story that I truly believe every churchgoer will relate to on some level.

Sean loves the church. He loves what the church should be and can be. He hates what the church in many places has become.

As Sean relays stories of his experience in the church, he is quick to point out his own failings. As he is quick to state, people on both sides of the current state of political discourse have become victims. We have allowed our personal, political, and philosophical opinions dictate how we operate and interact. Instead of being a Kingdom people, we have adopted a “Pax Americana.”

If you are a churchgoer who wants to reclaim what Jesus called the church to be, this book is for you. If you have been burned by churches in the past, pick up this book to grasp a picture of what church can and should be and what some churches truly are striving to be.

Sean is calling us all to community—a community based on grace, a community based on welcoming, a community that seeks to create peace. This book is authentic. It is convicting. It is a road map for what we as a church have been called to be.

Sean is a friend. I have known him for more than half my life. As he writes, I can hear and appreciate his growth and maturity through the years. I can see the ways God has molded and shaped him; how God has used him to bring about the Kingdom without being too distracted by any earthly kingdom. Sean may not realize how important he has been to my own spiritual development over the years. And as I read his book, I was wanting to loudly proclaim, “Amen,” over and over—about 90% of the time. The rest of the time, he was convicting me to wrestle with my own sin; the ways I have given in to earthly standards in my relationships with other people.

We have lost our story. Let us reclaim it. “Christians can be right, but if we are not kind, we are wrong.” Let us be kind. Let us be welcoming. Let us be the church.

 

Stolen Jesus, Book Review

My friend wrote a book! And I highly recommend it! You can (and should) pre-order it here:

For years, Jesus was “more of a habit than a relationship.” It is my experience that this has been true for at least some portion of every Christian’s journey. Jami Amerine’s new book, Stolen Jesus, is her story of turning her habit into so much more.

Jami is honest and vulnerable. She shares from the deepest parts of her soul. (And she tells funny family stories, too!) As she details the number of false Jesus images she grew up with, she reveals an important truth: most of these images come from a good place. As I read, I remembered the ways I misunderstood Jesus because the picture I was given was incomplete.

I grew up as a preacher’s kid and even went to college to gain a degree in preaching. Yet it was not until my own experience of almost losing everything that I fully came to have a real relationship with Jesus. On my blog and in my personal interactions, I strive to achieve the same type of open story-telling that Jami utilizes in Stolen Jesus.

Jami experienced different church groups growing up. She has children ranging in age from 22 to 1. Her family fosters children. They have adopted children. They have moved. They have experienced home school, private school, and public school. They have faced family tragedy and times of questioning and worry. Yet through it all, Jami and her family have sought Jesus. Her journey is one of moving from what people tell us about Jesus to actually getting to know Jesus.

I have never shared cabbage with a friend because my breasts were engorged with milk nor have I had my dress pulled off of me my by a shopping cart in Walmart, but I have friends with whom I walk through this life together. I have had moments of extreme embarrassment knowing the entire world was watching. I know what it is like to see the looks and hear the words of the person who does not know you putting you down.

As Jami writes, our journeys are so different yet they are so much the same. I, too, have many inherited Jesuses that I needed to let go of in order to have a relationship with the one, true Jesus. She admonishes all of us. She encourages all of us. She can make us laugh and cry. Yet she is careful to say she is not the expert. All she is doing is sharing her story. And I am grateful she does.

Note: I received an advance copy from the publisher. If you are interested in reading more Jami, head on over here.