I'm going to do my best to write the following in an objective, peaceful way. Know that before I even begin, I mean absolutely no ill will towards anyone and deeply appreciate the few of you who have taken the time to address your concerns about the book we chose. I'm not really the kind of girl who likes to ignore and blow past these thoughts because I believe they come from legitimate desire to be a holy, God-honoring person. With that in mind, please hear my heart on this (*please*).
This is more emotional than I can begin to post, and for fear of a complete nervous breakdown, I am going to give the very short version.
Girl is raised in a home without Christ.
Girl meets people who tell her about Christ.
Girl feels judged, condemned, and like she could never be one of them.
God tells girl she is wrong.
Girl becomes a Christian.
Other Christians tell her she isn't a good "Christian" and makes her feel like a failure.
Girl starts to run from church in fear and shame.
Girl loves God too much to get very far.
But the girl still hurts from the sting of judgment, and it shapes every decision she makes about her faith.
Girl realizes she must speak, and again, she fears.
It's a pattern I have struggled with for many years, always worrying if I'm good enough, too "liberal," too "open," too "accepting." The truth is that my beliefs in Jesus Christ would line up with the most conservative Believer on the planet, but I LOVE people deeply, and even in spite of our differences. I'm going to be completely honest (and it will probably bite me in the booty!) and tell you that when we received a few comments on our post, I called Jess and told her we needed to change the book, send money to people who ordered it, beg for forgiveness and call it a day. I just don't like conflict. Like, at all.
And then I got on a long plane ride and I opened the book again. I read it nearly cover to cover as I traveled, and cried the entire time. Not only did I mark pretty much EVERY single page of text, I felt very deeply (and Jess agrees) that this book is life-changing. It is one of the most powerful books I have ever read, and I don't say that lightly. Even as I have put some of it into practice since I have been home, I have been BLOWN AWAY by the difference it has made.
With that said, I want to address some concerns that have come up in the event that this isn't a good book choice for you.
Wayne Muller is an ordained minister, and a *truly* amazing soul. I have spoken to him by phone and through email and I will tell you that we have (sadly) put him through the ringer in these past few days trying to figure out how to handle all of this. I'm not going to share all of the details of our conversations, but I will assure you that he is a gentle, kind, precious man who has lived his life in a way that would make most of us blush with embarrassment at how we haven't served the Lord.
And here's the deal.
He quotes Buddha.
And he quotes other religions.
And he makes statements that describe the way these different religions view Sabbath. I don't believe a Buddhist or even an atheist would be offended by the text (and I am sure that was not a mistake), despite the fact that it is fundamentally and overwhelmingly based on Christian beliefs. In my conversations with Wayne, I have seen his heart on the matter, and his goal (and frankly, my goal) is to love others well. Like Jesus would.
There are sentences that I have underlined where people might have issue-it is common for him to cite what Buddhists call something (or whomever) for the sake of demonstrating the role of Sabbath for everyone ("When Hindis worship..." or "Buddhist believe..." or "Rabbi's interpret this to mean..."etc.)
Here is a direct quote from a page I have marked..."The Buddhists call this driving force tanha-literally thirsting, craving, or longing. Tanha includes not only desire for, and attachment to, material wealth and power, but also desire for, at attachment to, people, experiences, ideas, opinions, and even spiritual accomplishments. (pg 126)"
In this sense, there are areas where one might take believe that Mr. Muller sees all religions as equal, whereas I have found him to be, instead, tolerant and able to be inspired by other faiths.
There is most certainly a line between what we can learn from others and what we need to stay away from as Christians. But we can learn from people who aren't Christians. We don't conform to their beliefs. We don't back down from ours. We don't waver in a world where our goal is to preach the Gospel, but in my (humble) opinion, this doesn't mean that we have to shy away from things because they aren't our beliefs.
We will NEVER choose a book that we feel like would lead anyone astray. Our entire purpose is to make Jesus famous in a group of women who are seeking His face.
With that said, if you feel that you are at a place in your walk where these kinds of things concern you, please feel free to sit it out. I would be lying if I didn't say I think you are going to miss something amazing, but at the same time I completely respect that. If you are one of the people who has requested a book and these things bother you, go ahead and shoot us an email and we won't send it your way...no problem :)
We aren't going to be discussing these other faiths in our videos, but I did want to address the concerns here. Know that we love and appreciate you, and as always, want to support and walk with you in your faith.
Angie (and Jess)