Wednesday, January 21, 2009

the fine line

Kary Oberbrunner
was my pastor for most of my senior year in high school. I remember him being a passionate guy and, oddly enough, basically the same age I am now. He is a gifted pastor, speaker and author and he recently wrote a book called The Fine Line.

It's a book about relevancy. How can we live in the world and not be of the world. The book covers a lot of ground in a very short space. He writes quick and to the point. For you visual learners out there, he makes use of several good diagrams of the information he's presenting. (I remember him doing that years ago, too.)

I'm always nervous when I hear about a book on relevancy. Most of what is out there is about how to be culturally savvy. How to watch movies, TV, use the internet, listen to music and do everything the world does in order to "reach" them. Kary doesn't do this. He says this is the polar opposite of how we should strive to be relevant to the world. It is not about doing what is hip at the time it is about two simple things: Love for God and love for man.

He does this by first giving us some basic groups within Christianity, people he calls Separatists and Conformists. Separatists are law-following and world-hating people who become irrelevant because they refuse to speak to others where they are. Conformists are world-loving and law-abusing people who become irrelevant because they refuse to stand on truth. He calls the middle ground people, the fine line people, Transformists.

By using those groups he is able to speak to people on both sides of the fence. People like me who lean on the Separatist side and others who lean on the Conformist side. He breaks it down for both of us by telling us what it means to be relevant is to simply follow Christ.

Two quotes from the book:

This is (in my opinion) a great summary of the whole book. He's talking about Paul and how relevant Paul was (all things to all people):

After his conversion, Paul didn't pursue relevance. Instead, he pursued Jesus. But by pursuing Jesus, he naturally became relevant. And as long as he kept following Jesus, he was relevant.

And, one of my personal favorites out of the book because it speaks to me and my reluctance to be humble and honest before God:
But when it comes down to it, we don't feel safe opening our hearts to a God who killed his own Son. We'd rather have a God we can manage and control.

Kary really did a great job with this book. It is an easy read and, at the same time, extremely convicting and challenging. If you don't believe me just read the chapter called "The Girl Bashers." You'll hang your head in shame.

I recommend the book to you. You can pick it up on Amazon for $10.


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