Why We Wrote Genesis for Normal People

Today, my book with Peter Enns comes out in paperback. It’s called Genesis for Normal People. Click on the link and buy it, either for yourself or someone else.

Not convinced?

Well, as we have been anticipating the release, I have been thinking more about why we wrote it and where I feel called to play a role in the Church. And I am even more convinced now that we need bridge-builders in the Christian community. There are so many polarizations, conservative-liberal, Reformed-Arminian, Catholic-Protestant, Clergy-Laypeople. I see so many opportunities for bridge-building, or to use more theological language: RECONCILIATION.

My passion in working with Pete to write GFNP was to create a bridge between the world of academic scholarship and the world of the average Christian. Somewhere along the way, a chasm has formed. Sometimes because of a well-meaning pastor who tries to “protect” his/her congregation from “liberal intellectuals,” sometimes because of the insecure over-inflated egos of scholars who think they are too brilliant to meddle with translating their brilliance to the commoners, and sometimes because of a practical failure of imagination and organizational leadership.

To be honest, there are probably dozens of reasons why the average person in a congregation is clueless about the collective wisdom and intellect of really smart Christian scholars who want to be faithful to Christ & the Bible by understanding what we should expect the Bible to be and what we shouldn’t, like my friend Pete.

But imagine a world where scientists never took the time to explain to people why they get the flu, why you shouldn’t shake your baby. Or imagine a world where well-meaning politicians told their citizens not to listen to the “liberal intellectuals” who now tell us that there are invisible microbes in our drinking water that can kill us or who tell us that smoking is bad for your health.

Or imagine a world where we rarely get to effective solutions because people in leadership often lack imagination to break out of oppressively irrelevant bureaucracy . . . oh wait, you don’t have to imagine for that one.

We cannot protect people from the truth as we see it today. But the reality is that much damage has already been done for many in the Christian faith. The gap has widened. Hopefully, through small projects like Genesis for Normal People, we can begin to close that gap, to unify the church in our little, perhaps insignificant way, that is, to be a voice for reconciliation.

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6 responses to “Why We Wrote Genesis for Normal People

  1. Great Book. I posted my review at Amazon.com, reading: “It’s a very good book… easy for me to read, follow, comprehend and enjoy. It’s unlikely to be the last word on Genesis (but if it is, then it means I should have worried more about the Mayan calendar issue…). It was absolutely worth my time and cost to read it. It’d make a nice Christmas gift to agnostics who can not accept the Genesis story as being factual and inerrant, and sadly allow that to handicap their ability to embrace the core precepts of Christianity. For me, reading this book and thinking though the reasons for the Genesis story deepened my faith.”

  2. It is a great book, I really enjoyed it and I’m glad it’s available in print too.

    I think part of what contributes to the divide between academics and the rest of us is that many structures of understanding have been formed by the church that would appear to be threatened by the “latest scholarship” or whatever. What’s needed is someone in between the scholars and the church who can make the translation and relate the hope, the excitement and the faith that comes from honestly holding the scriptures to scrutiny.

    It’s ironic that those who do so in the academic world are seen as taking a low view of scripture. In actuality, they’re taking it serious enough to actually spend their lives probing its mysteries.

  3. I’ve been slowly reading thru GFNP as part of my quiet time. I’ve appreciated it so much…I’m intrigued by many of Peter Enn’s books but I have to admit that I know they will require a lot of brain power on my part. It has been great to have a book where the concepts are streamlined and the tone is conversational and not too academic. I would love to be a part of a book discussion group that goes thru the book together–I live in the East Valley,so let me know if you are aware of any starting up!

  4. Pingback: My Top 5 Experiences of 2012 | Jared Byas

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