The Barbarian Way / Soul Cravings

The Barbarian Way / Soul Cravings - Erwin Raphael McManus After listening to several sermons by Erwin, I decided to try out some of his books. This one is the first.

The Barbarian Way:

Erwin is trying to clearly make us see the difference between what Christianity as a movement and Christianity as a part of the culture. Well, I have nothing much to say about this book. It's pretty much the same as his sermon on the topic: that there is a gap between what Jesus want his followers to become and what the community that bear his name is missing out on.

Two thousand years ago, the institution (read: religion) that bore the name of Yahweh, God of the Old Testament, was turned upside down by Jesus (not, not the Messiah, but the Human Jesus), culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple in the year 70 AD.

Now, two thousand more years have passed. Will something similar happens to Christianity? That remains to be seen...

Soul Cravings:

If you're a Christian, or just a person who's familiar with Christianity, I'm certain that you know some preachers in this world claimed to have seen hell and, yes, sometimes, heaven.

The funny thing is, when you hear them preached in the church, they would regularly speak about "How you can be a blessing," or "how to have the right spouse," or "how to be a good person," or "how you can be more blessed."

I don't say that it's impossible for a person to be brought to hell and heaven by God. I'm saying that if you really has ever seen heaven or hell, you would preach about something more than those practical and bland talk. You would talk about something that is more mysterious and hard to digest, something that is disturbing and real, rather than preaching about what most of the Christian preachers preached about: easy to digest, practical to everyday lives, and yes,


Erwin once said, "Before a person follow your God, he/she has to become a follower of you. They wouldn't come to your God if they don't like you. And if they don't like you why would they want to know whatever that makes you the way you are? To find an unknown and mysterious God they need a guide [you]."

It is this thing that kept me from believing what preachers said. They are just not trustworthy. They can talk all the good things, sometimes so much good that they have preached their own version of God, because if you've read the Bible, you know there's so much chaos and darkness in the Bible.

I wanted a conversation that is thoughtful and honest, and as long as I don't see that, I will not be convinced with whatever those hell and heaven travelers said about.

Now to begin, I don't like how this book opens up. It used the "21 grams" issue that is being used by propagandists all around the world to say, "There is more to you than flesh and blood" (do your research, Erwin!)

But after that, the book just gets better and better. The conversation moves from what is bland into that which is heartfelt and almost personal. It's not the kind of book that says "you need God" although that was what being argued here. Erwin is not your lousy-stupid-next-door-preacher, who preached that GOD-IS-ALL-GOOD-AND-GREAT-AND-LOVING-AND-CARING. He has his own doubts, even his own son had his doubts, and he is a pastor of a church!

He is also honest enough to share those doubts in this book. Every human being needs to know that somehow someway their lives are meaningful. That there is a purpose to their existence in this world. It is not really a harmful impulse to desire meaning for our lives. What is harmful is when that impulse to have meaning drive us to believe what is false but consoling, rather than the truth which is harsh and merciless.

The 'truth'
That the Bible
Might just be
A human creation

That Jesus
Might just be
A false Messiah

That Christianity
Is nothing more
Than another dead end

People all around the world are trying to make sense of life. To understand who we are and where we are. Some went out alone, and in the journey discovered things that are disturbing and grotesque.As John Gray, an English Political Philosopher puts it, "Not everything in religion is precious or deserving of reverence."

Making sense of life
Asking questions
Even questions
About the existence of God

I've set out a few years ago to find answers. I'm progressing very-very slowly now, and in those times when I'm tired of asking, I'm just glad to find a person who can talk about all the deep issues in life like this Erwin.