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Winner of the 2017 Illumination Award Jacqueline Bussie knows that too many Christians live according to unspoken "laws" that govern the Christian life: #1: Never get angry at God; #2: Never doubt; #3: Never question; #4: Never tell your real story; #5: Always speak in cliches about evil and suffering; and #6: Always believe hope comes easy for those who truly love God. Livi Winner of the 2017 Illumination Award Jacqueline Bussie knows that too many Christians live according to unspoken "laws" that govern the Christian life: #1: Never get angry at God; #2: Never doubt; #3: Never question; #4: Never tell your real story; #5: Always speak in cliches about evil and suffering; and #6: Always believe hope comes easy for those who truly love God. Living according to these rules is killing real Christian life; Outlaw Christian proposes a rebellious, life-giving, authentic alternative. Through captivating stories and with disarming honesty, Bussie gives concrete, practical strategies to help readers cultivate hope, seek joy, practice accompaniment, compost their pain, and rediscover the spiritual practice of lament. Tackling difficult questions without political divisiveness, Bussie speaks to both progressive and conservative Christians in ways that unite rather than divide. And in doing so, she provides a new way to handle the most difficult and troubling questions of life in a broken world that God will never abandon.


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Winner of the 2017 Illumination Award Jacqueline Bussie knows that too many Christians live according to unspoken "laws" that govern the Christian life: #1: Never get angry at God; #2: Never doubt; #3: Never question; #4: Never tell your real story; #5: Always speak in cliches about evil and suffering; and #6: Always believe hope comes easy for those who truly love God. Livi Winner of the 2017 Illumination Award Jacqueline Bussie knows that too many Christians live according to unspoken "laws" that govern the Christian life: #1: Never get angry at God; #2: Never doubt; #3: Never question; #4: Never tell your real story; #5: Always speak in cliches about evil and suffering; and #6: Always believe hope comes easy for those who truly love God. Living according to these rules is killing real Christian life; Outlaw Christian proposes a rebellious, life-giving, authentic alternative. Through captivating stories and with disarming honesty, Bussie gives concrete, practical strategies to help readers cultivate hope, seek joy, practice accompaniment, compost their pain, and rediscover the spiritual practice of lament. Tackling difficult questions without political divisiveness, Bussie speaks to both progressive and conservative Christians in ways that unite rather than divide. And in doing so, she provides a new way to handle the most difficult and troubling questions of life in a broken world that God will never abandon.

30 review for Outlaw Christian: Finding Authentic Faith by Breaking the 'rules'

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Albright

    [Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.] A reader, especially one who reads many books from Christian authors, should be aware of a book that claims to present a form of Christianity that breaks the rules and that appeals to the natural rebellious nature of mankind as a way of presenting a new Christianity that happens to be "cool" and leftist in nature. The author cites books from others in this school of hipster, left-w [Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.] A reader, especially one who reads many books from Christian authors, should be aware of a book that claims to present a form of Christianity that breaks the rules and that appeals to the natural rebellious nature of mankind as a way of presenting a new Christianity that happens to be "cool" and leftist in nature. The author cites books from others in this school of hipster, left-wing social Christianity that minimizes questions of moral law in order to play up themes of liberal white guilt, borrowing/smuggling themes of Buddhist spirituality in place of biblical truth, and lots of whining and angst about the evils of the world. Literally dozens of books a lot like this one can be found in my library [1] cover much the same ground as this book, seeking to promote a pro-socialist political agenda, appealing to the desire of young people to rebel against manmade traditions and structures. This book, and the many others like it, serve as one pole of a satanic dialectic, one playing up rebellion and freedom rather than obedient self-sacrifice and loyalty to institutions. In terms of dealing with aspects of God's nature, it emphasizes love and strongly under-emphasizes truth. The chapters of this book are long, as if the author does not know quite how to manage her material well. The book is relatively short at about 250 pages of core material, but the book feels bloated by padding, including the author's bragging about her skills as a professor, her use of the material of other people who, like Job before he faces God, bring God up on charges in a covenantal lawsuit [2] of being mean and heartless towards defenseless and innocent human beings, as if God was obligated to explain Himself to us. The author takes the side of Job against his friends, which is better than those works on theodicy that take the side of Job's friends [3]. Rather than being a brutal truth-toting Calvinist, the author takes the side of an immensely rebellious Luther, which makes sense as she is Lutheran, albeit a very marginal one. The entire contents of this book fit into six chapters urging people to become "outlaw Christians" like the author in the solitary search for radical authenticity and the shameless desire to pander to people of other religious backgrounds to show that Christians aren't such bad people after all, appealing to people who claim themselves to be tired of dishonesty, angry at the Almighty, doubting their faith, sick of hearing that God has a plan, scared to tell their real stories (which include a lot of tales of rape and child abuse, including that of the author's screenwriting husband) [4], or longing for hope. The end result is what a book on Christianity would be if it was written by an angsty teen upset at all that was fake in professed Christianity and unjust in our broken and corrupt world but not soundly grounded in the Bible enough to be a fit teacher of divine truth. Make no mistake, this is not by any means a good book. Nevertheless, it is a book that likely was cathartic to the author herself. If the book helped her wrestle with her concerns over the goodness of God in the face of the problems of evil, if it helped her to be at peace with her institutions despite the fact that they value a dishonest conformity and discourage the blunt discussion of unpleasant truths, then the book was a worthwhile one for her to write. Sometimes people have to write material that is unpleasant to read, and sometimes downright terrible, as a way of coping with life themselves. Sometimes such people even find a way for others to read the material, just as this book was published and will likely find an audience at least among those associates of the author on the social Gospel side of our culture's Christian divide. And, despite all that is wrong about this book, and there is a lot wrong, at least this book offers some compassion to those who struggle and who cannot deny the brokenness of the world and of the people in it. Such books need to be written, but the world needs more than compassion and care from someone who does not know enough about Christianity or the Bible to teach it to others. We deserve better from those who set themselves up to be teachers of the Way of God than books that offer petulant whining and peddle as many cliches as they seek to demolish. [1] See, for example: https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... [2] See, for example: https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... [3] See, for example: https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... [4] See, for example: https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Robert Durough, Jr.

    Lutheran professor Jacqueline A. Bussie’s Outlaw Christian: Finding Authentic Faith by Breaking the “Rules” reads like an infomercial for the purported latest and greatest form of “just be you” faith and new club: Outlaw Christians. She writes: Outlaw Christianity: (noun) 1. a new, life-giving faith for those who ache for a more authentic relationship with God and other people by no longer having to hide their doubt, anger, grief, scars, or questions 2. an honest, outside-the-law faith for those se Lutheran professor Jacqueline A. Bussie’s Outlaw Christian: Finding Authentic Faith by Breaking the “Rules” reads like an infomercial for the purported latest and greatest form of “just be you” faith and new club: Outlaw Christians. She writes: Outlaw Christianity: (noun) 1. a new, life-giving faith for those who ache for a more authentic relationship with God and other people by no longer having to hide their doubt, anger, grief, scars, or questions 2. an honest, outside-the-law faith for those seeking a hope that really speaks to the world’s hurt (xi) Bussie rightly pushes back against the notions many have of not being able to be really in honest in some Christian circles, having to hide anger, doubt, and scars in the midst of real pain and uncertainty; however, the path taken in this book is not one to recommend. In order to travel this path, one must, as Bussie has, redefine a number of terms to create this new faith club. Rather than revere the Almighty, Bussie encourages the reader to bring God down to a human level as she does, stating that God learns and grows with us, comparing her relationship with him to an angry married couple in which both sides are flawed people just trying to figure things out and get along. I concur that we can learn from people not like us, even other religions; but if it is not ultimately God honoring and glorifying then it is of no use. However, Bussie seems to take this a bit further down an apparent path of universalism when she writes about our “brothers and sisters of other religions” (137) and redefines sin by stating, “To keep things simple as well as practical and concrete, I now define evil and sin as anything we say, do, or believe (or fail to say, do, or believe) that robs us of our humanity or the earth of its dignity” (129). The emphasis of this book is certainly on oneself and being honest about one’s humanity, reveling in doubt and sharing each other’s pain and suffering, for which Bussie claims there is no other meaning than that it is shared. She reminds her reader that something isn’t sin if it’s honest; so be honest because that’s authentic and authenticity attracts. So, while being honest and attempting to attract others to this new club of “outlaws” that is said to include Job, Jesus, and God, Bussie demonstrates where she’s really at with God when she states that he “carries a dead child, and that child is Jesus, and all of us too” (157). No, Jesus is risen! Yes, there is suffering, but there’s so much more that can be helpful for potential readers than to bring God completely down to an utterly flawed human level and say something like “he’s just like us, so he understands.” He understands, and has conquered! To be fair, there are also small sections in the book that praise God and his love, but I think Bussie’s experience with her mother’s suffering and passing is still eating away at her and is the lens through which she sees her life, her students, and the rest of the world. Yes, we are called to participate in changing the world (examples of which are included in the final chapter and may or may not be helpful for a Christ follower), but it is in Christ that we should have our identity, and it is through and for him that we are able. Given the poor exegesis and evaluation of the book of Job in the second chapter, I would not have gone any further had I not agreed to review this book. However, having finished it in its entirety, I can say that my concerns about its direction were validated. In its sincere desire to help and encourage struggling Christians or those who have been pushed away by hypocrisy, it can be even more damaging than the things it attempts to correct. *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  3. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Smith

    This book is a must read for every millennial who has any form of faith (strong or weak). It was absolutely amazing. The topics talked about speak to a lot of the problems people have with faith and provides support and guidance through these tough questions. I always thought that being Lutheran meant it was okay to question and doubt things, Jacqueline Bussie does a fantastic job discussing how it's ok to doubt and question and disagree with what modern Christianity has taught us. I want to rea This book is a must read for every millennial who has any form of faith (strong or weak). It was absolutely amazing. The topics talked about speak to a lot of the problems people have with faith and provides support and guidance through these tough questions. I always thought that being Lutheran meant it was okay to question and doubt things, Jacqueline Bussie does a fantastic job discussing how it's ok to doubt and question and disagree with what modern Christianity has taught us. I want to read this book again and again because I thought it was so amazing. Definitely, a must read for everyone. It's a refreshing reminder that not everything is black and white, especially when it comes to faith.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lucynda

    Refreshing! There is only so long that Christian cliches are going to sustain you in your faith. When your world comes crashing down around you, you need something real and not some little saying embroidered and pedaled to you on a pillow or coffee mug at some Christian store chain. I needed to hear it was OK to ask God why. I needed to hear about Job and how God basically told his friends to shut up. I needed to hear it was OK to mourn and lament atrocities and heartaches. I am not weak because Refreshing! There is only so long that Christian cliches are going to sustain you in your faith. When your world comes crashing down around you, you need something real and not some little saying embroidered and pedaled to you on a pillow or coffee mug at some Christian store chain. I needed to hear it was OK to ask God why. I needed to hear about Job and how God basically told his friends to shut up. I needed to hear it was OK to mourn and lament atrocities and heartaches. I am not weak because I ask hard questions and I am not less of a Christian because I don't accept certain things just because they have been repeated to me over and over again my entire life. We should seek truth and this book helped me find it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kara Linaburg

    I really have no words to say how in love with this book I am. No words. It's the most raw, real, authentic, harcore honest book I've read in a long time. The author isn't afaid to say what needs to be said. She uses words some people wouldn't like. She says things a lot of people would cringe to hear. But this book is needed. By everyone.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    One of the best faith based books I have ever read. I want to read again when I can!!! Highly recommend! Loved it the second time, too

  7. 5 out of 5

    Will Waller

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Have you ever met a teenager that just oozes angst and loathing? The type of person that cringes when light shines or when hope appears? This decimates their world view because happiness is something to be despised, not celebrated. In Jacqueline Bussie's work, Outlaw Christian, you get a boatload of frustration at any and all who may be smiling or pleased in their faith. Those persons according to her theological view are forgetting the suffering in the world. She takes away from her reading of Have you ever met a teenager that just oozes angst and loathing? The type of person that cringes when light shines or when hope appears? This decimates their world view because happiness is something to be despised, not celebrated. In Jacqueline Bussie's work, Outlaw Christian, you get a boatload of frustration at any and all who may be smiling or pleased in their faith. Those persons according to her theological view are forgetting the suffering in the world. She takes away from her reading of the Bible that the faithful are joyful, but only joyful in striving and suffering. There is no room for her in this worldview for the happy or the blessed. Those that are happy are the forgetful ones that blissfully ignore the suffering. Once they remember, as she is happy to do, they will descend back into the weeping and gnashing of teeth alongside the author. The part of the book that troubled me most was the story of her husband's rape. It's sad to me that she has to pad her work with tales of her husband's suffering, parading him around and the tragedy that he experienced to buffer her thesis. She includes a horrific experience that happened to him and co-opts it for her own thesis's benefit. That she would do this and invite people's pity on top of her unkind use of her husband, made my stomach church. Her sense of evil never goes so far to say that there is a brokenness that can only be fixed through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The only way that brokenness can be fixed is through incarnation. That is the start, to be sure, of God's work on the planet, but the incarnation is only half of the solution to the evil that we see. Yes, God stepped out of heaven to be with us, but if God left us without anything after that then there we would be scratching our heads at why He came int he first place. This book is decidedly for people who enjoy pointing fingers at Christians from a place of judgment in an attempt to parlay that activity from other sadists. She is what she thinks Christians have become - judgmental and hurtful. There are some in the Christian camp that enjoy mocking Christianity and calling that healing. Be honest about Christianity's faults but don't set up your permanent mailing address there. Dr. Bussie marauds around like a Christian but ultimately, I see very little grace and love in what she says. She says, "When we get better at pointing a finger at another's evil, wrongdoing, injustice, or "sin" we get worse at acknowledging our own complicity in wrongdoing, evil, injustice and sin (113)." While this is true, her writing belies that point. Well referenced book, and certainly the bibliography is deep. Altogether though this is a book for people who hate Christians (but maybe still gravitate to Jesus) or people that no longer worship Jesus but once did.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jaina Rose

    This review is also available on my blog, Read Till Dawn. I moved eight times over the course of my childhood, which means I've attended nine churches (plus visiting dozens more). We've found several good permanent churches over the years, but they've been in a variety of denominations. Over the past 18 years, I have been a part of Presbyterian, Church of Christ, and even non-denominational churches. There are even more denominations, I'm sure, that I simply can't remember at the moment. I sa This review is also available on my blog, Read Till Dawn. I moved eight times over the course of my childhood, which means I've attended nine churches (plus visiting dozens more). We've found several good permanent churches over the years, but they've been in a variety of denominations. Over the past 18 years, I have been a part of Presbyterian, Church of Christ, and even non-denominational churches. There are even more denominations, I'm sure, that I simply can't remember at the moment. I say all this simply to point out that my family has never stuck to a specific set of "laws" tied to a certain sect of the church. We're definitely not revolutionaries, and most of my parents' (and my) beliefs likely fall most closely in the "moderate" area of the political/religious scale, but I was raised to pursue my own ideas about God and religion rather than to parrot the dogma of any one specific church. For a long time, though, we faced limited church options and wound up attending a rather strange conservative church. Looking back now, I realize that I gained a bitterness and disrespect for the church from my time there because I was constantly in interaction with people who had their own set of rules about what it took to be a "good Christian" that didn't match my own. Now that we've been away from that church for almost two years, that outlook is fading–largely thanks to books like Outlaw Christian that introduce me to other people who share some of my criticisms of church culture but still participate in it and pursue a meaningful relationship with God. Reading Outlaw Christian, I get the vibe that Bussie is someone I would legitimately like if I ever met her in person. She's thoughtful about her faith and honest about her struggles, patient with those who disagree with her, and open-minded/nonjudgmental while still confident in her own beliefs. She tackles the hardcore issues like death, grief, hardship and abuse, arguing that we should feel comfortable bringing our anger and doubts to God instead of letting them fester while we do our best to feign perfection. I really like her arguments against the misconception that a Christian has to be happy all the time. Just a note, her points are great and sort of organized by topic by the different chapters, but they meander a little bit. I didn't mind, but others who are a little more finicky than I might. Also, I really want to take Bussie's college class on religion now. Any chance you'll be heading to St. Andrews, Scotland any time soon, Dr. Bussie?! Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    SaraCat

    I think I would actually give it a 4.5, but, Goodreads doesn't take decimals. There was a large portion of the book that I was able to relate to. Some of her choices of metaphors weren't always ones I could relate to, though they did create very vivid images of how she thought of those things. This book is written mainly towards people who fall somewhere on the 'was Christian and would possibly consider it again if...' and 'am Christian' spectrum, but because she devotes a lot of the book to talk I think I would actually give it a 4.5, but, Goodreads doesn't take decimals. There was a large portion of the book that I was able to relate to. Some of her choices of metaphors weren't always ones I could relate to, though they did create very vivid images of how she thought of those things. This book is written mainly towards people who fall somewhere on the 'was Christian and would possibly consider it again if...' and 'am Christian' spectrum, but because she devotes a lot of the book to talking about how we can/are called to treat others in the world different/better, I think anyone who sees merit in learning from those of different faith traditions (as the author herself does) could find merit in taking time to read this book. I should also say I might be a bit biased in this opinion. I got to speak to her about 2 years ago after a talk she gave in my area.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    Summary: Challenges the "unwritten rules" of Christianity that respond with denial or cliches when faced with the hardest challenges of evil, pain, suffering, doubt, and death and invites both honest responses and offers reality-based hope. Jacqueline Bussie is tired of the hackneyed clichés Christians throw out when faced with hard situations for which there really are no glib answers. She knows, having grown up in a family that either didn't talk about their pain or used some of the same answer Summary: Challenges the "unwritten rules" of Christianity that respond with denial or cliches when faced with the hardest challenges of evil, pain, suffering, doubt, and death and invites both honest responses and offers reality-based hope. Jacqueline Bussie is tired of the hackneyed clichés Christians throw out when faced with hard situations for which there really are no glib answers. She knows, having grown up in a family that either didn't talk about their pain or used some of the same answers. Eventually she started breaking the "unwritten laws" of how Christians are supposed to speak and act, and discovered that in fact, there were good models for doing the same in the pages of scripture. People got angry with God, mourned, doubted, and sat with others as they poured out all these things, allowing them to be utterly honest, and giving the one gift they had, being with the. She writes, "The name outlaw Christian describes the kind of Christian I am and the kind I'm setting myself to become: namely, a follower of Jesus who no longer accepts cocky clichés, hackneyed hope, or snappy theodicies--defenses of God's goodness and power--that explain away evil and suffering with a theo-magical sleight of hand. An outlaw Christian doesn't condemn questions or discourage doubt. Instead, an outlaw Christian seeks to live an authentic life of faith and integrity, and chooses to defy the unwritten laws governing suffering, grief, and hope that our culture and our religious traditions have asked us to ingest" (p. 5-6). The first law she deals with is that we should never get mad at God, which is blasphemy. She observes that Job, the Psalms, and Ecclesiastes are bluntly honest and angry with God, and in the end, it is Job who is vindicated and not his friends. We only get really angry with those we really love and take seriously. Far more deadly is indifference. The second law is that which forbids doubt because it is thought to be the opposite of faith and thus sin. Bussie shows that doubt is actually a part of the life of faith and good--it opens us up to ambiguity rather than holds onto "certainty," is honest, creative, and open, builds community as we support each other, and drives us to action. The third law is to never question. I so appreciated this because I've seen many thoughtful young people turn away from the faith simply because they were using the brains God gave them and asking good questions and told to "stuff it." She observes that the journals of Mother Teresa are full of her questions and struggles to believe. She notes how much of scripture is filled with laments that ask, "how long?" The fourth law she discusses is "to always speak in clichés about suffering and evil." She then proceeds to name them: *Evil is nothing except the absence of good. *Evil is obvious. You will know evil when you see it. *We need evil to grow closer to God and know what good is. *Evil only describes really big, bad sins. She argues that God doesn't need us to defend God and doesn't require us to spout these things. The fifth and last law she covers is to never tell your real story because vulnerability is weakness. She argues that the greatest gift of love that brings meaning and sense in the midst of pain and senselessness is when we let people tell their stories without shame. It's the way, she graphically writes, that we turn the garbage and crap in our lives into compost that gives life. She doesn't end here, however, but concludes by discussing how this radical authenticity with God and each other leads and can be turned to foster real hope. She begins by exposing the lies of hopelessness and talks about practical steps through which we cultivate hope and joy while "keeping it real." Much of it, to me at least, boiled down to just paying attention to one's life and to others, being as it were, a "hope sleuth." I have to admit, I was prepared for a book of Millennial clichés that in the end, I would say "meh" about. Instead, I found myself delighting in writing that was passionate about truth, unflinching in facing life's hardest realities, and that pressed through pain to wonder. She's both eloquent and gritty and I can see why her students say of her, "You are the only person who ever tells us the truth about anything." She is vulnerable herself, as she describes the painful journey of losing her mother to early onset Alzheimer's. Her own willingness to flout the clichés invites us into a deeper encounter with God that can be both angry and deeply love, can doubt and yet believe, can face unspeakable evil without giving up on goodness, can question and cling to God, and can reveal our garbage and yet know we are deeply loved. This is a book I wish I had read much younger. I spent too many years keeping the unwritten laws and spouting the cliches, to the hurt of others and the deadening of my own soul. I'm glad for this voice that helps a new generation break free, hopefully sooner, of such soul-deadening things into real life. ______________________________ Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Wright

    I'm really not sure yet what I thought of the book, mostly because I don't think the book had very much to do with the title. What i enjoyed about the book was its exploration of the book of Job and how we deal with grief and help others dealing with grief. It doesn't offer very many answers to the problem of pain and grief, but it reminds us that the gift of presence to those that are hurting is huge, that answers aren't always really helpful anyway, and that God is big enough and gracious enou I'm really not sure yet what I thought of the book, mostly because I don't think the book had very much to do with the title. What i enjoyed about the book was its exploration of the book of Job and how we deal with grief and help others dealing with grief. It doesn't offer very many answers to the problem of pain and grief, but it reminds us that the gift of presence to those that are hurting is huge, that answers aren't always really helpful anyway, and that God is big enough and gracious enough to handle our doubts about Him.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mark Lemmon

    This book is for people who are Christians put off by 'Christians' who are exclusive, judgemental, self-righteous, "finger pointers", gossips, blameless, and just plain hypocrites ... the very people Jesus would have nothing to do with. This book is for people who are all about what God's purpose is for us, to love, and who often suffer because they are so full of love. This book is for those who understand that God loves and suffers, too.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amydee

    I read this book while still involved in church, and if that is you, it is a very thought provoking and mind opening book. It is still rooted in laws of Christian faith, and so there isn't much application if you aren't also rooted in Christian faith. Nonetheless, it definitely challenges the status quo and I recommend it if you are a Christian who doubts or has questions that don't seem to have answers.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Janice Kittelson

    Jacqueline Bussie ‘s book, Outlaw Christians was the theme for the 2018 SouthWest MN Women of the ELCA convention in June in St Cloud and she was a keynote speaker.She was awesome and so is her book. She asks questions we have asked or were afraid to think about. She said God wants to know everything that is going on with you-thoughts, fears, worries.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jennie

    Bussie provides a fresh (yet scriptural) look at Christian life today. I have changed the way I think about much of my spirituality and some of those Biblical role models we hear about so often (especially Job). Can't wait to share this book with friends at church. It is going to spur a lot of thoughtful discussion.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    This book pushes past the pat answers and pithy theodicies many Christians offer each other in difficult times. When these Christian platitudes ring hollow, we don't need to feel guilty. We should strive for more authenticity. Some questions don't have answers, and the Bible does not answer all our questions with the certainty we desire.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Belinda

    Fresh and inspiring I loved this book. It gives gives me permission to question, wrestle and doubt. And still consider myself faithful. This book would be good for any ChristIan who is frustrated by a lack of authenticity and raw honesty in the church.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    A book that opens eyes, hearts and souls. I liked the stories and especially the strategies that the author puts forth to help readers practice faith in a new way!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Emily Pomeroy

    This book wasn't perfect but there were many thoughts and quotes that were among the most beautiful I've read in my life. Above that, it was what I needed in my life right now.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Choe Catibog

    My new favorite book!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Angie Watts

    Truth unfolded The truth about how God comes down to us in our suffering and grief is revealed in such a way that allows the reader to feel validated in questions and doubt.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Robert D. Cornwall

    There seems to be a growing number of books that speak to the unsettled nature of the Christian faith. Peter Enns recently published The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our "Correct" Beliefs. On its heals came Jacqueline Bussie's "Outlaw Christians." The books are both similar and different, though it seems as if they emerge out of a similar ethos. That ethos is an evangelical world that prizes certainty, and certainty is the product of the Enlightenment. Bussie invites us There seems to be a growing number of books that speak to the unsettled nature of the Christian faith. Peter Enns recently published The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our "Correct" Beliefs. On its heals came Jacqueline Bussie's "Outlaw Christians." The books are both similar and different, though it seems as if they emerge out of a similar ethos. That ethos is an evangelical world that prizes certainty, and certainty is the product of the Enlightenment. Bussie invites us to become "Outlaw Christians," by which she means that we can and should break the rules that often govern our religious life. These aren't biblical rules, these are the folk rules that we make up to help us stay true to our religious convictions, but which lack or prevent authenticity. These the rules that emerge out of fear rather than love of God and neighbor. Among the rules are the ones that tell us not to get angry God or to have doubts. They includes laws that invite us to speak in cliches that deny the reality of suffering and evil. Bussie invites us to transgress the rules and discover our own stories. This leads in the end to an invitation to embrace a life of hope. Bussie writes as one who teaches religion at a Christian college, and thus many of her anecdotes emerge out of conversations with students who have been raised with these folk rules. She also writes out of her own life experiences dealing with suffering, especially having to care for her mother who suffered from early-onset Alzheimer's disease (one of the most insidious of diseases). This was accompanied, as we learn late in the book by her own bout of depression. This is an intriguing book that reminds us that Christians continue to struggle with authentic faith. In each generation we must face questions of suffering, evil, and the like. Religious teachers tell us that doubt is bad and that certainty should be the mark of the Christian. Many of us have discovered that this is false. It is okay to get angry with God. Job did. The Psalms provide us with plenty of prayers that express anger with God. As for doubt, the Psalms help us also. Part of the biblical story is the invitation to lament. As I read the book I struggled a bit -- not because I buy into the "laws" she invites us to break, but because I recognized long ago that the Bible is filled with stories of people who struggle with doubt and anger with God. There aren't easy answers out there. God doesn't have a plan for my life that can't be deviated from. Thus, I had the same kind of reaction to Bussie's book as I did to Enns' book. It's directed at an audience different from me. This is in many ways a personal book. There is a mixture of theology and memoir. She tells her own story and that of others. I think it has a good message, I just wish it was better edited. It seems as if Bussie wanted get every story she could into the book. Thus, chapters go on for fifty pages, when they could have been half that. This might just be me, so I will let others decide. The main thing is the message -- let's be outlaw Christians. Let's break some rules. While she wants us to break rules, she seems to possess a relatively moderate theology. She likes to quote Tillich, but her theology is really pretty orthodox. So, if you're struggling with things like doubt and anger and want to find a way into hope and joy, you might find this to be a good guidebook.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Julius

    Jacqueline Bussie's Outlaw Christian: Finding Authentic Faith by Breaking the "Rules" is one of a growing number of books that speak to the unsettled nature of the Christian faith. The Church's captivity to the Enlightenment and its certainties has ended -- and thank God for it. Outlaw Christians escapes the clutches of the rules and regulations that existed as part of that Enlightenment rationalistic culture, and brings the evangelical community Good News: That certainty is a myth and faith is Jacqueline Bussie's Outlaw Christian: Finding Authentic Faith by Breaking the "Rules" is one of a growing number of books that speak to the unsettled nature of the Christian faith. The Church's captivity to the Enlightenment and its certainties has ended -- and thank God for it. Outlaw Christians escapes the clutches of the rules and regulations that existed as part of that Enlightenment rationalistic culture, and brings the evangelical community Good News: That certainty is a myth and faith is the foundation upon which all rational thought proceeds. So the idea of being what Reynolds Price once called an "outlaw Christian" has growing appeal. Too often the Christian faith is defined by rigid creeds and rules of behavior, rules that often detract from living in relationship with God. And there's no better guide than Jacqueline Bussie to bring us out of the fog of that rigid certainty and into the authenticity of Christian faith as discipleship with Jesus. Bussie, of course, isn't calling Christians to a relativistic faith, but to a biblical faith, that embraces our doubting in order to honor the living relationship we have with God. Bussie has something specific in mind when she invites to break the rules. She doesn't have in mind biblical rules. Rather it's the folk rules and customs that develop overtime. These are the rules that emerge out of fear rather than love of God and neighbor. At the same time, she speaks to rules that tell us that it's not appropriate to argue with or get angry with God (obviously those who believe this way have never read the Psalms or Job). The same goes for doubt. Even the greatest of saints have had doubts -- witness Mother Teresa. What does doubt offer? She suggests authenticity, for we as humans cannot claim to fully understand the infinite. If authenticity is a goal, then we must let go of the cliches that deny the reality of suffering and evil. Bussie invites us to transgress the rules and learn to tell our stories of life with God with honesty and humility. This leads in the end to an invitation to embrace a life of hope. Outlaw Christian is a wonderful book -- and one that deserves a wide reading. __________________ Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rosina Halverson Studer

    Dr. Jacqueline Bussie’s book Outlaw Christian creates a desperately needed space for Christians and non-Christians alike to doubt, grieve, hope, and live in a radically authentic way. To anyone who knows Jacqueline well, reading this book is like stepping into her office or dropping by for a lunch date, but even more than that, it is for all readers a window into the soul of a woman who knows what redemption can be borne from an honest examination of our own suffering, free of judgment or expect Dr. Jacqueline Bussie’s book Outlaw Christian creates a desperately needed space for Christians and non-Christians alike to doubt, grieve, hope, and live in a radically authentic way. To anyone who knows Jacqueline well, reading this book is like stepping into her office or dropping by for a lunch date, but even more than that, it is for all readers a window into the soul of a woman who knows what redemption can be borne from an honest examination of our own suffering, free of judgment or expectation. For non-Christians, this book is an acknowledgement that love, loss, and hope for a better world are inherent to the authentic human experience, and not something for Christians to monopolize or devalue with theodicies, platitudes, and prayers lived out by what many never be more than self-placating sentiments and good intentions. For Christians, it is a call to ask the difficult questions about why the world hurts and where God fits into that. It is to recognize that we will spend the rest of our time here trying to figure out the answers, and that the journey may in fact be the whole point. It is a call to move beyond sentiment into prayer that actively hopes and works for a better world, precisely because of the acknowledgement that we all suffer and struggle and doubt simply by being alive. In a world where despair and division reign supreme, Outlaw Christian affirms that lives lived in response to the world’s pain will be neither easy nor comfortable, but that to lean into our suffering, and the suffering of others, may in fact be one of the most humanizing and healing things we ever do. If you are tired of feeling ashamed to grieve, despair, and doubt, if you are longing for solidarity and understanding of neighbor and self, if you are sick and tired of people telling you that there is only one way to live out faith, hope, and love, this book is for you. Open your mind. Open your heart. Become an Outlaw.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Vik Arch

    Jacqueline strikes the most hardest questions the Christian believer has. With the unwritten rules of the Christianity, she disarms the lies that try to mask darkness in the lives of believers. Her outlaw Christian philosophy means finding authentic faith by breaking the “rules”. Topics like angry at God, doubting your faith, God’s plan, scare to tell real story, seven ways to find hope. Deep insights will be a life-changer, eye-opener…

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Having known Jacqueline for several years now, it is easy to say that this book is an encapsulation of who she is at her very core. It is honest, raw and beautiful. The entire book is permeated with her own infectious joy, hope and the ability she has to seek and find beauty and wonder all around her. There are so many lines throughout the book, such as this one--"Though we wish God's love were a huge hurricane crushing any force in its way, the cross reminds us that God's love is frail and loca Having known Jacqueline for several years now, it is easy to say that this book is an encapsulation of who she is at her very core. It is honest, raw and beautiful. The entire book is permeated with her own infectious joy, hope and the ability she has to seek and find beauty and wonder all around her. There are so many lines throughout the book, such as this one--"Though we wish God's love were a huge hurricane crushing any force in its way, the cross reminds us that God's love is frail and local like a flower's breath."-- which cut deep into your heart, poignant and gentle all at once. Others find their way into your own story, wrapping them up in a warm, communally human hug. For those who have had the pleasure of knowing Jacqueline, this book is like a long, warm, sunshine-filled afternoon coffee date with her. I heard her voice and her laughter, could easily picture the way her face gets serious and fierce when she "gets real" and talks about vocation and justice, and felt Jacqueline's hugs with every page. Finishing the book was like saying "goodbye, and see you later" which always seems to come too soon when spending time with her. For those in church leadership, this is the book which explicitly states what you have always known and felt implicitly is wrong with Christianity, and this book is the permission to fully claim these downfalls and then work together to change them. The Holy Spirit is alive and well in these pages, and, boy, is she wild. For church-goers, this book is freedom to break free of what binds you about Christianity and the church. This book is the breath of relief that will help you give birth to a deeper love for your faith and your world. For all of our non-Christian friends, this book is a love letter of hope for what Christianity might be the world-over one day. Hope with us.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Susan Barton

    I found out a long time ago that it’s easy to remain a loyal and “devout” Christian as long as things don’t get personal. In times of pain and suffering, it’s easy to begin questioning God’s love and faithfulness. I’ve been there. After suffering through some deeply painful and trying times, I had these questions and more. Hearing that it was “God’s Will” was hollow, empty and downright cruel. Yet, was I ready to turn my back on God and declare myself an atheist from that point forward? No. This I found out a long time ago that it’s easy to remain a loyal and “devout” Christian as long as things don’t get personal. In times of pain and suffering, it’s easy to begin questioning God’s love and faithfulness. I’ve been there. After suffering through some deeply painful and trying times, I had these questions and more. Hearing that it was “God’s Will” was hollow, empty and downright cruel. Yet, was I ready to turn my back on God and declare myself an atheist from that point forward? No. This is a book for people who struggle to maintain their Christian faith, yet need permission to question God’s ever changing plans for us. I guess this book is geared towards a “different” kind of Christian than I. I’ve already given myself permission to question why God would allow his children to experience pain and suffering, and I don’t feel like any less of a Christian doing it – and I don’t feel like an “outlaw”. There’s plenty of Biblical scripture, detailing pain and suffering. There are many passages describing anger and frustration at God. I’m not sure how Outlaw Christian is teaching something significantly different. The author is certainly a gifted writer. I can see her writing emotionally moving sermons and lectures. I’ve read the reviews from her followers. Yet, I found this book to be overly wordy and somewhat tedious. I think it was because I was expecting to find “something more” in its pages. Perhaps it will appeal more to readers who are still feeling bad about questioning God and need someone to tell them it’s okay to do so. It just wasn’t for me. http://ebookreviewgal.com received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Solveig1977

    I am so thankful that I had time to devote myself to Outlaw Christian. I ended up going from coffeehouse to coffeehouse over a couple of days, feeling restless in between some chapters and trying to figure out how to process it all. I really couldn't stop reading it as I got further and further along. It weaves together some amazing stories, from famous authors and Dr. Bussie’s students and friends and family and the Bible, and does it brilliantly. This book has given me tools for being more sen I am so thankful that I had time to devote myself to Outlaw Christian. I ended up going from coffeehouse to coffeehouse over a couple of days, feeling restless in between some chapters and trying to figure out how to process it all. I really couldn't stop reading it as I got further and further along. It weaves together some amazing stories, from famous authors and Dr. Bussie’s students and friends and family and the Bible, and does it brilliantly. This book has given me tools for being more sensitive to friends and their suffering (oddly, a friend suffered a loss just as I was reading the sections about grief, and I felt like those insights were delivered just as I needed them). It has also made me think more about my relationship with family and friends, and how to be more honest and supportive—in ways that I had never really thought about. To me, the book became less and less about pure devotion to God and religion as it went, and more about being a full human being, with God as a part of it—message was delivered in a really accessible way. While part of the theme of this book is about community and working together and supporting each other (the non-individual), Dr. Bussie’s personal details that are woven through the book reveal her own, inspiring, inner strength. Highly recommend, to both devout Christians and those feeling less certain.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Darcie

    The last chapter is inspiring and just what I needed to read!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    Outlaw Christian gives us a perspective of Christianity that returns to the ideals of authenticity, radical compassion, and creative action. Using academic textual examples as well as sincere storytelling, Jacqueline Bussie calls for a community of solidarity and honesty for Christians and people of all faiths and non-faiths alike. By shining a light on the crosses of suffering and shame we all bear, we can work to “compost our pain” and begin to “cultivate joy.” The lessons she teaches in this Outlaw Christian gives us a perspective of Christianity that returns to the ideals of authenticity, radical compassion, and creative action. Using academic textual examples as well as sincere storytelling, Jacqueline Bussie calls for a community of solidarity and honesty for Christians and people of all faiths and non-faiths alike. By shining a light on the crosses of suffering and shame we all bear, we can work to “compost our pain” and begin to “cultivate joy.” The lessons she teaches in this book apply to anyone who has ever felt despair in the face of the evil in this world. Jacqueline Bussie personifies the wounded healer. She inspires her readers to reject the status quo of helplessness and to live a theology of hope. I bought this book for my friends and family, and highly recommend it to anyone in search of joy and a compassionate and thoughtful life.

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