cover image Outlaw Christian: Finding Authentic Faith by Breaking the 'Rules'

Outlaw Christian: Finding Authentic Faith by Breaking the 'Rules'

Jacqueline Bussie . Thomas Nelson, $16.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-0-7180-7664-1

Bussie, professor of religion at Concordia College, inveighs against the "cocky cliches," faith lies ("it's God's plan"), and platitudes that inform so many Christians' thoughtlessness. She spins Reynolds Price's term "outlaw Christian" into a solid exhortation to live outside the sphere of hackneyed holiness. "The faith of an outlaw Christian is bold, outspoken, and active in a world of pain," she begins. Bussie advocates being honest, expressing anger to God, lamenting, telling authentic sacred stories, and always questioning--in the good company of the psalmist, Mother Theresa, and Jesus. She grounds her excellent exegeses of Job and Thomas in a scholar's study and provides a scofflaw's authentic insights. At the end, she piles on stories of hope to countermand lies such as "nothing ever changes." She includes stories of her beloved students and family, quotes understanding theologians (Luther, Buechner, and Soelle), and recommends books and movies. Bussie writes with poetry, pathos, and pepper as she cheerleads for breaking "faith-laws." (Apr.)