Book Review - Celtic Treasures

CelticTreasureSometimes in life we "stumble" across amazing things -- people, places, facts, and well as books!  And that's exactly what happened to me recently when, thanks to a Facebook connection, I met Liz Babbs - speaker, author, poet, and spiritual director.  Liz's newest book, Celtic Treasure: Unearthing the Riches of Celtic Spirituality, has just been released in the U.S.  Here's the quick review I posted about the book at

Author Liz Babbs' new book, Celtic Treasure, is a strikingly beautiful introduction to the history and riches of ancient Celtic Christianity. Printed on marvelous coated stock, it is a delightful experience to even thumb through this little gift book. Despite it's smaller size and low price, Celtic Treasure is not only packed with a brief historical overview of Celtic Christian spirituality and how unique it is in contrast to most the modern Western world, but it is also packed with a devotional and contemplative richness that is deep and satisfying.

It seems obvious that this is not material the author simply researched and wrote about, rather it flows from who she is personally. Babbs has long immersed herself in Celtic Christianity, and drawn on her talents as writer, poet, and spiritual director to compose this book.

Whether it is you who is interested in knowing more about the uniqueness and richness of Celtic Christian spirituality, or know people who might benefit from a beautiful and delightful introduction of the same, this little book wins hands down.

Babbs_3 Readers of Paradoxology will certainly enjoy the blog interview I'm in the process of completing with Liz and which should post here by week's end -- so don't forget to check back!  In the meantime, check out the radio interview that Facebook friend, Keltic Ken, recently completed with Liz:

Interview with Anne Graham Lotz


Keltic_Ken_b Hey. Check out an interview than friend, Keltic Ken, conducted with Anne Graham Lotz today:  click here 

The interview was prompted by Ann's new book: The Magnificent Obsession.

The_magnificent_obsession Although some of the conversation -- coming from the daughter of Billy Graham -- was strongly evangelical and a bit predictable, she had some good things to share and Ken did an excellent job handling the interview.

Book Meme

Oh goodie! I was hoping I'd get "tagged" for this, and I did -- by Bob Carlton!  So here are my answers:


1.  One book that changed your life:  The Idea of the Holy, by Rudolph Otto

2.  One book that you’ve read more than once: A Churchless Faith, by Alan Jamieson

3.  One book you’d want on a desert island: Celtic Daily Prayer, by the Northumbria Community

4.  One book that made you laugh:  On Bullshit, by Harry G. Frankfort

5.  One book that made you cry: The Trail of Tears, by Gloria Jahoda

6.  One book you wish had been written:  POMO NO-MO: Emerging Church Mistakes That Everyone Makes

7.  One book you wish had never been written: The Late Great Planet Earth, by Hal Lindsey

8.  One book you’re currently reading: Confronting the Idolatry of Family: A New Vision For The Household Of God, by Janet Fishburn

9.  One book you’ve been meaning to read:  Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination, by Walter Wink

10. One book you’d like to write: Both Are True: Embracing the Tensions of our Faith and Practice


I am also now tagging: Cory @ Bald ManBlogging, Fr. Matt @ lex aeternam, Andii @ Nouslife, Robin @ PENSIEVE, Dan @ Danno's Dangerous Mind , Anna @ deep soil, and Mike @ Emerging Pensees.

Today's Guest: Mark Galli, Author of "Jesus Mean and Wild"


Paradoxology is thrilled to have as our special guest today, Mark Galli, author of the recently released book, "Jesus Mean and Wild: The Unexpected Love of an Untamable God."  [He will be checking-in throughout the day, responding to your questions and comments]   I recently interviewed Mark about his book, which appears below:


Why in the world did you want to write a book on this topic?

I want to address two related concerns. First, the sentimentalizing of Jesus. I had heard too many sermons and teachings in which Jesus is described as “always gentle,” “always compassionate,” and so forth. I immediately thought of biblical passages in which Jesus is anything but that. One night I read through the Gospel of Mark and marked every passage where Jesus comes across as stern or intimidating. I saw that this was a regular feature of his ministry, and I wanted to understand it better.

The question that intrigued me was this: If Jesus was God’s love incarnate, how did these stern, angry, intimidating passages reflect the love of God?

Second, I wanted to address the sentimentalizing of faith. There is a temptation to believe in God’s love when things are going well, and to doubt that love when they aren’t. I wanted to remind us all that sometimes we’re driven into the wilderness of doubt, despair, emptiness, and trials by the same Spirit who drove Jesus into the wilderness. And that this same Spirit is the one who descends on us from time to time to remind us that we are beloved of the Father. Everything that happens to us is encompassed by God’s love, but that love does not always feel good.


Where in Scripture do you find Jesus at his meanest and wildest?

Certainly there is the turning of the tables in the Temple.  This included the use of a whip, which Jesus himself fashioned.  The fact that he took some time to make this whip, according to John 2, indicates that his violent behavior in the Temple was not an explosion of anger -- as if he "lost his temper" -- but a premeditated action.

The other main passage that comes to mind is Matthew 23, where Jesus in verse after verse relentlessly assaults the Pharisees, calling them snakes, hypocrites, and white-washed tombs.

But what really impressed me as I researched the book was in how many little ways Jesus was “mean and wild.” One instance is how often he spoke “sternly” to people he had just healed—“Don’t tell anyone about this!” The language used is not a request or a suggestion. It’s a stern warning.


What prevents people from seeing and appreciating Jesus as mean and wild?

For some, it upsets their idea of love. Love to them is about gentleness, kindness—the soft virtues. They have forgotten that love includes the strong virtues, like boldness, courage, and even anger.

For others, it’s a reaction against a religious upbringing that was “mean and wild”—legalistic, oppressive. Their faith came alive when they discovered how merciful Jesus was and is, and they’re having a hard time understanding how his stern side can be loving.

Others still are simply afraid. If this is part of Christ’s humanity, then it must be part of ours if we are to imitate Christ. But employing anger, boldness, sternness, and such in our lives is not easy, and it’s easy to get it wrong and make things worse. That’s why we revert to niceness as the chief Christian virtue. It seems safe (when it actually isn’t).


Continue reading "Today's Guest: Mark Galli, Author of "Jesus Mean and Wild"" »

Jesus Mean and Wild

Wild_jesus_2 Now here's a Jesus you can really sink your teeth into!  Or maybe I should say: here's a Jesus that really sinks his teeth into you!

If you've been nauseated by the plethora of books out today that repeatedly espouse a compassionate, peace-loving, merciful Savior who reminds you more of a 1960's "love child" than incarnate God -- then here's a must-read:

Jesus Mean and Wild: The Unexpected Love Of An Untamable God, by Mark Galli, has just been released, and is sure to stir up the pot over how we should understand the character and ministry of Jesus and how he relates to humanity.  Here's an excerpt from the Introduction by Eugene Peterson:

"In a free-market economy everyone is more or less free to fashion and then market whatever sells: cars, clothing, ideas, self-improvement plans, movies, books -- and Jesus.  When evangelism is retooled as recruitment, then marketing strategies for making Jesus attractive to a consumer spirituality begin to proliferate.  Words or aspects of Jesus that carry unwelcome connotations are suppressed.  We emasculate Jesus" (pp. 10-11).

Drawing primarily from the Gospel of Mark, Galli lays out a fairly thorough treatise of how the scriptures portray Jesus as anything but the "meak and mild" variety which has dominated much of popular Christian teaching.  Christianity has tragically become a "Religion of Niceness," claims Galli, where people are more concerned with happiness than holiness.

Continue reading "Jesus Mean and Wild" »

A Devotional Masterpiece


Over the last decade, this little devotional book has led me through some of the most amazing spiritual retreats and times of extended prayer that I have ever had! Organized to use in conjunction with the liturgical year, or however the Spirit leads, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants is chuck full of deep insights and profound anthologies from a wide variety of devotional sources. It also includes 12 monthly retreat models -- indispensible for those new to the practice of personal (or group) spiritual retreats. You know, it's available in an inexpensive paperback version, but believe me, you'll want to splurge for the nicer one -- it'll last a lot longer. Check it out!