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It s been a little while since I ve read anything by Doug Pagitt I m glad this is the book I picked up to refresh my reader s relationship with an author I ve been flipping many of the stories of my youth from the Bible these past few years by reading them through a different lens So to see this book talk about that and put a framework around that was lovely Finding common ground after years of feeling trapped brings freedom In particular the flipping..reframingof the story of Abraham sacrificing Issac was lovely That story has been one of my most hated stories and has never aligned with my picture of God Pagitt s explanation and thoughtfulness bringing that new thought forward made me nearly weep with relief God IS in that story but just not in the way that the church has taught it for so long Having confirmation that the transactional nature of the relationship of Christians to God is false and not the blessing it is sold as, is a reminder that I can trust my own Spirit to be inline with the Spirit of God God is in meand importantly I am IN God In God I live, and move, and have my being. What encouraged me about Doug Pagitt was page 62 The message of Jesus is that God connects directly with humanity Jesus brought together God and humanity I have huge reservations and questions about the belief that we as humans are divine or parts taken from the divine pages 121, 156, 167 If we possess divinity inherently, why would Jesus need to pay for our sins Why didn t we save ourselves I firmly believe human beings can allow divinity inside their lives through the Holy Spirit Human nature is in itself other when compared with God Certain sections of this book do not always make this clear, but it is a complex truth being discussed Creator and creation connection, oneness with the God of the universe in His omnipotence and our fallibility I did enjoy many of his stories, particularly the ones where the people he knows understand spiritual truths because of human physical impairment like disability Evangelicals who don t believe the theory of evolution has part in God s creation story may not consider this a valuable work. Flipped is a book about seeing the message of the Bible through a different lens Or to use the author s word, taking what we believe to be true about scripture and doing a flip In this book, Doug Pagitt take the reader through a number of instances in which Christ flipped the conventional understanding of the time and revealed the real meaning behind his message On one hand, Pagitt is correctly identifying how Christ entered the world in order to correct things which had become disordered from God s purposes The problem however is that he fails to see that when Christ flipped the conventional understanding of how we relate to God, there is no longer a need for him or anyone else for that matter to come along and flip it back over That appears to be what Pagitt has done in many instances in his book.One of my immediate concerns when I began to read the book is the language used to describe God s ontological existence Throughout the book, Pagitt centers his anecdotes around Paul s words in Acts 17 28 For in him we live and move and have our being.This was a flipping point for Pagitt and he spends a great deal of time demonstrating how we are in God The problem is that he never quite defines what he means when he says that we are in God Paul clearly teaches us that if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation But is this what Pagitt means Is he speaking about what the reformers referred to as union with Christ It doesn t appear so Rather, it appears that Pagitt is making an ontological statement about God On page 40, Pagitt says,When I talk about all of creation being In God, I m not just using a turn of phrase, As we have noted, the choice of preposition sends a specific meaning Paul stated that In God we live, move, and exist He did not say with god or at a distance from god The preposition in is a profoundly meaningful word And flipping the order of words from God is in all to All is in God is than a semantic move It offers us a clearer, honest, biblical understanding of who god is and who we are In God.The affirmation of both a God is in all and b All is in God is the classic formulation of Panentheism process theology Pagitt s earlier rejection of God not being wholly other than his creation also serves to demonstrate that Pagitt is on the fast track to Process Theology and rejecting the classic formulation of God being outside of his creation Another clue to his Panentheistic Process beliefs is his consistent capitalization of the word In when speaking of being in God Clearly he has something greater in mind when speaking of being in God something which, like Whitehead, Cobb, and Hartshorne, believes that our being in God itself is divine.To his credit, Pagitt does a good job dispelling the popular notion that we relate to god on a transactional basis That is, in an If then relationship with god If I am Good Then God will be pleased with me Unfortunately he takes it too far On page 46, Pagitt pits the priests and prophets of the Old Testament against one another by saying that the priesthood operated in a transaction If Then system based on ceremonial laws and requirements The prophets by contrast operated on a relational system by calling for an end to the ceremonial requirements What Pagitt clearly misses is that scripture is not giving two parallel and opposing views, but that the law and prophets work together to show how Christ is the fulfilment of the law The law and gospel therefore are not opposed to one another but the prophets foretold of the time when the requirements of the law would be fulfilled in Christ Pagitt misses this over and over again in his favorite example of a flip that is, when Christ declares you have heard it said but I say Pagitt conveniently leaves out what Christ says after each of the you have heard it said statements because Christ did not flip the transactional requirement on its head he dove deeper into them you have heard it said, you shall not commit adultery, But I say to you that everyone who looks at a women with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.Christ does not do away with the requirement, he digs deeper into it Why To show that it is impossible to keep the law and we have faith in him as the fulfillment of the law in order to be declared a law keeper This is the testimony of the prophets working in harmony with the law requirements to show that Christ fulfills both.Flipped is full of theological problem after theological problem I ll only mention two here On page 53, Pagitt declares that we do not have the need for a mediator an adapter in his vocabulary because we already live and move and have our being in God The good news that we hear from Paul is that we live, move, and exist In God We can live without a religious adapter The illustration of the adapter is one that Pagitt uses to describe our being able to commune with God as an electronic device communicates with another device An adapter is needed because the two devices are different from one another Pagitt misses the clear teaching of scripture that in becoming man, Christ became that adapter for us He is both God and man and in him we have a mediator allowing us to commune with God.Lastly although I could go on Pagitt makes a mess of the redemption story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac Pagitt won t let himself believe in a God who asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son and so he flips the story on it s head Instead of a beautiful picture of god sending his own son as a substitute, Pagitt reasons that God Yahweh did not ask Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, but instead it was the gods elohim plural for god in Hebrew of the Canaanite religion he left behind in Ur His reasoning makes enough sense linguistically Elohim is a word used to describe than one god and is often used of false Gods Pagitt reasons since the word changed from Yahweh the one true God to Elohim that it was the voice of satanic gods who convinced Abraham to sacrifice Isaac Again, to give him credit, this works linguistically Elohim is used for the true God of Israel and of false gods The problem is that after God spares Isaac, we have the following account And the angel of the LORD Yahweh called to Abraham a second time and said By myself I have sworn says the LORD Yahweh , because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you.The context gives light to the uncertain use of Elohim in this event and makes it clear that it was Yahweh who both asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son and rewarded him for being willing to do so.The problems with Flipped are too many to recount here The thing is, I believe that Pagitt has some legitimate complaints against how Christianity is lived out He has identified some real problems within Christian living However, his solution of flipping everything is a faulty solution and ends up creating problems than it addresses Disclosure of Material Connection I received this book free from Convergent Books , an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, in exchange for a review 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. Don t miss this one Pagitt has the interesting writing style, fresh Bible interpretations, and anecdotal stories to keep you turning pages while he presents his Progressive Christian outlook He even throws in a little Einstein as he explains what it means to be the light of the world.Flipped is about turning everything over and seeing it fresh Your concept of God will be turned on its head Here s a clue Pagitt s favorite phrase may come from the book of Acts In God we live, move, and exist Pagitt wants to free us from what he calls an If Then service, or a Transaction System, in which we bargain with God If we do this, then God will do that If we believe this, God will provide that If we can discard the idea of conditional existence in God, then we become free to just be To live in the moment, to become part of the whole, to see every human being as existing in God I really enjoyed this book.Convergent Books, 2015, 212 pagesISBN 978 1 60142 637 6 Flipped was our latest Tuesday morning book study and follows quite a few other books we have read regarding ways that a number of contemporary Christian theologians are looking at the teachings of the New Testament that bring what they feel is a accurate version of what Jesus taught, and that they feel have been distorted through the years A vast simplification of Pagitt s theme in the book is his own major flip from what he calls transactional religion believing that those who follow Jesus s teaching will be rewarded and that those who don t will be punished, to an acceptance that we, and all others, are accepted and loved by God He introduces many of his flips with times Jesus initiated a point with You have heard that it is said that , but I say onto you Paggit states as his one reliable guide in interpreting the flips is that Love is never the wrong way While this sounds pretty straight forward, the implications of his points change what many worshipers and that includes Christians and also those of other religious faiths have grown up believing, and the accompanying self righteous feeling that they we have the truth and are in the in group while others are lost and need to either be saved or rejected Actually my observation what many religious wars are based on At the time Doug Pagitt wrote this book, he was serving as one of the pastors of a relatively new church called Solomon s Porch in Minneapolis, MN He refers occasionally to Solomon s Porch and he may have been one of the founders, but is not listed as one of its current pastors From what I ve been able to learn, it is a very different type of worship service and life guide After tossing these kind of ideas around for the past couple of years, We have now chosen as our next book, one that will be focusing on how some people are living a life based on love and acceptance as exemplified by Bryan Stevenson in his memoir Just Mercy. Great read surrounding a very thought provoking, convicting idea. I chose this book because it basically lies outside of genres that I would normally gravitate to While I can t say that I hated the book, I can say that I disagreed fundamentally with mostly everything that Doug Pagitt had to say There are a couple of main problems I have with this book 1 I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent person, but there were times during my reading where I was left pondering, Uh What I just didn t get some of the points that Pagitt was trying to make.2 This man stated that he was a pastor Maybe it s not very open minded of me, but I feel that this pastor has missed the main point of the Gospel and what Jesus was trying to say.I understand that Pagitt s point is to flip the traditional thinking of God and religion, and depending on your belief system this book may be wonderful or horrible to you There were some ideas that I did agree with I do feel that we should not be trying to hide or live with If Then thinking God does not want us to simply do good in the hope that he will do something good for us That s not the point Bad things still happen to good people, and it s not necessarily God punishing them for their choices Sometimes bad things happen from bad choices Sometimes bad things just happen But I do completely disagree that we should just do whatever we want where ever we want with whomever we want We SHOULD be trying to live Godly lives based on Jesus example, knowing that we will NOT ever be perfect because we re human We WILL make mistakes, and that s why we have a God who offers forgiveness when we mess up While Pagitt didn t directly say anything like this, if we are ALL in God, does that mean it s okay to murder others, or live a life of addiction, or abuse your spouse or children It just makes me question his point Shouldn t those people be ashamed of their actions Shouldn t they want to repent Overall, I felt that Pagitt wrote well, but I just can t get on board with this flip. To flip is to convert Doug Pagitt is a thoughtful and generous spirit who experienced a theological conversion a few years back, and that set in motion another series of conversionary moments, what he terms flips That theological conversion is to what theologians would call panentheism, though Doug never names it For on a panentheistic or process vision check out Bruce Epperly What Doug came to understand is that rather than God being in us, we are in God This changes the dynamics of life, for all of life is taken up in God.Thus, the God he encountered is not one who is in the judgment business, but the love business Christian faith is relational not transactional if you do this, I ll do that This is a good starting point for exploring the question of what living in God might look like It is written for the inquirer, the person who is new to faith or considering faith The fact that the numbers of those outside the religious sphere of influence is growing fast, Doug has a ready audience It is written in a breezy, often auto biographical style Doug is, after all, a good story teller.If you find Doug intriguing, then maybe try out Bruce s smaller introduction to process theology. President Obama promised to fundamentally transform the United States of America He has inflipped many respects delivered on that promise with the unveiling of the Affordable Health Care Act and a host of executive orders that are, in the final analysis, out of step with American values But give credit where credit is due The transformation the president promised has taken place Now, Americans wait for the painful consequences to set in.In Doug Pagitt s latest book, Flipped, the author sets out to fundamentally transform the classic view of God This transformation is creative and innovative It is intuitive and will attract the attention of many readers.Pagitt sets forth three goals at the beginning of the book To see that changing your mind, drawing new conclusions, and engaging new ideas all lie at the heart of Jesus s message and life.To behold the big, beautiful story of God as you find new ways to live in it.To invite readers to a full and vibrant life in God.The basic idea that runs through this book is what the author refers to as a flip which is nothing short of revising one s views about God, Scripture, and the Christian life in general Pagitt adds, The Flip at the center of this book is one that turned me around as a pastor and a Christian writer as well as my personal life and faith The Flip That FloppedSeveral flips are addressed in this work But the one that keeps surfacing concerns a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of God At the heart of this book is a commitment to panentheism This worldview, also known as process theology is a radical departure from the traditional understanding of God, yet is receiving a hearing in the emergent church and some liberal churches One might consider such a view a halfway house between theism and pantheism But make no mistake panentheism is outside the scope of historical orthodoxy.All is in God To be fair, the author never uses the word, panentheism Yet this panentheistic theme runs throughout the book Pagitt argues, God is not a separate single subject If God were not a separate being from all things in the cosmos, then we need not simply say God exists We can say that God is existence All is in God Such language is the classic lingo of panentheism.My initial impression Surely this is a typo The author can t possibly mean what he is saying But as I continued to read, my suspicions were confirmed All that exists is In God, writes Pagitt He tries to justify this flip by appealing to the rationale from Acts 17 28 where Paul quotes Epimenides of Crete In him we live and move and have our being In addition to promoting panentheism, the author posits the notion of universalism Beyond that, the power of God that was alive in Jesus is alive in us In short, the fullness of God is active in humanity without assistance from any religious system He continues, Instead, we can recognize that all people live and exist In God EvaluationFlipped is a radical departure from the biblical understanding of God The notion that all people exist In God simply fails to match the biblical data Much to the contrary, we find a distinction between the Creator and the creature Whenever one denies such a distinction he makes a dangerous theological move with several critical implications What are the implications of denying the Creator creature distinction Misreads and misinterprets Scripture Compromises God s character Compromises biblical authority Minimizes the transcendence of God and emphasis the immanence of God in biblically inappropriate ways.Readers should recall how God is truly presented in Scripture He is never presented in a panentheistic scheme ever Rather, he is presented as the absolute personal God This absolute God is transcendent that is to say, he is over and above the scope of the universe He is distinct and independent of his creation Isa 57 15 Isa 40 10 He is preeminent Isa 40 25 28 44 6 8 Jonathan Edwards adds, His power is infinite, and none can resist him His riches are immense and inexhaustible His majesty is infinitely awful And God carries supreme authority over all Nothing rivals the supreme authority of God Job 41 10 37 9 14.The Triune God holds all things together In a few words, St Paul demonstrates both the transcendence and the imminence of God For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities all things were created through him and for him And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together Col 1 16 17, ESV God is sovereign Dan 4 34 35 Nothing can thwart his sovereign decrees He is distinct from the created order Acts 17 24 29 And the Bible tells us that God is wholly other Isa 46 9 This is a far cry from people who exist In God God is not only absolute he is personal He cares for his creation He is intimately involved with his creation and he delights to meet the needs of his creatures.God is the Sustainer Col 1 17 Heb 1 3 He is the Healer 2 Chron 7 14 He is the Protector 2 Sam 22 2 He is the Shepherd Ps 23 1 6 He is the Forgiver Rom 5 1 And Scripture demonstrates the ultimate love that God expressed on the Cross when Jesus died for sinners Rom 5 8.Flipped will likely attract many readers especially readers who are committed to theological liberalism The author seeks to fundamentally transform the vision of God by convincing readers that All that exists is In God The only problem The view presented here is dead wrong.A.W Tozer understood the importance of getting God right He rightly noted in his best selling book, The Knowledge of God The gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most awe inspiring fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his heart conceives God to be like So necessary to the Church is a lofty concept of God that when that concept in any measure declines, the Church with her worship and her moral standards decline along with it The first step down for any church is taken when it surrenders its high opinion of God.May followers of Christ heed Tozer s advice We certainly do not need to flip our views of God Any deviation from the biblical vision of God will have tragic consequences in the church and the culture in which she seeks to minister Any flip will become a flop that ignores the clear teaching of Scripture.I received this book free from the publisher I was not required to write a positive review. `DOWNLOAD KINDLE ☙ Flipped ☞ We All Have Stories In Our Heads About God, Humanity, Life, And The Meaning Of It All One Of The Most Common And Misleading Stories Is If I M Faithful In Doing This, Then God Promises To Do That Jesus Didn T Believe It And Neither Should You God Does Not Insist That You Play By The Rules Before He Will Respond To You A Careful Reading Of The Bible Will Free All Of Us From Trying To Make A Deal With God, Inviting Us Instead To Live In God How Would Your Life Change If You Flipped Your Understanding Of God Doug Pagitt Takes A New Look At Provocative Statements Made By Jesus, Paul, And The Prophets Jesus Turned The Tables On Religious Assumptions Every Time He Began With You Have Heard It Said, But I Say To You Paul Quoted A Pagan Poet When He Revealed The Truth That We Live, Move, And Have Our Being In God Come Along On A Journey Of Discovery And Change, Leading To A Flip In Your View Of Where God Is And Where We Are In Relation To God Set Aside The Rules Of Religion And Know The Freedom Of Living In God