If God Wrote Your Biography

Posted on 04/19/2011

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If God wrote your biography, how would it read?

Based on reader comments over the past year, the chapter that answers this question is among the most popular in the book, Jesus Manifesto.

Click here to download and read it

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On another note, here are some early reviews for REVISE US AGAIN

Oh, and I’m really excited about what’s coming on the blog soon. It has do with the changing face of evangelicalism and the future of the body of Christ. So stay tuned.

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“From the publisher of “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan comes a new book by bestselling author Frank Viola. In “Revise Us Again,” Viola offers a deep and profound look at revising the Christian life in line with the script given by Jesus. Viola writes with captivating candor and infectious wit as he discusses the need for “rescripting” our spiritual lives. Serious Christians will find this compelling new book to be an eye-opener on many levels. It covers such things as the Christianeze of “Let me pray about it” and “The Lord told me,” to the deeper meaning of suffering and the “dark night” in the Christian journey, to the different conversational styles that explain why Christians often disagree on theological issues. Viola delivers a powerful portrait of “the three gospels” comparing legalism, libertinism, with lordship and liberty and explores something he calls “being captured by the same spirit you oppose.” “Revise Us Again” is a unique and profound contribution to the genre of books like “Radical” and “Crazy Love” which challenge Christians in light of biblical teaching.”

Christian Book Reviews

“Perhaps you know Frank Viola as a prophetic voice lifting up Jesus Christ and God’s eternal purpose; perhaps you know him for his iconoclastic writings on church reform. Maybe you’re encountering his work for the first time. In any case, you’re in for a compelling treat with Revise Us Again. In ten easy-to-read chapters, Frank gently—but directly—invites us to revise our long-held ‘scripted’ assumptions about how God communicates to us, how Christians speak to one another, the work of the Holy Spirit in our midst today, and the content of the good news we proclaim to our friends and neighbors. The result is vintage Viola—a sacred-cow barbecue with little aftertaste. Highly recommended!”

Mike Morrell, journalist and futurist

“I loved this book. I wish I would have written it myself. From the introduction to the concluding remarks, there was a spirit of grace that invited me to reexamine some of my own ideas about the Christian life. While Revise Us Again is an easy read, its message is profound! Please give yourself permission to ask some hard questions. I highly recommend Frank’s new book.”

S. J. Hill, Bible teacher, speaker, and author of Enjoying God

“I like short books.  They’re usually written from pure motives. Frank Viola’s Revise Us Again is not only short, but full of humor and wisdom–a plea (with directions!) for sanity in the storm of flesh-corrupted chaos that is called “Christianity” in the 21st century.”

Don Francisco, songwriter and recording artist

Revise Us Again is a very timely book. I have felt that the Christian community has needed such a work for quite some time now. Each chapter is chock full of skillfully written material that is spot on for this generation. We desperately need a major “revision” of our thinking and our speaking, and this book is right on target in placing the spotlight where it is needed: our unscriptural and unspiritual perceptions about Christ and His Church. This work will greatly help in the process of religious “detoxing” that needs to take place in western Christianity.”

Milt Rodriguez, author of The Community Life of God

“This is a singularly refreshing book. Frank tackles some very thorny issues – like how Christians use the phrase “God told me to …” – with remarkable candor and wisdom. In the process he corrects the traditional script we have inherited and opens the door for us to express the freedom we have in Christ in a much fuller way. In a vital sense this book is about fleshing out our unity in Christ. How do we deal with doctrinal differences? How can we communicate better with one another? How can we discern what is central and peripheral in our relationships with one another? Most of all, this book throbs with Christ at the center of everything – especially in our life with other Christians.”

Jon Zens, author of A Church Building Every ½ Mile

“Frank masterfully describes the process of success for our future as Christ followers, and God is writing us a prescription in this book. His prescript for us is to de-script us from religious mindsets and activities that do not profit us or others, and re-script us into His heart, His ways, and His likeness. Frank takes us to the core issues of the heart and of our lives in Christ. Take the prescription by reading this book, and you will go forward in a mindset that is healthy and whole for your journey ahead.”

Robert Ricciardelli, founder of Converging Zone Network and Visionary Advancement Strategies 

Taking a break from a heavier theological work, I picked up Frank Viola’s most recent book, Revise Us Again: Living from a Renewed Christian Script.

It was like turning aside from the steak to the potatoes and gravy.

Revise Us Again is a relatively light and quick read: ten chapters, just over 160 pages, smaller hardback – but no pictures (darn!). I was actually just intending to sample, but Viola drew me into his musings about various aspect of the “Christian script” we in our Christian culture tend to work from. His observations range from what was for me more humorous poking at ourselves to some very helpful thoughts on deeper levels.

An example of the former is our common tendency to answer queries for help from others with the “I’ll have to pray about that” response. In case you were wondering, that always means “no” (just as when parents say to their kids “I’ll have to think about that”). At least that’s Viola’s experience without fail. Not only do we not take responsibility for a yes or no answer, we put it “on the Lord” and then dismiss the person and then (again, according to Viola) never get back to them with a final answer even if we said we would. Reading this chapter I realized that I had just done this myself within the past month.

Thanks, Frank.

Among the “meatier” (for me) observations and musings was one concerning Christians’ “spiritual conversation styles” (SCS). Viola outlines three SCS Christians frequently employ that essentially amount to different languages, each style connecting with the form of divine revelation most valued by the user/speaker. There’s the “quoter SCS” that is immersed in the written word. “God says it, that settles it, so I believe it – so what’s your problem?” Text and proof-texts abound – just quoting the text should be enough – no need for discussion, right, it’s right there in black and white! I’m personally very familiar with this SCS – and with what happens when you match up a “quoter” with a “charismatic SCS.” The “charismatic” uses phrases like “the Lord told me” and tends to regard the “quoter” as a bit legalistic and out of touch with what God is currently saying or doing. The “quoter,” of course, thinks the “charismatic” simply has no real respect for God and his Word (otherwise he would certainly listen to his texts!). And watching the whole exchange is the “pragmatic” who has her own “SCS” as she looks at the bigger picture and marvels at how both “quoter” and “charismatic” just don’t seem to get it.

Watching Viola unfold his thoughts about these “conversation styles” and his emphasis on the importance of the body of Christ embracing and recognizing all three of them was a wonderful “connect-the-dots” moment for me. How easy it is to talk right past each other and then to write you off  because you obviously aren’t getting it. And how this is compounded by our impersonal emailing, facebooking and blogging ways.

I found myself wishing for more chapters by the time I finished – but Viola had accomplished his purpose: he has me looking again with fresh eyes at my own “script” and asking just where it might need to be revised – for only the script of fools never needs changing.

Take and read.

Mike Freeman, blogger The Book Cellar

Related: Living by the Tree of Life

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