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Desire Found Me (book review)

I received a complimentary copy Andre Rabe’s book Desire Found Me as a participant in Mike Morrell’s “Speakeasy” blogging network. This blog post contains a review of this book. The opinions stated in this review are my own. I am not required to offer a positive review of any publication as a part of this blogging network. This information is being disclosed in accordance with regulations from the Federal Trade Commission (16 CFR, Part 255).

 

 

As a teenager, I was briefly involved in a charismatic stream of Christian worship and practice. Honestly, my reasons had less to do with theology and more to do with my interest in the cute red-headed daughter of the Assembly of God pastor where I would attend worship.

 

Most of my life I have gravitated toward styles of worship which are a tad more formal and cerebral. I am most comfortable with higher form of liturgy and an emphasis on ritual. My theological education fed this style. Frankly, I have spent most of my life looking down on charismatic religious practices which I believe focus too heavily on an emotional experience over and often against any thoughtful theological foundation.

 

Becoming acquainted with Andre Rabe via social ministry, reading his writings, and becoming associated with several who know and respect him, I have developed a better respect for many in abide within some strands of charismatic thought. While my experience with many charismatic Christians still lends me to believe that thoughtful theological discussion is missing within the larger portion of charismatic practice, Andre is an exception and I pray that his influence within these movements will expand and flourish. Desire Found Me could become a strong corrective resource in charismatic religious streams of thought.

 

One of the things that originally drew me to Andre’s writing (and which prompted my desire to accept his new book for review in the Speakeasy blogging network) is Andre passion for Trinitarian theology. Additionally, Andre has been an advocate for integrating the thoughts of René Girard’s mimetic theory within Christian theology. While not a novice to Trinitarian theology, I have only recently become acquainted with in Girard’s mimetic theory. This book has aided my developing knowledge of mimetic theory.

 

René Girard is a historian, literary critic, and social scientist (specifically in the field of anthropology).  As a genetic definition for neophyte such as myself, the term mimetic comes from the Greek term “mimesis.”  It means to imitate and references the varied ways human beings influence each another.

My best understanding of Girard’s theory at this point is that human behavior is basically driven by desire. (Andre speaks of “movements of desire – how they form us, connect us, shape our greatest ideas, mold our societies, influence human history and ultimately, how they are unveiled” – from the book jacket).

 

The problem with desire, however, is that it has become corrupted, damaged, broken, or distorted. That’s a pretty good mimetic definition of human sin, and one that fits well within the larger stream of Christian thought. This corruption of desire eventually leads to feelings of alienation and enmity which results often in expressions of conflict and violence.

 

In the examination of religion, Girard and his students focus much attention on the aspect of violence in the sacrificial systems. Girard and those who work theologically with mimetic theory understand the Bible (particularly gospels and the New Testament) to be a revelation of human violence and the Divine’s offering of a different way.

 

The history of theology is filled with efforts to take varied human constructs and making them a framework for better understanding of the nature of God and ways and means of atonement. For example, Calvinistic thought, imposes a legalistic framework on theology, which results in an affirmation of violence as a means for appeasing an angry God (see the doctrine of Penal Substitutionary Atonement). It is refreshing to read the groundswell of books like Andre’s (be they familiar mimetic theory or not) which offer alternatives to the ideas of sacred violence, rather than an affirmation of such violence. (Steve’s McVey’s Beyond an Angry God, Brad Jersak’s recently release A More Christlike God, several books by Baxter Kruger, and the fictional yet insightful book The Shack, by William Paul Young, come most readily to my mind.)

 

Desire Found Me  is divided into three section. The first part, titled “Reflective Human Nature”, explains the character of human desire. As a novice with mimetic theory, these chapters were a useful primer. Those interested in exploring the basics of Girardian thought will find the chapters in this section a worthwhile read.

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The next section titled, “Developing Stories”, explores human culture from its earliest origins up till the time of Jesus. Andre’s scholarship in the areas of theology and history are readily on display in this section, though he writes without the technical jargon that is often evident in such explorations. Andre pays special attention, as youm might expects, to the Hebrew Bible and how desire and sacrifice shapes the story of Judaism, giving framework to the religious thought at the time of Jesus advent.

 

The third section titled “Redefined” speaks of the meaning of Jesus (life, ministry, death, resurrection) in the light of the previous two sections exploration of the mimetic exploration of desire. This section deals largely with the theory of atonement from a mimetic theory perspective.

 

Despite some heady concepts, Desire Found Me is a book for the theological and anthropological novice. Andre’s writing style is very accessible and on many occasions beautiful and inspiring. But don’t be fooled into thinking it is merely a devotional read. Serious students of Trinitarian theology, experts and beginners to Girard’s mimetic theory, and all those interested in exploring ideas related to atonement that are not heavily dependent on Calvin’s legalistic framework, will find this important reading material.

 

To learn more about Andre and Girard’s mimetic theory, please use the following links:

alwaysloved.net – Andre’s site
Desire Found Me – book site
Andre on Twitter
Andre on Facebook
Andre on Youtube
Andre on Google+

About Andre Rabe

Andre Rabe, along with his wife, Mary-Anne, are acclaimed speakers, authors, musicians, and missionaries, having lived and served in some of the most obscure corners of the earth as well as in some of the most well known cities. In 2010, with their kids all grown up, Andre and Mary-Anne packed everything they had in two suitcases and took to the road, knowing only that they had a message that made life worth living for them and everyone who understood it. Whether it’s a small group or a large church, whether it’s an academic audience or a charismatic party – to inspire love remains equally relevant.

They have published five books and two music albums that reflect the unique focus of this message. Their online course ‘Word Made Flesh’ has been translated into a number of languages and used in many churches and small groups.

 

Desire Found Me
by: Andre Rabe
publisher: Andre Rabe Publishing, published: 2014-12-27
ASIN: 0993155405
EAN: 9780993155406
sales rank: 271390
price: $21.97 (new), $18.00 (used)

Exploring the unconscious movements of desire – how they form us, connect us, shape our greatest ideas, mold our societies, influence human history and ultimately, how they are unveiled.

A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel
by: Bradley Jersak
publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, published: 2015-04-21
ASIN: 1508528373
EAN: 9781508528371
sales rank: 15380
price: $14.00 (new), $20.25 (used)

What is God like? Toxic images abound: God the punishing judge, the deadbeat dad, the genie in a bottle–false gods that need to be challenged. But what if, instead, God truly is completely Christlike? What if His love is more generous, his Cross more powerful, and his gospel more beautiful than we’ve dared to imagine? What if our clearest image of God is the self-giving, radically forgiving, co-suffering Love revealed on the Cross? What if we had ‘A More Christlike God’?

Beyond an Angry God: You Can’t Imagine How Much He Loves You
by: Steve McVey
publisher: Harvest House Publishers, published: 2014-08-01
ASIN: 0736959823
EAN: 9780736959827
sales rank: 113309
price: $5.41 (new), $4.77 (used)

How would your life change if you really believed and could even feel that God is absolutely crazy about you?

Steve McVey’s penetrating new look at the transforming power of God’s grace leads you to that change. Steve unpacks the biblical revelation of the Trinity as a loving relationship, and he highlights the goal of history: God intends to include us in that circle of love! Steve answers troubling questions that can keep you from fully sensing God’s love, acceptance, and forgiveness, such as…

  • Why does God look like a bad cop in the Old Testament and a good cop in the New Testament?
  • At Calvary, was the Father angry at the Son? Is He ever angry with me?
  • Why do I sometimes feel separated from God, abandoned, guilty, and ashamed?

Theologians have described the Trinity as perichoresis–a dance. Are you ready to be swept into the Father’s embrace?

 

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