Desire Found Me by Andre Rabe: A Review

I’ve been a fan of Andre Rabe’s preaching videos and his wife’s music for the last couple of years, so I was really looking forward to reading this book. It has not been the lighthearted experience I was hoping for, however. Desire Found Me is a very difficult, very deep book to read. If you can imagine reading a whole new version of Christian theology crammed into one book, this would be it.

This book will not please everyone, to say the least. If you believe in traditional theological ideas like Calvinism and faith in Jesus saving people from hell, then don’t even bother. Unless, that is, you have questions about the same old same old we have always heard and would like to get your paradigm shook a little. Frankly, I have had doubts about some of the traditional ways we explain the Bible. Some aspects of mainstream theology just don’t make much logical sense, such as the idea that God needed to vent his anger on his Son in order to be able to accept sinful human beings. Anyway, if you have doubts and want to be exposed to a kinder, more positive understanding, you might like this book.

Rabe is coming from a premise he calls “mimetic theory.” He also uses the terms “mimesis” and “mimetic realism.” I had never heard of this before, so I will try to give you my layperson’s understanding in a nutshell. I think the word “mimetic” probably comes from the same root word as “mime.” It has to do with reflecting back what we perceive from others, as in mirror neurons in the brain and empathy. Humankind began in relationship with God, made in God’s image, reflecting the nature of God. Somehow good and evil got mixed up together in the minds of the first humans and they could no longer reflect back only the goodness of God. Reflecting each other’s desires has something to do with it. Rabe explains all this but I didn’t understand it.

Rabe is also coming from the premise that the Bible is not the inerrant word of God written down and every word to be taken literally. Instead, he seems to see it as just another version of ancient myth, but with a difference. In essence, the Judaic understanding began, like all ancient religions, as a polytheistic view of “the gods” which morphed into monotheism. And like all ancient religions, there was a theme of a needed scapegoat on which all of the society’s evils could be heaped, and “sacred violence” done to make everyone feel better for a little while. In other words, “sacrificial atonement” is part of virtually all the ancient religious ideas.

To be really honest, I did not understand this book very well. If you’re really into theology and looking for explanations, give it a read. If you are more like me and enjoy reading thinkers like Brian McLaren or Rob Bell, well, this book might be a bit of a hard go. I’ve made it 80% of the way through on my Kindle, and to be honest, if I had not received a free copy for the purpose of reviewing, I would have given up a long time ago. There are nuggets of wisdom and beauty scattered throughout, though, and I’m glad I’ve made the effort.

One suggestion. If you’re going to tackle it, get a hard copy that you can write in and study properly, unless you’re really good with a Kindle.

Disclosure: I received a free copy from SpeakEasy with the understanding that I would write an honest review.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s