Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Deliver Us from Me-Ville: A Reading Plan for Lent

Last fall some 13,000 people downloaded my book Deliver Us from Me-Ville when my publisher made it available for free. I take a kind of perverse pride in that, which is ironic given that (a) I had nothing to do with it, (b) downloading a book for free is not exactly a ringing endorsement of the content and (c) the book is about the potential perversity of pride. In any case, I was glad to see that some more people were getting exposed to the book. If you were one of those 13,000+ people, thanks. If you weren't, you can still get it for cheap here. Or contact me at david dot a dot zimmerman at hotmail dot com, and I'll give you a special deal on a hard copy.

If you're like me, though, an impulsively downloaded book can sit on your virtual bookshelf for months, even years, unread. That's a shame, since books are literally meant to be read. Fortunately, Lent is upon us, and as some friends of mine have demonstrated, Deliver Us from Me-Ville makes for good Lenten reading. So here's the invitation: follow the reading plan below (prepared by my friend Fred Nelson, pastor of Redeemer Lutheran in Park Ridge, Illinois), and hit me with whatever questions or comments you have along the way, and I will be your Lenten reading buddy. I'm not going to read the book myself; that would be hopelessly vain. But I'll accompany you on your reading, and maybe together we can discern more fully what life outside of Me-Ville is meant to look like for us.

The reading plan refers to subheads, not page numbers, since more people have the book in digital form than in print. When you see a subhead below (e.g., "through 'It's Easy for Me,'"), read it to its completion (i.e., stop reading, for example, when you come to "Red Carpet Treatment").

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Week 1: The High Cost of Living in Me-Ville
 Wednesday: "Don't be so sure of yourself!" through "Runaway Pride"
 Thursday: "Me-Ville" through end of introduction
 Friday: "I got married recently" through "Superbia = Self-Absorption"
 Saturday: "Out of Eden and into Me-Ville" through "It's Easy for Me"
 Sunday: "Red Carpet Treatment" through end of chapter
 Monday: "Escape Routes"
 Tuesday: Day off

Week 2: Jesus Visits Us in Me-Ville
 Wednesday: "Sometimes, I willingly confess" through "Everywhere I Want to Be"
 Thursday: "The Great Cloud of Uncaring" through "He Parted the Heavens"
 Friday: "My Private Universe" through "The Sum of Ourselves"
 Saturday: "Jesus Honors and Threatens Us by His Visit" through "Jesus Is Pro-Me"
 Sunday: "Myspace--Christ's Home Page" through end of chapter
 Monday: :Escape Routes"
 Tuesday: Day off

Week 3: Jesus Displaces Us
 Wednesday: "Sometimes the things you desire" through "We Can't Save Ourselves or Fulfill Ourselves"
 Thursday: "Jesus Takes His Stand" through "Stop Being Rich, Stop Being Young, Stop Being a Ruler"
 Friday: "Christ the Center" through "Jesus Is Homeless and Invites Us to Follow"
 Saturday: "Psalms to the Center" through end of chapter
 Sunday: "Escape Routes"
 Monday: Day off
 Tuesday: Day off

Week 4: Jesus Delivers Us
 Wednesday: "So now we're on the road" through "Tax-Exempt Status"
 Thursday: "Superbian Spirituality"
 Friday: "Self-Effacement and the Knowledge of God"
 Saturday: "Forgetting Ourselves on Purpose"
 Sunday: "Agere Contra" through end of chapter
 Monday: "Escape Routes"
 Tuesday: Day off

Week 5: Jesus Binds Us Together
 Wednesday: "Read the Gospel of John closely enough" through "Every Christian Is Bound to Every Other"
 Thursday: "Stranded in We-Ville"
 Friday: "Jesus Stands Between Us"
 Saturday: "Beware Yourself and One Another"
 Sunday: "We Need Each Other"
 Monday: "Escape Routes"
 Tuesday: Day off

Week 6: Getting in the Way of Jesus
 Wednesday: "And really, that's pretty much it" through "Taking Vows Without Taking Them Too Seriously"
 Thursday: "Sinning Boldly and Failing Well" through "Jesus or Not Jesus"
 Friday: "Quiet Time" through "Loud Time"
 Saturday: "What's in a Day" through "Marking Time"
 Sunday: "Escape Routes: Quiet Time"
 Monday: "Escape Routes: Interrupted Quiet Time"
 Tuesday: "Escape Routes: Loud Time"
 Wednesday: Day off

 Maundy Thursday: "When Jesus' followers wondered how to pray" through "Shut Up and Pray"
 Good Friday: "So Be It"
 Holy Saturday: "Escape Routes"

Easter Sunday: Your Next Step Awaits!

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