Just finished reading the Part 1 of the book, trying to keep up with others.
It's not so easy writing something down for the part I read in the Religious Affections at this moment. The content, with such conviction and force, is still to be digested fully. But I do not want to lay it off indefinitely, so... here's my first post regarding the part 1 of the Religious Affections.
First thing I noticed as I was reading the part 1 of the book was that as I started understanding the words of Jonathan Edwards, I started to get Piper. There were a couple of moments previously that I thought I understood what John Piper really wanted people to get. The first time, it was through first few pages, including the cover page, of the book, Desiring God. I did not get to finish reading the book, it was too heavy for me back then, but the impression I got was that this preacher is big on joy in God and in Him only. I thought it was good and fine, but did not really think too much about him or his theology.
Then, a couple of years later, I came across one of his sermons. By this time, I was much more aware of the good ministry John Piper was doing through the Desiring God Ministry, although I still hadn't read that book, Desiring God (and I still haven't! D'oh!). The sermon I listened to was from Romans chapter 9 about God's sovereignty. It was one of the most powerful sermon I heard, although the sermon itself was not in the most "proper shape", since John Piper used a lot of personal experiential stories more than proclamatory expositions of the text (by the way, John Piper acknowledges it and for a perfectly legitimate reason, and I am grateful for it, if you are not convinced, listen to the sermon yourself). I think I've always believed God's sovereignty, but I had to repent of the way I compromised the truth of the Bible at various times and made God look small and weak. It was this sermon, listen to it!
Now, this is my third time round that I understand what Piper is really on about. That joy he talks about, that "desiring God" he talks about, is really found in the words of Jonathan Edwards, namely, The True Religious Affections. I am yet to fully understand the whole thing, and to articulate in words would be even a tougher job for me, but this I will say, read "The Religious Affections" whether you like John Piper or not. In the end, getting Piper is nothing, getting Jonathan Edwards is nothing, whether you like Piper's theology or not is really nothing, but a pure desire for God, the holy affection is what matters and will last for eternity.
More to come regarding the part 1 of The Religious Affections.