Hugh Halter's "Flesh" was one of my favorite reads in 2014. The heart of that book was the age-old question "How do we live like Jesus?"
Hugh gave us not only a challenge, but a reassurance too. He made the argument that our humanity doesn't stand in the way of our holiness. Instead, holiness grows out of our full humanity, when we learn to be human like Jesus. Hugh called this phenomena "whimsical holiness."
When I saw "Brimstone" in the catalog, I knew I wanted a copy. And now it's here, and it was worth the wait. While enlarging the portrait of whimsical holiness, this book tackles some serious questions.
What is judgement?
Does Jesus judge?
Am I equipped to judge?
This is not a unique observation, but "Christianity" and "judgement" have become linked in a lot of people's minds. And they're not thinking about the Day of Judgement, either, when God shall destroy all evil and Christ shall reign over a Kingdom made whole. Nope, they're thinking about the critical, unkind, unbending, arrogant, strident, self-righteous judgements made by professing Christians.
Now, we Christians mostly don't mean to wreak havoc.
We hope to save our culture by protesting the "moral slide."
We hope to make converts by critiquing lifestyles- warning people away from the edge, as it were.
And that all works well in theory.
If we're preaching to a choir of folks just like us, we can rail against other people's choices all day long, and finish up with a round of "Worthy is the Lamb."
This just doesn't work so good when we're dealing with our family, neighbors, and co-workers. Somehow, we repel them when we start railing. Especially when our depiction of "biblical convictions" suspiciously meshes with our personal preferences, and we denounce all that we disagree with.
So, we need a new way to be. We need the art and the act of holy nonjudgement. And that's what Hugh talks about.
Now- don't jump down the author's throat. He's already got enough people doing that. He's not a Universalist. He does believe in sin. He does have convictions. Feeling better?
He just thinks that we need to get back to the Gospel, take our sainthood to the streets, and discuss real issues without being a judgmental jerk.
And this book is your conversation-starter, your jumper-cables to the brain, your spoonful of truth, your whack upside the head...
Try it. It'll give you a lot to wrestle with, and it will give you a new idea to rest in: We don't have to fight everything wrong all the time.
(Sex trafficking? Fight it. Tattoos? Let it be. The health of your own marriage? Fight for it. Speculating about the divorce down the street? Let it be.)
Sometimes, we can just make friends and take care of people, working out whimsical holiness, shaking up people's preconceived notions of how Christians are.
I thank David C Cook for giving me a copy in exchange for my opinion.