Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Very Good Gospel~ Lisa Sharon Harper

The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right

"If the construction of human empire is our goal, we will become enemies of God's purposes on earth. If the flourishing of the image of God and all the relationships in creation is our goal, then we will become partners with God, exercising dominion that is in the likeness of God." ~Lisa Sharon Harper

This book is a like a stick of dynamite. Handle it with care or else it will explode, blowing away your preconceived notions and altering the landscape of your understanding. 

And hey, maybe that's a good thing sometimes.  

If you could go back to the beginning, what do you think you would have seen between God and the world? Imagine it- the formless and void now sculpted and filled, God himself resting in satisfaction, the newborn sunlight shining on First Man and Woman, and all creatures utterly at home in the earth.
The Hebrew word for this utter wholeness, intense health, and holy happiness is "shalom." 

That "shalom" is everything we're craving, individually and nationally. 

Lisa Sharon Harper understands that creation was steeped in shalom at the start, and she knows that our hearts long to return to that place. She believes that shalom can be brought back into the world when men and women commit to acting justly, with mercy and generosity. 

If that's the case, then we as people of faith have some marching orders. Evil must be exposed, corruption reformed, and all oppression ended. Human dignity must be championed. Debate of the crucial ideas must be civil, and must not be censored. We must seek out "good governance" and keep our government systems accountable.

It's tempting to think of this all as abstract thought, but it isn't. We read the news of missing shalom every day. Bloodshed and violence, violated victims, lies and deception, economic struggle- we sleep in a planet-sized broken home.

As Lisa addresses these concepts she points us to current events. There are plenty to choose from, when discussing the need for shalom. 

I came away from this book reminded that life is a gift, and we want to live well. And there's so many areas of need, so in whatever way we can let's make our life count. That will never look the same for two people in a row, but we can pursue the goodness of God while looking hard at reality and we can find a way to work for shalom. 

I thank Waterbrook Multnomah for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest opinion.

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