No Small Change by Charles E. Johns
This collection of is a series of short pieces designed to bring an awareness of God’s grace to its readers. The writings include pieces that go along with the church calendar events including Advent, Easter, Lent, Pentecost and Ordinary Time. Drawn from his experience, God’s Word, and his time as a pastor, Charles gets at the heart of what it means to live out a life of grace in the muddied waters of brokenness. Whether it is racism, repentance, hell or the homeless, Charles sets his gaze upon bringing wisdom and sensitivity to the situation.
One of my favorite pieces in the book was his piece called Repentance. After reflecting on his boyhood, growing up in a family without a sense of racism in it, he also recalls the popular mythology he grew up around about people with color: their athletic ability, work ethic, musical ability and intelligence (98). Yet, as he reminds us, Charles writes, “But racism is an equal opportunity infection that does not pass over good people for their goodness and settle only upon the evil for their sins. In ways I did not even understand I was infected. I still live with symptoms of that infection. When I have personal experience with people of color,….I respond in ways that I do not believe” (99). The uncanny thing is that you can’t shake the race issue even if you try, and Charles indicates that racism is frequently subtle having a thousand disguises. Yet, as Charles points out also, working this side of heaven will always involve repenting of our sins to God for the smallest and biggest of things that we get caught up in.
I think many of these pieces of writing are very pointed to remind us as Christians where our hope lies, how we fall short and how journeying on the Christian life is a process of dying so that we might live. Rather than see this book as a series of daily devotionals, the book looks at larger themes that the church faces. The only drawback in the book is an infrequent usage of Scripture throughout the book.
I hope these pieces encourage and help those desiring to walk with Christ.
Thanks to Book Crash and CrossLink Publishing for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review.