Skip to main content

The Very Good Gospel

The Very Good Gospel by Lisa Sharon Harper

What we need in this world is a vision that reaches down to the nitty gritty of broken relationships and brings healing, hope, and dignity.  Lisa Sharon Harper, chief church engagement office at Sojourners (Jim Wallis) has written a hard hitting and challenging book on the gospel and the way shalom enters our lives and the lives of those around us.  Her experience with racial issues, injustice, and systemic brokenness gives her a trustworthy voice in the way believers can bring healing to our world. 

What makes this book a real game changer for believers and those interested in changing culture?  One, the gospel that Lisa promotes is one that is interested in the impoverished, oppressed, and broken, not only those who are broken by their own sin.  The good news is not good news to all if it is not reaching these groups of people.  Second, Lisa centers her discussion of the gospel around the concept of shalom, “for the emphatic goodness of all relationships (15).”  This book looks at God’s vision for all of creation, which includes a restored relationship between humans and God, but also how the interconnectedness of human relationships can be made whole again. 

In her chapter on Shalom and Self, Lisa draws on the work of Dr. Brene Brown to bring out some truths about shame, vulnerability, and shalom.  Lisa writes, “Shalom says we are all connected.  Every relationship created by God is strung together in a web of intimate relationships.  To affect one is to affect all.  So when our distrust of God leads us to separate ourselves from God, we also are separated from ourselves (73).”  Self-doubt, destructive behavior, and shame produce an amazing amount of unhealthy choices.  The reverse is also true, when we trust God, we give ourselves opportunities to be vulnerable and are at peace with ourselves and others. 

On the chapter on Shalom between Genders, Lisa offers some suggestions about how to go about healing the divide between genders and also our prejudices.  She states that listening to the stories of women, lamenting the way the church and world has treated them, and engaging in confession and repentance are a few ways to start on the right track. 

Thanks to Blogging for Books for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Popular posts from this blog

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
Misperceptions, misconnections, and missed observations are just some of the issues that Timothy Snyder raises in his book, Black Earth, concerning the Holocaust.  Snyder, no stranger to the frontlines of scholarship on the Holocaust, with his previous book Bloodlands, that concerns the land from Hitler to Stalin, takes a look at the Holocaust from new sources and new avenues of thought.  How did some nation-states survive relatively unscathed from Nazi persecution while others, notably Jewish populations, succumb to a wave of killings?  Also, what was the role of the Soviet Union in the war and how did Stalin effect changes in the Final Solution?  These questions are only two of the many that Snyder answers in his detailed account of the Holocaust.
One of the best chapters was entitled The Auschwitz Paradox.  Generally when the public thinks about the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz first or at the top of our mental m…

the great spiritual migration

The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian D McLaren

Brian McLaren and his own pithy way brings to the foreground and emphasis on a new kind of Christianity. The kind of faith that Brian envisions is a kind of migration not been set in the bedrock of beliefs that is unmoving but rather shifting with both culture and with faith. His new book the great spiritual migration is exactly that, a pointed work that encapsulates a vision towards the future where Christianity is changing and its peoples lives are changed as well.

Brian states in the introduction, "but we also know that for a lot of people Christianity is malfunctioning, seriously so, and it's not pretty. This kind of frustration with conventional Christianity is what McLaren gets gets to at the heart of this message is concerned with a number of different clusters unbelief. One, namely that Christianity has been stuck in a set of propositions or beliefs that has controlled churches in the faith, rather then a spirit of love t…

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes.: A Journey Through Loss with Art and Color

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes by Roger Hutchison

Taking a look at the digital copy of this book allowed me to look at the striking art inside the book, and its connection to the words of the page that were focusing on loss.  Looking at the physical copy of the book even brings to life more the staggering similarity that the words and pain have together on the page.  The focus here is how certain colors express the sentiments of those who have lost a loved one.  I did not think that I would relate too well to this book until two days ago, as we lost our little boy, who was only 17 weeks old.  The pain is palpable and yet the pages of this book give me good reason to think of my son with a sense of pride and hope.

Roger writes, "You are a shooting star. Your light trails across the heavens.  I blinked and you were gone."  We were full of anticipation at the first and second ultrasounds, and there was the picture of our little boy Jackson, his developing face and little …