Monday, April 12, 2010

‘Different Eyes: The Art of Living Beautifully’ by Steve Chalke and Alan Mann – Book Review

Buzz this
I have always had an interest in ethics and the deeper issues in life.  When I was presented the opportunity to review ‘Different Eyes: The Art of Living Beautifully,’ I was interested! 

Here is the ‘blurb’ on the back of the book:

How should those who follow Jesus live distinctively in a time of uncertainty?  How should the church respond to the moral dilemmas of our everyday lives?
In Different Eyes, Steve Chalke and Alan Mann examine the underlying motivation for Christian morality and provide an insightful guide to navigating the most challenging ethical dilemmas of our modern world in a way that is faithful to the story of God’s work in Jesus.

God has been showing me again and again that Jesus is all I need.  Pastor Chalke makes this clear.  I love this paragraph:

The writers of the New Testament are clear.  God’s character is fully, accurately and completely revealed in Jesus, who came, self-sacrificially served, died on the cross, rose again and sent the Holy Spirit to illume, empower, guard and guide us.  If you are looking for a master class in ethics, an advanced course in moral formation, to key to living beautifully – sign up here!  Jesus is the picture of the way God is.  (p. 52)

Here’s another example of how much we need Jesus:

Our becoming moral persons – truly Christ-like human beings – is only made possible through a living relationship with his Spirit, who develops in us a moral character based on virtues that are at the heart of who God is, expressed in the life of Jesus.  As Paul writes to the church at Galatia, ‘God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled’ (Galatians 5:22-23 CEV). (p. 61)

Pastor Chalke makes the point I have believed for a long time – the answer is the Church (the hands and feet of Jesus):

The primary political solution Christians have to offer our troubled society is not new laws or advice to government – although we may well from time to time, find ourselves involved in both.  The most creative social strategy we have to offer is the Church.  Here we can demonstrate to society a way of being that it can never hope to achieve through social coercion or government action.  (p. 144)

The authors offer us this advice on the best way to become like Jesus:

‘Follow me!’  With that short and simple challenge, Jesus invited ordinary people to become part of a lifelong, world-shaping adventure, a journey that would surprise them with each new turn of the road.
In order to know Jesus, we have to follow Jesus.  It is at one and the same time a simple yet profound invitation.  (p. 149)

This book covers some controversial topics – War and Military Intervention, the Use of Wealth, Homosexuality, and Euthanasia and Assisted Dying.  In each one of these sections, which are interspersed throughout the book, there are two letters offering opposing viewpoints, as well as some questions to ponder or discuss with others.  I think this would be an interesting book for small groups who are ready to go deep!

Overall, I gleaned a lot from 'Different Eyes'; it’s right up my alley!  Pastor Chalke is British, so he has a bent that is slightly more leftist than I am used to reading.  I like to be exposed to different viewpoints; Jesus is not a Republican or a Conservative, after all!  Generally, I can see both points of view in an argument.  So I was appreciative for Pastor Chalke providing his perspective and interpretation on Christianity - Christianity through his eyes.

Steve Chalke is an ordained Baptist minister, and the founder of Oasis, which over the last 25 years has developed into a group of charities working to deliver education, training, youth work, health care and housing around the world.  He is the senior minister of, Waterloo and a UN Special Advisor working to combat people trafficking.  In 2004 he was award the MBE by the Queen for his work in social inclusion.

Alan Mann is a freelance writer, educator and consultant in the area of Christianity and contemporary culture.   

You can sample the first chapter of this book here.

You can order this book here.

This book was provided to me by Zondervan Publishers for review purposes.

No comments:

Clicky Web Analytics