The Englewood Review of Books
Best Books of 2018
Paperback: IVP Books, 2018
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In Jeremiah 29, Israel is not excited about their exile in Babylon, mostly because it is violent and degrading. However, another important factor in this story is that the presence of God resides in the temple back in Jerusalem. Jeremiah has to remind the Israelites that God is with them in Babylon as well. Similarly, many residents who find themselves in communities like mine really do not want to be there either, resulting in the damaging cycle of escapism. I believe this desire to flee, consciously or unconsciously, flows from an underlying belief that the presence of God does not reside there, either. However, our faith should lead us to believe that there is nowhere God is not present and that God will never forsake us or any place.
If God has promised to never forsake us, and yet we can clearly see that some neighborhoods have been neglected more than others, the question becomes who has forsaken them? I believe, based on decades of experience, that it is God’s people that have forsaken their places, not God. There are no God-forsaken places, just church-forsaken ones.
- from our interview with Jonathan Brooks
in our Advent 2018 magazine issue
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