I am increasingly convinced that in our polarized age, our most important convictions as Christians are God’s creation of all humanity and God’s redemption of all humanity.
In a recent article, ERB Contributing Editor John Wilson noted the prevalence of competing visions of the common good. This story of competing visions is nothing new, and at least as old as the story of Cain and Abel (Gen. 4). Between creation and redemption, we will have differing conceptions of how we live and move faithfully toward God’s redemption, and these conceptions will have consequences on human lives. But at all times we must remember that those whose life experiences and visions of the common good differ from our own are humans created in the image of God, who are loved by God and with whom God desires to be reconciled. Our politics and our ethics matter, but if we lose sight of the bigger picture of creation and redemption, then we have lost our way and are reduced to noisy gongs and clanging symbols.
With these thoughts in mind, I offer this list of books that re-orient us toward the bigger picture of God’s creation and redemption of all humanity. (All of these books have a particular perspective, and of course, none offers a full picture of what God is doing in creation)
Emanuel Katongole /
Our world is broken and cries out for reconciliation. But mere conflict resolution and peacemaking are not enough. What makes real reconciliation possible? How is it that some people are able to forgive the most horrendous of evils? And what role does God play in these stories? Does reconciliation make any sense apart from the biblical story of redemption? Secular models of peacemaking are insufficient. And the church has not always fulfilled its call to be agents of reconciliation in the world. In Reconciling All Things Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice, codirectors of the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School, cast a comprehensive vision for reconciliation that is biblical, transformative, holistic and global. They draw on the resources of the Christian story, including their own individual experiences in Uganda and Mississippi, to bring solid, theological reflection to bear on the work of reconciling individuals, groups and societies. They recover distinctively Christian practices that will help the church be both a sign and an agent of God’s reconciling love in the fragmented world of the twenty-first century. This powerful, concise book lays the philosophical foundations for reconciliation and explores what it means to pursue hope in areas of brokenness in theory and practice.
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Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith
"This book will inspire, motivate and challenge anyone who cares a whit about the written word, the world of ideas, the shape of our communities and the life of the church."
-Karen Swallow Prior
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