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)
J. Richard Middleton
For two thousand years, Christians have been intrigued by the somewhat enigmatic Imago Dei references in the book of Genesis. Much theological ink has been spilled mulling over the significance and meaning of these words: “Let us make humanity in our image, according to our likeness . . . “
In The Liberating Image, J. Richard Middleton takes on anew the challenge of interpreting the Imago Dei. Reflecting on the potential of the Imago Dei texts for developing an ethics of power rooted in compassion, he relates its significance to the Christian community’s distinct calling in an increasingly violent world.
The Liberating Image introduces a relevant, scholarly take on an important Christian doctrine. It will appeal to all Christians seeking to better understand what it means to be made in God’s image.
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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com
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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