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)
In this timely book, Jean Vanier provides a spiritual roadmap toward peace and understanding among people from different religious, ethnic, cultural, and economic backgrounds; with diverse gifts and disabilities. For Vanier the whole question of peacemaking is centered on trust. He points out that peace cannot be imposed by politicians or churches to endure it must grow within each person. Therefore, Vanier urges that we come together to encounter, explore, and celebrate our differences. He shows that what we encounter we come to know and, thereby, understand. And when we understand, healing and peace can truly follow.
[Vanier’s] definition of sin : “Do you know what sin is? It’s when there is a barrier between you and me. Between me and God, between me and myself. It is a wall, a wall so that we cannot speak to each other. We don’t encounter others, because we are so certain that we are right; “You have nothing to bring me. I don’t need you.”
….[Jesus] takes away this terrible barrier, which prevents us meeting ourselves, meeting the other, meeting truth and meeting God.” (33)
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Book 6 of 10
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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