The fear in the subtitle, Saving Our Faith from a Culture of Fear, isn’t the external fear brought on by too much exposure to the news, or only partly, it’s a fear to engage in a full life of Christian service. Not only in our personal lives, but the life of our churches, too. As long as we only attend to our own problems and make no effort to alleviate the pain and suffering going on around us, we embody a diluted Christian witness not much different from the secular world.
The author uses the recorded life of Jesus, particularly the Beatitudes, to show how great faith can overcome adversity and transform the cultural norms, benefit others and ourselves at the same time.
Stephan Bauman has worked to relieve distressed areas over most of the world. He is often confronted with the faith and courage of the least of these. Faced with hardships. Like drought, crop failure and danger from conflict, they nonetheless exhibit a faith and acceptance that often puts ours to shame. The author uses the words and life of Jesus to exhort us to break out of our limitations and devote ourselves to greater service.
As I’ve mentioned in past posts, I’m an Atheist, which might be viewed as a problem, but I recognize and can appreciate a coherent and strong narrative so that much of the content, while couched in Christian language, brought my agreement. That speaks well of Bauman’s abilities as well as his commitment to Christian living.
In Break Open the Sky, the author has ably presented a path for Christians to confront their limitations, and begin a life of service as full as their situations allow. Page 174 lists exercises to start you on your path.
Break Open the Sky has it all, spiritual encouragement and practical paths to pursue. I recommend it for the target audience.
Norman West has been retired for almost five years and is loving it. He lives in Keizer, Oregon with two rotten Labradors, Bella (little wart) and B (for big, or black wart), a granddaughter, and a great-granddaughter. The dogs are so bad, he has to leave the house to read and review books. He considers himself an “idea” guy, so concentrates mostly on current events, science and religion. That last is a little problematic since he's an atheist, but he really does try to be fair and judge the work on its merits, not just on its truth claims.
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