AUTHOR: Darren Whitehead & Jon Tyson
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: Thomas-Nelson, 2011.
[This book is also published on my main blog: Yapdates]
This wonderful book by two very good friends, tells of God's strange but delightful work in people, of an observant spiritual eye noticing the working of the Holy Spirit. It is a story of good news, repeated through the mantra of ‘rumors’ that every Christian ought to hear. Essentially, God is nearer than we think. God is closer than we feel. God is present where we are. The central message of this message is that God is more real than we experience, more present than we feel, and more active than we think. The authors quote CS Lewis’ words in their book as their main theme:
“The world is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there is a rumor going round the shop that some of us are some day going to come to life.” (Darren Whitehead & Jon Tyson, Rumors of God, Nashville, TN: Thomas-Nelson, 2011, 5)
Coming to life it is! Using seven chapters to convince the mind and to convict the individual heart, one chapter to inspire the spirit of community, and another two toward global justice, environmental concerns and eschatological hope, the book calls us to live out our faith openly and passionately. Before one can do that, one needs to re-focus and re-direct their attention. One reason why many Christians fail to experience God is because they are barking up the wrong tree.
“Society seems to be drifting further and further into secular humanism and we, as Christians, feel powerless to do anything about it. Ironically, the culture grows increasingly more spiritual while the church grows increasingly more practical. No wonder most Americans say they’re not interested in Christianity.” (6)
The book is a clarion call for readers to live out the faith they profess, and to let God turn one from statue into a bold living out of one’s status of being children of light.
This book is immensely practical and very inspirational. It is a reminder to us that the gospel is not hearsay. It tells us that it is real and can be even more real, if we let God lead us.
I like the way the authors distinguish mercy and grace through the example of a motorist pulled over by the police. Mercy is about being forgiven the driving offense. Grace goes far beyond forgiveness. Grace is forgiveness and continual giving all rolled into one. (72) Calling forgiveness the central theme in the biblical narrative (81), readers are urged to learn to live humbly through the giving up of their perceived rights, as well as debunking the six myths of forgiveness (90).
The structure of the book reveals the authors' intention. Before one can begin living passionately for God outside, much work needs to start from the inside. I suspect this is the reason why the authors use seven initial chapters to stir up reader’s soul to start noticing God by noticing the rumblings within ourselves. Recognize that we are motionless statues without God. Let Christ give us life, and the Holy Spirit give us vitality to live out that love of God in Christ. The pattern is evident throughout the book.
A lot of space is allocated to describing the Western culture, and readers in the Western world will appreciate the many familiar symbols, consumerism, materialism, and spiritualism.Readers will appreciate the many illustrations and easy to follow cultural references, and how Christians can live biblically amid the worldliness around them. One of my favourite chapters is about living out the gospel in order (chapter 5). In a world where many try to do too many things in too little time, it is easy to misplace our spiritual discernment, and to misinterpret gospel priorities.
There are rumblings of spiritual work in the background. There are ruminations of revival. There are rumors of God. Those of us who are discouraged in our spiritual walk, or who desire spiritual revival, begin with this book, and see how the stories, illustrations, and the good news inspire you to turn rumors into reality.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson".