AUTHOR: Jack Haberer
PUBLISHER: Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2016, (180 pages).
- What is the right thing to do?
- How can I know for sure?
The 14 guidelines are applied in various degrees to several situations to give us an idea on how it can be used. On matters of life and death, we see the complications arising from overly simplistic pro-life, pro-choice, and pro-ethic perspectives. In each situation, we learn to state our aspirational responses; list the extraordinary circumstances; and to look at ethical alternatives, of which some may be terrible. On love and marriage, faithfulness is a key virtue and from it, Haberer lists seven expressions of it.
There is no simple answer when it comes to seeking God's will. This is not because God is not speaking. More often than not, we are not listening as well. For that matter, the difficulty of hearing God also stems from our desire to listen only to what we WANT to hear instead of being open to hearing what we need to hear. In this book, what most of us want to hear is a simple statement of what God's will is for us and we will then simply follow it. The truth is, we may be listening for God's will out of curiosity to know rather than a capacity to obey. If we merely want to listen to our own inner preferences, we are basically on the seeking self-will endeavour. We choose only the things of God that we like and skip over the things that we do not like. If that is the case, why ask to seek God's will in the first place?
Haberer shows us that while the Bible is clear in some of the commandments and laws, the Bible is equally clear about the need for us to go beyond mere laws toward practices of love. This is especially when the call to love God and love neighbour must be expressed in our abiding in Christ. In a way, this book is an indictment on those of us who try to see God's will as some kind of a magic life compass. That is not the way to long after God. If life is so simple, a simple answer should be able to unlock our big questions. Fortunately, this is not the case. The complications arise due to the many different factors and permutations of events, timing, and personality differences. The same law may be listed but the person reading it are different. If there is one single word to capture this book's message, it would be contextualization. God's Word has to be understood in its original contexts and subsequently applied and adapted to our modern contexts. Learn the absolutes but when it comes to applications, adapt and approximate as best as we can. The single biggest benefit this book can give us is to cause a paradigm shift, that seeking God's will is not some reductionistic and simplistic project. It is a journey of revelation made by faithful people on the way to loving God and loving neighbour.
Pastor and author Jack Haberer is Pastor of Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church in Naples, Florida. He has previously served as Editor and Publisher of the Presbyterian Outlook.
Rating: 4.25 stars of 5.
This book is provided to me courtesy of Westminster John Knox Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.