HAVE YOU EVER ASKED YOURSELF where is God in your life? Have you had that conversation while you sat in the pew on a Sunday or watched your favorite televangelist? In your search for the answer to this and many other questions, you may accidentally stumble on several resources.
THE KEY IS TO ASK QUESTIONS, seek, understand and learn from those answers. THIS BEAUTIFUL MESS – Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom of God by Rick Mckinley is a book with questions and answers. It is a book about awareness, accountability and Christianity. It doesn’t answer the questions, it asks them.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN to be a Christian in today’s society? THIS BEAUTIFUL MESS reads more like a journal about the author’s journey into discovering a way he would like/prefer to live life as a Christian. He divides it into three parts:
- Discovering the Kingdom – “Is to help us hear the words of Jesus again and begin to shift our affections toward Him and His brilliant vision.“
- Re-Visioning Life in the Kingdom – “Is to recognize the kingdom, we need to learn to see differently. To see God’s present kingdom in the midst of the ordinary miracle in which we live.”
- Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom – “Is to tear down the fake walls. You are called to be a signpost along the road standing in the midst of suffering with people who are suffering and declare to them that they are loved.”
THE TITLE, THIS BEAUTIFUL MESS IMPLIES that somewhere within the pages of the book there are paradoxical statements waiting to be found; after all, how can one find “beauty in mess?” The author stated that he chose to describe God’s kingdom as messy because to “think of mess as real and apparent complexity, as absolute resistance against the tidy, easy, or manageable. For example, finding purpose and goodness in a desolate place. Christians don’t like mess, not in our world and especially not in ourselves or our churches.”
WHAT IS THE “ME-ISM OF CHRISTIANITY? . . . My desires, my hopes, my future, my agenda, etc. The author talks about being careful when “studying God expertly in His parts [because you can] miss Him entirely in His Being.” In the Bible, it says that you can’t serve two masters. You can’t serve God and still be in control of your life. The book says God wants you to be a part of His agenda, and not you “trying to get God to endorse your agenda.”
THOUGHTS for your SOUL:
- “If you start with the church, you might end with the church. If you end with the church, you may never get to the kingdom. But if you start with the kingdom, you will always get the church.”
- “When is my giving, no matter how generous, more about me than someone else?”…”Americans tend to assume that we know what the people in the rest of the world actually need.“
- “What you look to for freedom and security can actually enslave you.“
IF YOU THINK YOU’VE read or heard this before, you have! Rick Mckinley believes that in order to be a part of the kingdom you must repent. Repent… the author defines repent as to “stop what you’re doing, to turnaround and do the opposite.” He believes that God wants you to release the “smugly held beliefs, especially the so-called enlightened ones that convince us we have no need to repent.”
WHAT DOES ANY AUTHOR or good book strive to do? What does any good book accomplish? According to bestselling author, Malcolm Gladwell, “Good writing does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else’s head.” After reading THIS BEAUTIFUL MESS, it’s normal to reflect on what you’ve read and ask yourself “Would I be the same person today if I never read this book?”
Let’s BOND over Books rates THIS BEAUTIFUL MESS as MELODICALLY MEANINGFUL (151-300 pages.) . . . just the right mixture of pages and content.
Disclaimer: Let’s BOND over Books received this book free of charge from the Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for this review.