From the author of the acclaimed Simply Christian and Surprised by Hope comes a book that addresses the question that has plagued humans for centuries - what is our purpose?
As Christians, what are we to do with that ambiguous time between baptism and the funeral? It’s easy to become preoccupied with who gets into heaven; the real challenge is how we are going to live in the here and now. Wright dispels the common misconception that Christian living is nothing more than a checklist of do's and don’ts. Nor is it a prescription to “follow your heart” wherever it may lead. Instead, After You Believe reveals the Bible’s call for a revolution - a transformation of character that takes us beyond our earthly pursuit of money, sex, and power into a virtuous state of living that allows us to reflect God and live more worshipful, fulfilling lives.
We are all spiritual seekers, intuitively knowing there is more to life than we suspect. This is a book for anyone who is hoping there is something more while we’re here on Earth. There is. We are being called to join the revolution, and Wright insightfully encourages readers to find new purpose and clarity by taking us on an eye-opening journey through key biblical passages that promise to radically alter the work of the church and the direction of our lives.
©2010 Nicholas Thomas Wright (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers
Definitely a challenge theologically, though in non-technical words. I thought this was deja vu: riding on my mountain bike on San Juan trail and listening to Tom Wright instead of Dallas Willard's "The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God." They both reinterpret the beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount to move from legalism to grace. They both are intellectuals, theological and devoted to correct thinking as a key to transformation. They have both transformed my life, my spirituality, my understanding of Agape. But Wright's theology is broader and more significant than Willard's. He integrates so many themes that neatly weave together: Kingdom ethics vs legalism, eschatology (study of end times) as Hope, and Love.
Wright's most profound theological explication is that we are not to become moral, but to empty ourselves as Jesus did--to live for the purpose of God's Kingdom only--not our own desires. Even Jesus had to "learn" to do this as he was fully human, and felt the temptation for self satisfaction, but continuously and "perfectly" (telos) resisted. He was not an example of moral virtue primarily (though he was), but an example of one fully yielded to God. And now we too, through his resurrection, by the Holy Spirit (holiness & prayer), can participate not only in the Kingdom to Come (telos), but now, in the Kingdom that has now Come in Jesus' life, death and resurrection. Wish this theme had predominated, because it is the basis of spiritual transformation.
Another motivation for living spiritually and not legalistically is because of the Hope we have in the renewal and transformation of this present world, where we will participate with holiness and power. Looking forward to reading his book on Hope next.
While Wright and Willard are strong theologically, they both lack the everyday relational wisdom that properly integrates the intellectual, spiritual, social, emotional, "imaginational," and behavioral dimensions into a whole.
I am now listening to the Pope's latest book and I know why I like it so much. I LOVE reading Wright but it's too much work for this lowbrow American to process the British accent. Benedict XVI was wise to get a narrator who speaks American.
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