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Telling Secrets

faith, fatherhood, and culture


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Beginning this September, a new line of books from NavPress--Deliberate: Become What You Believe--will hit the streets. Deliberate books explore the mystery of faith and how to actively live it out. As we plumb the mystery, we use Jesus as our guide—a man who, after spending 40 days of solitary contemplation in the desert, announced:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and the regaining of sight to the blind,
to set free those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
— Luke 4:18-19

So began a career that is a study of profound faith in action, a perfect blend of orthodoxy and orthopraxy. He broke firm Jewish mores when he talked to the Samaritan woman alone at the well. He upset the unholy money making in the temple. He left everyone speechless when he defended the woman who slept around. He helped everyone he came across on his way to visit a dying friend. He taught through stories and riddles. He told his followers to love their enemies. He treated party-goers at a wedding reception to the best wine late in the evening.

Jesus told us to live like he did and to do even greater things. He told us to live deliberately, combining faith and action.

Deliberate about global Christianity
Deliberate embraces the “whole world” aspect of God’s love. The world’s cultures and economics are globalizing—distances between people are shrinking. We must listen to the experiences of other cultures and learn about God’s work in them. We must embrace a global Christianity without losing the specificity of God’s work within our own context. Deliberate explores voices from around the world, and from other worlds within America, as they tell their tales of God’s grace in the harsh light of real life. We need to hear from African-Americans struggling in “post-movement” urban America, indigenous pastors living in Muslim Asia, European female artists, and Sudanese countrymen struggling with “post-colonialism” and the continued effects of civil war and genocide.

Deliberate about art and culture
Deliberate explores the confluence of art and faith. Art has held a key place in the expression of faith through the centuries and its role in this new century, in all its forms, is more crucial than ever. It has the ability to communicate the truth about this world in profound ways that printed or spoken words cannot match—truth about injustice, beauty, hate, love, and the human condition. Art can also communicate God’s grace and love for the world in equally profound ways and often can bridge cultures and people better than any other form of communication. It can even bypass the unconscious autopilot many of us live by and promote conscious living and deliberate action. So it is important to acknowledge the expression of faith through art and to develop its role in God’s work in the world.

Deliberate about theology
Deliberate is theologically grounded. While exploring the mystery, it is important to be mindful of the signposts God already has placed for us through Biblical doctrine and Church tradition. This grounding is not wholly limiting, however—it pulls from many traditions, readings, and expressions of Scripture, but it will also “test the spirits” to remain as faithful to God’s Word (both written and incarnated) as possible (1 John 4:1). Deliberate follows Saint Augustine’s guiding principle:
“In essentials, unity;
in non-essentials, liberty;
in all things, charity.”

Deliberate about God’s Kingdom work
Deliberate follows Jesus’ example and explores the timeless nature of God’s work, such as loving the whole world (John 3:16); caring for the poor, orphan, widow, prisoner and foreigner (Micah 6:8, Matthew 25:31-46, Isaiah 58); and redeeming the world—everyone and everything in it—through reconciliation of people and a renewal of nature (Colossians 1:19-20 and Romans 8:19-23).

about holistic, active faith
Deliberate encourages readers to embrace a holistic and vibrant Christian faith that is both contemplative and active. It bridges the mystery-embracing, active faith of emerging churches with theological rootedness. It breaks down the sacred/secular divide and explores all aspects of creation and culture and our role in doing God’s work through them. It dialogues with other faiths and worldviews and embraces God’s truth found there. It explores art and culture and uses them to unflinchingly tell the truth about this life and God’s redemption of it. It fosters a faith bold enough to incarnate the gospel in a shrinking and diverse world. There is something here for everyone on a spiritual pilgrimage to know God and live like Christ—Christian and non-Christian alike.

  1. Anonymous bmk said:

    This has long been needed. I look forward to it.

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