(This is the next segment in a book I agreed to read and review, Beauty In The Wreckage: Finding Peace In The Age Of Outrage, by Brandon Andress, scheduled to be released October 9. If you haven’t seen my review of Chapter 1, you can find it HERE; find Chapter 2 HERE; Chapter 3 HERE; Chapter 4 HERE; Chapter 5 HERE; Chapter 6 HERE, Chapter 7 HERE, Chapter 8 HERE, and Chapter 9 HERE. Watch for the rest of the chapter reviews today. Order your copy starting Oct. 9)
When Shalom Goes Forth
I’ve mentioned throughout the first nine chapters how Brandon finds eternal truths in analogies using ordinary things. He has even opened my eyes through these analogies. But here in this last chapter, Brandon reveals a different side: that of a Teller Of Parables. He adds his own unique perspective to a parable that was told some 400 years before Jesus came on the scene by Plato. He weaves a story and shares a powerful truth like no one, well, except the Master Teller of Parables, Jesus.
Unlike other books on this subject, Brandon brings it home with the challenge for the reader to step away from the old reality of chaos and pain, and into the Beauty of Shalom. Many other books talks about the problems, but Brandon offers us solutions that undoubtedly lead us into God’s Shalom, provided we take no short-cuts. Brandon presents no such short-cuts; rather a life long process that doesn’t depend on what we see or feel but depends on the everlasting Grace of God and His unfailing Love.
He challenges us to live out our lives in a new narrative that both acknowledges the pain in our world and how The Healer takes us on a journey of transformation, if we extend to Him the invitation to join in our pain. It is through this one step at a time that we see that Shalom is not a pipe dream, but God’s Dream for each of us. But Brandon insists time and time again, that the choice is ours. God has made His choice and it is for us, not to be against us.
And now it is up to us. It will not always be easy, this path OF Shalom, but it will be worthwhile, for you, your community, and our culture. Shalom isn’t what we hold, rather it is what pours our from us. Shalom is that living water that pours out of our hearts and it spills into the messiness of life as it happens–to us and others.
As much as I have written about Brandon’s raw honesty, I must be honest with you the reader. This last chapter….it left me in a paradox, a tension (borrowing one of Brandon’s key words) if you would. I was relieved that this project was about to end…. but now the tension of the paradox….I’m left wanting another chapter, as if I could survive another chapter. Brandon, know that I meant this in the best way…..and for you who are about to begin reading this book on Oct. 9, you will begin to understand my paradox. This will be a book you will need to go back to again and again. I know I will, and I will go back to it again. And there’s that “Tension” already building up….wanting to read it, but know it will challenge me with the word of Forrest Gump, “Again”!
Love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the Glory goes to HIM!