(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, and Chapter 8 HERE. Watch for the rest of the chapter reviews today. Order your copy starting Oct. 9)
Life As Community
Of all that is missing in our culture which has produced this ad nauseam stream of chaos, fear and hate, Brandon makes no excuse for what is needed to experience Shalom: Living in community TOGETHER, not apart. And though I’ve said it multiple times, his use of analogies continues to reinforce this powerful message found in page after page of this book. He reminds us how much we need to learn from the trees.
Community is found in relationships and those fractured relationships in our lives serves only to further fracture our communities. Brandon realistically share that while not all broken relationships can be restored, it should not keep us from trying to restore our sense of community. Shalom IS personal, but it is also communal. Thanks, Brandon, for reminding us of this. Brandon also reminded me that God longs for restoration of our relationships with each other more than He longs for our worship of Him.
Brandon presents the need for Community Shalom through Jesus’ own words about who was His mother, brother and sisters. Can you image the change that would happen across communities if people we focused on Shalom through restored relationships. But, alas, it seems so many would rather remain broken–yet they wonder what happened to Shalom. If this is you, then you need to read this book–WITH an open mind; otherwise the truth will never resonate with you.
And to keep us aware of our present reality, Brandon interweaves personal stories of how Shalom is threatened and how Shalom can still exist in spite of these interruptions. I would call Brandon a Spiritual Realist; he sees with clarity the God Shalom but he also sees what gets in our way of Shalom. But he is never defeated by those things that happen, those things we do, that disrupts Shalom; and neither should we! There is comfort in numbers, as Brandon reminds us, when our roots are deep in God and connected with each other. Even when that “other” person falls and falls hard.
And Shalom in our culture as a reality? It looks messy–and it is messy. But Brandon never gives up on the hope and TRUTH, that Shalom doesn’t depend on what’s happening around, to us or in us. It does depend on the faithfulness of God, and the readiness of His People to act with and in SHALOM!
Love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the Glory goes to HIM!