This book is an interesting piece of writing. It brings the relationship that Christianity should be about, yet is in the back of most of our minds, and it shoves it to the forefront as essential and commanded. Leonard Sweet simply puts it that what’s missing is, “a deepening relationship to God“. He goes on to ask a stabbing question which I’m not sure that many have considered. “Is christianity a proprietary doctrine of the church, or is it a continuation of Jesus’s ministry on earth and an embodiment of his spirituality? Is Christianity a method and strategy, or is it a community with throbbing hearts, bleeding hearts, broken hearts, hearts bound together by and in God?”
That statement seems to lay down a foundation of what our relationship should be, not only to the church, but to each other and ultimately to God. We live in a society where we as the people of God follow celebrity pastors, have church via podcast, visit our drive through Starbucks, all while in our pajamas and rejecting a meaningful and sustainable relationship with our neighbors. What should matter to us as image bearers of God is to be in relationships which reflect the image of him whose glory we radiate. This truth is best spelled out in this stunning sentence which really helped me to grasp this truth firmly. “To speak the truth about God, you must know God. And to know God you must love God. And to love God you must be in a relationship with God….The primary relationship of life is a relationship with the one true and holy God. Everything else follows.”
This book was helpful in my understanding of what our lives should look like when living under the relation-based kingdom of God. Sweet handles this topic with scriptural truth and clarity. It’s an easily readable handbook on relationships and for further study includes a helpful section filled with questions for contemplation and small-group resources. What I also thought was helpful was that Sweet takes his readers beyond the Christian bubble to how we should interact with God’s Story, the Word, and those outside of the faith family. He led me to a position which I had been rejecting, that of being a lover of my neighbor with the love Christ has given me.
I recommend this book to all who would claim that they have a relationship with Christ. If you long to have a deeper relationship with Christ and his church then I encourage you to pick up this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above from Waterbrook Multnomah’s Blogger Review Program for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”