Monday, May 18, 2020

Book Review: Saints, by Addison Bevere

So, who else is devouring books these days?

I started the year (remember January, when we thought we could make plans?) with a goal of reading 2 books a month, but I've quickly doubled that to 4!

Navigating lockdown has occupied a lot of my practical brain, so I'll admit that fiction is truly capturing my imagination right now. But that said, I'm so excited to share this brand new nonfiction with you today!

"Saints" is a word that brings up lots of images - holy people, living stained glass lives, very separate from us "normal" people. We imagine Victorian paintings, glowing halos, and gruesome martyr deaths.

Not really something most of us aspire to live out...

Addison Bevere thinks that, not only should we want to be Saints, but it's really the most authentic path of faith we could be following.

Did you know the word "Christians" is only used three times in the New Testament? But over 60 times, these new followers are called "Saints," which simply referred to those whose relationship with God is maintained through faith in Jesus.

By that definition, we're all saints.

But how do we reclaim a word with so much weight and history?

Saints is a brave new message to abandon our own ideas of goodness and faith, 
and ask the deeper questions of grace and glory.

I underlined half of this book and turned down so many pages I almost cracked the spine! Addison is calling us to rediscover who we truly are in Christ, and to create a new language for the living out of our faith. Saints captures a great balance between deep, meaty ideas and a relatable writing style. Before hearing the interview linked below, I'd never heard Addison speak, and yet, reading Saints felt like being in an inspiring conversation over frothy cappuccinos (anyone else missing cafes these days?)

There are so many great ideas in this book! I love Addison's thoughts on salvation as a "change of identity," holiness as otherness, and how we "undersell" grace. I actually couldn't stop thinking about this idea of a limited, "sloppy" grace, "devoid of imagination" that shortchanges both people and God.

 But this is probably my favourite sentence in the whole book:

"The greatest injustice facing our world today is 
our refusal to become the expression of Christ on the earth. 

Whoa... What a challenge to all of us, both as individuals and as communities of faith. 
What would the world look like if we changed our idea of how we express Christ? 
How would our priorities shift if we chose to fully express God's grace to a broken world? 
How many lives would be transformed if we simply reimagined who we are in Christ?

This is the challenge of Saints. 

Addison recently did a great interview with
 Johnny Rocket and Hollie Taylor of the Why Me Project. 
You can find the whole interview HERE.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

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