The Taser's Edge

Tuesday Reading Roundup

Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just
by Timothy Keller (Dutton, 2010)

Confession: I am incredibly prejudiced against evangelicals in America.  (That is, I am a self-hating evangelical, and I’m surprised I just used that word to describe myself, even though it is largely accurate.)  I went into reading this book expecting to hate it.

Actually, I am currently hoping that some day I can write a book like Keller wrote this one.  At about halfway through, he’s showed how clearly pastoral he is, yet how clearly he knows that the church needs to hear a rebuke alongside a call to God’s work of justice.  He writes very engagingly and accessibly, is clearly well-read (a beautiful eclecticism from Walter Rauschenbusch to Jonathan Edwards to Nicholas Wolterstorff to Joel B. Green to Elaine Scarry to David L. Chappell to Mark Gornik to Gustavo Gutiérrez to Craig Blomberg to Robert A. Caro to William Julius Wilson to D.A. Carson to etc.) yet doesn’t care if you know it, and as he talks about complicated issues, he never dumbs himself down.

Please, please, if you write a book for a popular audience, don’t dumb things down.  Clarify and write simply, yes, but do not, do not, do not dumb things down.

So thank you, Pastor Keller, for this book.  It’s perfect for discussions in churches among people who need to hear God’s call to ministries of justice but have thus far had a hard time hearing it (which is the exact reason I’m reading it).

One nit I have to pick thus far, and we will see how it goes, is that Keller seems to be skittish about using the p-word, namely politics.  Yet unless something major shifts in how rich and poor relate to each other (by definition, this is a political happening), the champagne glass will stay beautiful.

Other books I’ve still been slowly chipping away at:

  • Just Kids by Patti Smith
  • Radical Optimism by Beatrice Bruteau
  • A bunch of articles on Micah 6:1-8, which I’m preaching on this coming Sunday (the title, at least as it will be printed in the bulletin: “Companioning with God”)