A theology professor asks believers to examine their notions about happiness and success, and exposes the self-centered decisions that lead us into every vice, helping us replace our false beliefs about the good life with narratives about life in the kingdom of God.Publishers Description
"I have never met a person whose goal was to ruin his or her life. We all want to be happy, and we want it all of the time." So begins James Bryan Smith in The Good and Beautiful Life. The problem is, he tells us, we have bought into false notions of happiness and success. These self-centered decisions lead us further into the vices that cause ruin: anger, lust, lying, worry and judging. Eventually we find ourselves living a beautifully packaged life of self-destruction. Following the Sermon on the Mount, this follow-up toThe Good and Beautiful God guides us to look behind these character flaws and to replace our false beliefs with Jesus' narratives about life in the kingdom of God.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.4" Width: 5.7" Height: 1.2"
Weight: 1.05 lbs.
Release Date Jan 30, 2010
Publisher IVP-InterVarsity Press
Availability 3 units.
Availability accurate as of Nov 19, 2017 04:35.
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
|Great part 2 Apr 22, 2010|
|We are currently using the book in a women's Sunday School class and really benefiting from it! The first book laid a good foundation and we are excited to have another installment. I especially appreciate the soul-training exercises which move the thoughts from one's head to one's heart and hopefully, help make real life transformation possible.|
|A spiritual study guide that offers opportunities for soul training Apr 19, 2010|
|The Good and Beautiful Life: Putting On the Character of Christ isn't just another Biblical treatise: it's a spiritual study guide that offers opportunities for soul training, reinforcing biblical messages and encouraging small group discussions and interactions with other spiritual leaders. It adds to the Apprenticeship series to help Christians experience change through spiritual formation and continues the work begun in THE GOOD AND BEAUTIFUL GOD: picks for any Christian library.|
|A Helpful Guide for the Christian Journey Feb 22, 2010|
|This book is a gem. While the cover design is aesthetically pleasing, the pages contain great stories, and the theological prose is enjoyable and accessible, of foremost importance for the prospective reader is that in The Good and Beautiful Life we have a fantastic resource for the transformation of human character into the likeness of Christ. The second in a series of three, this book is yet another valuable resource for those on the Christian journey, and perhaps even for those outside the Christian faith seeking to learn more about where the Christian life might lead.|
Throughout this series of books Smith cogently argues that "we live at the mercy of our ideas and our narratives," and it is through this lens the content of our spiritual lives is examined and then challenged. Each chapter within this installment presents a common narrative that many people hold that leads to anger, lust, lying, vindictive competitiveness, vainglory, avarice, worry, or judgmentalism, and then challenges that narrative through the life and teachings of Jesus. Smith relies on Jesus's teachings in the Sermon on the Mount as paramount for instilling the virtues that oppose these vices, reinforcing the Jesus narratives with an accompanying spiritual practice. In this book, those practices are writing a letter to God, play, hospitality, keeping the Sabbath, a media fast, silence, praying for the success of competitors, secret service, deaccumulation, prayer, a day without gossip, and living one day devotionally. The practices are simple, yet powerful, and the instructions Smith provides are very easy to follow.
I found this book to be an excellent follow up to the first volume in The Apprentice Series, building well upon the ideas presented in The Good and Beautiful God. As is the case with each of these books, the teachings contained therein are best read and lived within a community, and thus this could be an excellent resource for a book club, a small group, a Sunday school class, or even as a touchstone for a church-wide initiative. As is obvious, I strongly recommend it, believing that this book and the accompanying volumes are invaluable sources of wisdom for the building up of the church today.
|An invitation to the good life Jan 28, 2010|
|Smith opens the second book in the Apprentice Series like this:|
"The great preacher and founder of the Methodist movement, John Wesley (1703-1791), was once approached by a man who came to him in the grip of unbelief. "all is dark; my thoughts are lost," the man said to Wesley, "but I hear that you preach to a great number of people every night and morning. Pray, what would you do with them? Whither would you lead them? What religion do you preach? What is it good for?"
Wesley gave this answer to those questions:
"You ask, what would I do with them? I would make them virtuous and happy, easy in themselves, and useful to others. Whither would I lead them? to heaven, to God the judge, the lover of all, and to Jesus the mediator of the New Covenant. What religion do I preach? the religion of love. the law of kindness brought to light by the gospel. What is this good for? to make all who receive it enjoy God and themselves, to make them like God, lovers of all, contented in their lives, and crying out at their death, in calm assurance, "O grave where is thy victory! thanks be to God, who giveth me victory, through my Lord Jesus Christ."
Smith lays out four components of change: the mind, disciplines, community and the Holy Spirit. But he recognizes that the dominant content of the mind is found in stories: narratives that make up the content and texture of our personal histories. The change agent is the Holy Spirit. Smith writes,
"The Spirit leads us to Jesus, reveals the Father, exposes falsehood, offers correction, and gives us the needed encouragement that make growth and transformation possible. The Spirit helps us change our narratives by leading us into truth, enlightens us as we practice the disciplines, and binds us together in community. If not for the work of the Holy Spirit, transformation simply will not take place. But we must participate in this process. By serious reading and reflection, by practicing the spiritual exercises and by entering into community, we create the condition in which the Spirit can transform our character."
He offers a triangle diagram to represent the relationship of these four components, with the Holy Spirit in the center. In the place of "MIND" on the top point he writes, "Personal Narratives." Brilliant I think, and an easy connection to the current generation who live in the constructivist world (and echoes of Taylor's 'social imaginary').
Smiths' gift is to translate the sometimes weighty work of Dallas Willard in practical ways without watering down the theological foundation. A needed bit of work and so far a great series.
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