Different Eyes: The Art of Living Beautifully
In this very accessible little book, Steve Chalke and Alan Mann present a compelling vision of the Christian life, one that is, as indicated by the chapter titles, surprising, imaginative, revolutionary, chosen, distinctive, enlightened, countercultural and adventurous. What you will find in Different Eyes, however, is not something entirely new, but a popular and creative appropriation of virtue or character ethics grounded in narrative vision. Frequent quotations from Stanley Hauerwas, William Willimon, Alasdair McIntryre, William Spohn, and Samuel Wells reveal that Chalke and Mann desire to avoid Christian ethics based on rules and decisions and focus on virtues, habits and the narrative vision and community that sustain them.There is a growing consensus that this is the best way forward for Christian ethics, but I am sometimes chagrined by the lack of practical examples of how this approach plays out in daily life. Chalke and Mann are right to emphasize that Christian ethics is about everyday life, not just big issues and decisions, but then it is slightly ironic that they go on to discuss four case studieswar, wealth, homosexuality, and euthanasiaall of which are big issues in Christian ethics. So what about everyday living? What about our choice of food for breakfast, the way we interact with our co-workers, or the kind of car we drive?Overall, Different Eyes is on the right track, situating the discussion of beautiful living within the context of vision and virtue. I think the average reader, however, will be left wondering what it actually looks like to practice the art of living beautifully. How do we cultivate the Christian vision of reality? How do we develop gospel virtues? Answering these questions more adequately will help us discern how to live beautiful and distinctly in every area of life.
July 9, 2010
Different Eyes: The Art of Living Beautifully by Steve Chalke and Alan Mann is indeed a well-written read by an interesting writer.Chalke's text is divided into 4 parts, each containing 2 sections and covering current ethical topics such as crime and punishment, war and peace making, euthanasia and assisted living, consumerism and wealth, homosexuality and more. Each part contains a couple of letters written from opposing viewpoints, followed by discussion questions. Early in the book, Chalke discusses the context of God's relationship with his people in his giving of laws, and his intent in desiring His people to live a life holy and different from their surrounding neighbors and made some interesting points. Yet, as I read I wasn't so sure Chalke was giving many actual Scriptural guidelines for dealing with the ethical dilemmas of life. Although Chalke is certainly an able writer, I was uneasy with his theological leanings, eventually reading the last half of his book rather quickly. However, since this book contains many interesting stories as well as discussion questions in each chapter, some may still find it a good source for considering the ethical dilemmas of life or using in a classroom setting. This book was provided free for review by Zondervan.
April 14, 2010
I've always had an interest in ethics & the deeper issues in life. When I was given the opportunity to review Different Eyes, I was in! God's been showing me again & again that Jesus is all I need. Pastor Chalke makes this clear. I love this paragraph:The writers of the New Testament are clear. Gods character is fully, accurately and completely revealed in Jesus, who came, self-sacrificially served, died on the cross, rose again and sent the Holy Spirit to illume, empower, guard and guide us. If you are looking for a master class in ethics, an advanced course in moral formation, to key to living beautifully sign up here! Jesus is the picture of the way God is. (p. 52)Heres another example of how much we need Jesus:Our becoming moral persons truly Christ-like human beings is only made possible through a living relationship with his Spirit, who develops in us a moral character based on virtues that are at the heart of who God is, expressed in the life of Jesus. As Paul writes to the church at Galatia, Gods Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled (Galatians 5:22-23 CEV). (p. 61)This book covers some controversial topics War & Military Intervention, the Use of Wealth, Homosexuality, & Euthanasia & Assisted Dying. In each of these sections, there are 2 letters offering opposing viewpoints, as well as some questions to ponder or discuss with others.Overall, I gleaned a lot from this book; its right up my alley! Pastor Chalke is British, so he has a bent that is slightly more leftist than I am used to reading. I like to be exposed to different viewpoints; Jesus is not a Republican or a Conservative, after all! So I was appreciative he provided his perspective on Christianity - through his eyes.This book was provided to me by Zondervan for review purposes.Reviewed by Andrea Schultz Ponderings by Andrea
April 9, 2010