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5 Stars Out Of 5
An intelligent book, by a brilliant writer ...
March 7, 2014
When I finished reading my review copy of "Futureville" last night, I couldn't go right to sleep. My mind kept racing with all the people I could think of who I would like to tell about this book.
You're one of those people!
That's because "Futureville," written by Skye Jethani (published by Nelson Books), is one of those important books that people will be impacted by in a way they will tell their friends about it and pass along their edition.
But "Futureville" is so layered with meaning that it can be difficult to describe. An easy approach is to say that Jethani begins with the critical premise that what we believe about the future directly impacts --- in a powerful way --- our lives today. Yet, the book isn't about the future, as the author makes clear from the very beginning of this book.
Jethani writes from the start, "This book is not about the future. It is about the present. It is about determining what sort of life is truly meaningful. It is about rethinking the way we relate to the world and our purpose within it. How we decide what matters today, however, cannot be separated from what we believe about tomorrow."
Like a delightful and delicious seven-layer cake, Jethani serves up some intelligent, even brilliant biblical teaching that layers one important thought upon another until a whole dessert of sound theology is served up.
From his initial premise, the author identifies and describes three key positions from which we look at the future --- evolution, evacuation, and resurrection --- and how those positions determine how we live today. Factored into those views is the ever important but largely neglected theology of vocation. Then layered upon that is an understanding of order, beauty, and abundance. As the author writes his way through these layers of teaching, you'll identify with where the church has gone wrong, and what a more accurate biblical view would be. In the process, some people who have entrenched themselves with certain shallow theological positions will politely find their toes stepped on, but in a way that will positively challenge them to take a closer look at what scripture actually says.
"Futureville" is, happily, not a theologically shallow book like so many written by megachurch pastors whose more trite sermon series have been converted into a paperback. Instead, Jethani takes his time to intelligently establish his points. But this book isn't written for theologians; it's easy-to-understand style leads any reader from a significant premise to a thorough and profound conclusion.
Jethani is establishing himself as a brilliant writer who authors intelligent works that offer important contributions to our thinking. His last book, "With," was also excellent and worth making time to read (you can find my review of that book here http://bit.ly/1qgfzkn). "Futureville" is more than a book I can recommend, it is a book I can endorse. I encourage you to buy it and and linger long in the significant lessons you'll find within it.
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookLook book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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."
I personally found this book interesting and slightly thought-provoking. It was not until I finished reading this book that I realized, really realized, that how we act in the present really affects how we perceive our future. In essence, if we believe our future is bright, we will be filled with hope and enthusiasm for today - no matter what.
Your vision of tomorrow shapes your life today - your choices, your work, and your friends. "How we live today is defined by what we think about tomorrow," Jethan writes.
Using the backdrop of the 1939 New York World's Fair, he looks at how modernity's belief in progress and evolution has influenced Christians' view of the future. Christians thought they could help the world progress but WW I brought a sense of reality. He then explores the influence of God's future judgment, especially the idea of a safe evacuation. The emphasis on the anticipated destruction of the present world had great impact on the types of occupations Christians chose. A kind of disengagement with the world resulted.
Jethani finds a way between evolution and its emphasis on human progress and evacuation and its focus on leaving everything up to God. He suggests resurrection - what we do today endures to the age to come. Our present work really does matter for now and eternity. He covers the role of beauty and artistic vocations. He looks at the role in God's plan of those in the marketplace as well.
Jethani has great insight into the trends and practices in Christianity. I understand much better now the influence world events and prophetic Scripture has had on our Christian practice. I thoroughly appreciated his section on beauty. Anyone who questions the role of art in Christianity needs to read that section. I also really liked his discussion on Christians in business and their role in God's kingdom. It gave me a new understanding of the parable of the talents.
Jethani writes, "Futureville captures my thoughts about how we are to relate to God's world." (194) I am impressed with his insight. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to understand how their work relates to God's plan for today and the future.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
If a meaningful life is one spent participating in God's mission in the world, then our sense of hope and purpose is the product of our vision of the futureÃ¢â¬âhence the title, Futureville.
In the first chapter, the author takes us back to the 1939 New York World's Fair, illustrating how the vision of a brighter tomorrow encouraged people at the close of the Great Depression.
This book was prompted by the author's concern that "those within the church are being inoculated to the gospel . . .approaching God from a posture of control predicated on fear, rather than one of faith flowing from love."
Futureville, contrary to its title, is a book about the present and how Christians can relate to an increasingly changing world. Current debates about social justice, pluralism, mission and vocation, cause many to wonder what faithful engagement with the world should look like.
While fewer young people attend local churches, many are increasingly committing themselves to social action. All are struggling to know how to live in an increasingly pluralistic society.
This book is a great follow up to Jethani's earlier book, With, Reimagining The Way You Relate to God, which centers on personal faith. In Futureville he discusses the importance of our work in the world, even if we are called to secular pursuits, rather than organized Christianity.
Futureville will make you think! It may challenge some of your currently-held views of what the future will look like. Will the earth evolve into something better, or are we all going to evacuate?
I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook, Harper Collins Publishing and I was not required to give a positive review.
Carole Ledbetter, author of "Who Am I Now? Growing Through Life's Changing Seasons"