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Jesus said the world would know us by our love for one another. Yet, it's so easy to put others at arm's length, lash out, and put up walls. In One: Unity in a Divided World, Deidre Riggs shows readers that when they are secure in the love of Jesus, they are free to lavish others with love, as well. By offering up his life for us, he not only purchased us salvation, but also provided an example for us to follow.
Noteworthy: This author is one of a special group of women who writes for (in)courage, the popular online friendship community. Every day they take turns pulling up a chair to share their stories of what Jesus looks like in their every day, gloriously ordinary, and often messy lives.
If you read the (in)courage blog online, then you'll be sure to enjoy this title.
Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: Baker Books
Publication Date: 2017
|Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)|
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In One, Riggs shows readers that when Jesus offered himself up in our place, he was not only purchasing our salvation but also setting an example for us to follow. She helps readers understand that they are secure in God's inexhaustible love, making them free to love others lavishly--not just in what they do but in what they say, what they don't say, what they will endure, and what they will forgive.
Anyone who longs for unity in the church, in their family, and in their community will find in this book both inspiring examples of loving done well and encouragement to begin the often unnoticed hard work of building bridges with those around them.
muffinHonea Path, SCAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Great Book on UnityMay 12, 2017muffinHonea Path, SCAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5"One" by Deidra Riggs is a great book on unity and on building more bridges rather than walls with each other. Deidra goes in depth on how to do this. She focuses on how we need to show love and grace to each other rather than segrate ourselves from each other. I love what she wrote about reconciliation: "Reconciliation invites everyone to the table. All of us, even those we wouldn't have necessarily chosen to invite. And isn't that the point? We are not in charge of the guest list. We are guests along with everyone else." I love this! This really made me look at reconciliation in a different light. We are all the same! There were so many thought provoking statements in this book. Deidra writes in a very easy to read style. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
I received this book from Baker Books for my honest opinion.
Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5God Bless the Whole World -- No ExceptionsMay 5, 2017Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I started listening to NPR a few years ago because I had entered a season of needing to hear a different voice, of wanting to listen to viewpoints and encounter opinions that I did not share. In these days of challenging conversations around politics and race, its important for me to remember that I am called to love, to trade my litmus tests for conversations with real people. In navigating the deep divides within the church on everything from immigration and the role of women to worship style and the definition of family, more than ever the body of Christ must be the force that passes through our differences all the way to grace. Deidra Riggs reminds me in ONE that Unity in a Divided World must be an intentional thing, something that we pray for and work toward. Jesus modeled this focused attention in His prayer recorded in Johns Gospel:
20 I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
This begs the question for this middle-aged, stodgy, and opinionated soul: Can I love my neighbor without being concerned about whether [my] neighbor is right? King Solomon and Parker J. Palmer invite me into a Third Way in which my soul hears well and is, therefore, enabled to choose the God-honoring, others-serving path that may go against the grain.
Ambassadors of Unity
Deidra traces the path of reconciliation that leads to oneness, urging readers:
to ask challenging questions about our motives for living toward the homogeneous and the safe;
to offer and to seek forgiveness;
to continually remind one another that we are one.
The Two Chairs
Whenever people come together, there are two chairs in the room. One is the seat of justice, and the other is the seat of mercy. Only God has the credentials to sit in both of those seats and perfectly administer both justice and mercy, (64) and while we may crave justice, it is critical to recall that God does not ignore our broken hearts when He invites us to sit in the seat of mercy and to view life from the perspective of someone who has wronged us. (75)
When Jesus prayed for his followers (present and future), He would not have been blindsided by the fact that an outcome of His magnificent creativity would be uniqueness manifested in differences of opinions. It would be alarming if we all walked in lockstep on every issue.
Oneness is not about conforming.
Oneness is about transforming. (97)
The oneness that Jesus prayed for us is bigger than our position on an issue or our political affiliation. The challenge is to love well especially if disagreements make love an unlikely thing, for then the radical love of God is put on display.
Going to Ferguson
Because her heart was broken, and because she needed to see the fallout from the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Deidra boarded a plane and spent three days in the sweltering heat, living in the midst of the tragedy and joining in the lament. Two years later, when Alton Sterling was killed, she used the internet as a virtual gathering place in which the Prayers of the People became an invitation to come together around shared grief. Looking squarely at tragedy, acknowledging together that we live in the space between what is and what will be can be the starting place for God-initiated transformation leading to oneness in heart and in mind.
Like Deidra, I am the bologna in a generational sandwich. Mine comprises an elderly mother on one side, and on the other, a range of adult and teen sons. Add to this a quest for a vibrant marriage, ministry, blogging, and the occasional cup of tea with a friend, and the tendency is to fragment, bringing only part of the self to each aspect of life. Unity in a divided world requires personal and internal oneness which brings a screeching halt to the sacred/secular dichotomy and nullifies the requirement that I be all things to all people. Only Jesus can do that, and it turns out that His prayer in John 17 is a prayer for integrity, a hearts cry from the Son to the Father against the massive fault line that runs through the center of my soul. (156)
The unity that Jesus prayed for among those who believingly follow Him is a product of the oneness within each follower. (157) Spiritual integrity de-emphasizes lines of division, assuring our hearts that all of life is sacred. We care for and respect our one-and-only heart through radical practices of grace, going home to our roots for restoration, and recalibrating our perspective through regular observance of Sabbath (which Eugene Peterson defines this way: Take nothing for granted. And do it every week.)
Gathered under Gods loving wings, may we look around us at all those within His vast circumference and find, to our great surprise, that this is what it means to be One; that this shared protection and provision is proof that God loves the whole world and delights in each one of us no exceptions.
This book was provided by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Deuce SkunksSpringfield, MOAge: 25-34Gender: Female4 Stars Out Of 5Are You Willing To Lay Down Your Life To Bridge The Differences That Tear Us Apart?May 3, 2017Deuce SkunksSpringfield, MOAge: 25-34Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5At first glance, One: Unity In A Divided World by Deidra Riggs seems to be a book about racial separation, particularly within the church and Christian community. While this may, in fact, be the core message at the roots of this book, Deidra expands on the notion of unity beyond just those racial lines and into areas that tend to blur the vision of most Christian churches today.
She explains that not only are we called to love fellow Christians, but also those whom we view as different from us, those who go against the grain of our personal identity.
"I have to be just as willing to lay down my life for the terrorist, the sex offender, the drug trafficker, and the rogue politician as I am for the terrorized, the trafficked, the marginalized, and the disenfranchised." (page 163)
With this profound concept, comes the realization that the purpose of our time here on earth is to bring unity and love to others so they may experience a relationship with God through us. We can't do that if we're not sharing God's love with every person whose life we touch. Every person.
"We have one true enemy, and it is not one another. If we get distracted from that, we do the enemy's work for him. If we look at other human beings, no matter how much we may disagree with them, and label them as "evil" or the "enemy," then we have missed the point. We have fallen into a trap." (page 188)
Deidra invites us to cross the lines that keep us from loving one another. It doesn't mean to forget those things we don't agree with, but it means to see each person as the person God sees them as - a child of God - His son or daughter - our brothers and sisters. They may be lost. They may have wandered from His path. But it becomes our job to light their path so they can find their way home.
I love that Deidra writes from her heart and personal experiences. She shows us her faults and asks us to love her anyway. One is a great book for anyone looking to expand their understanding of God's desires for us in relation to one another. It's written in an easy-to-read format, even for those new to this path. Includes a study guide in the back with questions for each chapter. 4/5 stars.
*Disclaimer: I received a free print copy of this book from Baker Books, for the purpose of this honest review. All opinions are my own.*
RachelWhitehall, PAAge: 25-34Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5A Chance to Let Unity Simmer in Your MindApril 14, 2017RachelWhitehall, PAAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0If you like Ann VosKamp or the writing style of (in)courage.me than you will love this book.
If you are still torn up inside by the division in our nation after last year's election or because of the police/Black Lives Matter issues, then you will feel refreshed by this book.
Neither of the above is true for me. This is not the type of book that I would normally be drawn to, but on the back cover, there was a sentence about how too often we keep each other at arm's length. That grabbed my attention.
This book let the idea of unity and oneness simmer in my brain and convicted me of some places in my life that I was letting my opinions become part of my identity instead of allowing my identity to rest solely in Jesus Christ.
The book also revealed how to react to other's positions when they differ from your own. Namely, when we don't get our positions confused with our identity, then we can respect other people's opinions as part of their journey rather than dismissing the person's worth along with their differing opinion.