Sunday, August 07, 2016

book review: slow kingdom coming

title: Slow Kingdom Coming: Practices for Doing Justice, Loving Mercy and Walking Humbly in the World
author: kent annan
publisher: ivp
year: 2016

Pursuing justice is not easy. It's often a very challenging and difficult road with many obstacle
Kent Annan in "Slow Kingdom Coming" highlights what he has learned from over 20 years of trying to live faithfully.

We are all called to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly in the world, persevering until God's kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven.

The Kingdom of God is hear but not yet. We know that the vision is one of justice—all wrongs put right, swords into plowshares, and all tears wiped from each and every eye. However, the "not yet" of the Kingdom of God means that the work for justice remains exhausting work. The poor are among us, there is violence all around, racism is sickening alive, systems, even ones which are supposed to help, still grind up the marginalized. 

Lord have mercy. Lord come quickly. We pray for and work for and long for God's Kingdom to  come, but it often feels like it doesn't come fast enough.

Kent Annan in his book, extols practices which will sustain us as we work for justice. He calls us to Attention, Confession, Respect, Partnering, and Truthing. It's a simple, humble, and healthy way to serve. It seems slower at times, and so the title of the book, but it will be far more effective.

"Slow Kingdom Coming" is rooted in Annan's own experience of working for justice, particularly in Haiti, where he serves as a co-director for Haiti Partners.

This isn't a typical spiritual disciplines book, but it is about reorienting ourselves so that our work for justice is lived from a right center. These five practices bleed into one another and it is hard to say where one starts and another ends. 

When we do partner in mission, we need to get beyond "rescue partnership" and "fixit partnership" and aim for "equal agency partnership" and "partnering together with God." Partnerships, especially between North American churches and third-world Christians, need to be based on mutual respect and listening. We in North America must avoid the arrogance and preconceived notions that have marked missions. Take the long view. Don't force things. Above all, listen. And make sure that God is a partner in every endeavor.

"Slow Kingdom Coming" is a great book: insightful, introspective, mission oriented and inspiring. I would recommend it for anyone who is serious about participating in the slow yet wonderful work of God's redemption in the world. I plan on re-reading it as I deepen my engagement with the needs of the world and participate in God's story of bringing justice to the world.

In the final chapter, Annan writes, “For the kingdom to come it’s crucial we lose to God our claim of ownership. Then we can be faithful stewards of God’s kingdom.”  

This book was reviewed for Mike Morrell's Speakeasy group.

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