About the book:
Miller shares his thoughts on the beatitudes in the context of his own experiences and the experiences of others. This book is not a theological investigation of the beatitudes. It is Miller's personal journey through them based on his own experience.
Miller does not see the beatitudes as descriptive of what good Christians should be like. Rather, he sees them as paradoxes. We will never solves them but they do offer us a way forward. Jesus, Miller says, assumes a world fundamentally different from the world we live in. One paradox is experiencing God in the emptiness and void that results from our world breaking apart. Miller likens it to a mystical experience. The blessings promised in the beatitudes are not material but that we have access to the life of God in us.
Miller does include some investigation into the original language and historical meaning. Mostly this book contains stories and Miller's personal reflections. His main thesis seems to be that the blessing is found in the experiencing. For example, in Matt. 5:6, what we crave is actually felt in the hunger and in the thirst. In the hunger one finds the experience of God. Being hungry and thirsty for righteousness is the blessing.
Miller gives us an entirely different way to look at the beatitudes. This is a book for people who like reading stories, such as Miller's experiences. It will help us find God in the pain and emptiness we experience. I think this book would be best read within a trusted group as it deals with feelings that need to be processed more than teaching that needs to be intellectually assimilated.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
About the author:
Jason Adam Miller is the founder and lead pastor of South Bend City Church, an eclectic Christian community known for its thoughtful teaching, inclusive vision, and commitment to its city context. An advocate for artists and peacemakers, his work beyond South Bend focuses on cultural headwaters and conflict zones, where he serves an international constituency of leaders. He holds a master’s degree in theology from the University of Notre Dame.
(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)