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on 17 September 2013
In this book of three chapters Tom Wright critiques modern society and shares a Christian perspective. Whilst it is written by a Christian for Christians much of his critique would be shared by many a thinking atheist.

Tom declares that this world is intrinsically good, created by a good God who works within creation to heal the wrongs in it. In contrast, our modern society is riddled with two neo-Gnostic errors that treat this world as intrinsically bad: (1) a belief that there are multiple conspiracies to keep true knowledge from us, and (2) this world is so bad that God needs to sort out our ills from outside creation, even Armageddon would be welcomed and in the meantime religion is a means to escape this nasty world, which it does not matter if we ecologically lay waste. Note the popularity respectively of The Da Vinci Code, and the Left Behind series from the Christian right.

We are reminded that the powerful use power to retain it and do this (1) by making us believe that our vote every few years is all the power we need, (thus democracy is deemed vital even though in reality a good dictatorship can be better than a corrupt democracy) and (2) by stating that because religion and politics do not mix Christians need not call the powerful to account. But this is God's world, all of it, and Jesus is Lord, not just for personal salvation, but for all creation, and his Lordship is not just about how things are but also about how things will be in God's Kingdom.

Finally we note the postmodern challenge to life, where all truth and power is suspect and relative. In society truth is the other side of the coin from power, so power is wielded to determine what is true, even to the extent of ignoring, opposing or destroying other views. In contrast Christ's power is love at work and is more about yielding than wielding. It is a demonstration of what God is doing - judging the world, not in order to condemn it, but to redeem it.

My only negative point is that it would have helped to have some examples to illustrate how I could ground all the theory into what I could do personally. That said, this is a book that simply ought to be read. Like all the best books it is all common sense and obvious, and you wish that you had got round to writing it. Thankfully Tom Wright did.
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on 19 October 2013
Gnosticism has plagued the Church from the time of Jesus. The rise of modernism took the challenge to a different level & although around for several centuries, the guise it has taken in the Church in recent times has taken it onto a new plane - "I have special knowledge that can take me to new levels of spirituality - just follow me & you can have it too." The rise of postmodernism was as a counter to this but Tom Wright points out the dangers of this becoming a new version of Gnosticism. He encourages one to get back to how Jesus dealt with 'empire' which is still a active reality in the 21st Century.
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on 2 January 2014
As always, Tom gets under the surface issues of Christianity and challenges the shibboleths and accepted positions on the way things are, but in a gracious way. Be prepared to be challenged.
I have started reading this book a second time, because quite frankly, I did not understand it all at first reading. In my experience Tom's literary style is not straight forward reading. He is not CS Lewis. I think in most of his writings Tom assumes too much prior knowledge in the reader. In this book the key word for following his discussion is 'gnosis' or 'gnostic,' which is not a common word for most of us in our everyday vocabulary and thinking. Looking up a definition in a dictionary is not enough to follow his discussion. Of course, if his target audience is the academic or intellectual who have done a 101 class on gnosticism then no problem.
For all that, read and reread this book, it has an important message for western Christianity.
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on 5 October 2013
At a time when parts of our world are enduring civil war, when Christianity is being pushed to one side by secularism, Tom Wright brings us this thought-provoking volume. It is inspirational and certainly inspired me as a local preacher. The most poignant point that we should be praying for peaceful and stable leadership.
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on 2 November 2013
I loved this book, it gave a well argued and challenging approach to today's cultural confusion. I had to read it slowly to take all in, but it was worth the effort.
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on 20 May 2014
A reasonably good understanding of philosophy and Scripture required to get the most from this book. Found it pointed to some important connections but not sure about comments on Paul's political stance.
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on 25 December 2013
Tom Wright was my bishop and I admire his writing. This book fitted together well with Colin Tudge`s book `Why genes are not selfish and people are nice`. The world needs a totally new outlook on such things as economic growth, political power, &c. When Pilate asked `what is power?` Jesus in effect answered `what is truth?`
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on 11 May 2014
Tom Wright has written a clear and very readable book relevant to today. It lends itself well to be used as home group study material guaranteed to get people talking.
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on 9 May 2014
This is a book for those who are not locked into what they may have learned years ago, but want to keep a living faith in this present time.
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on 17 October 2014
Brilliant and thought provoking book by one of the nations best theological authors. Well worth reading more than once.
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