Friday, November 1

This Beautiful Mess by Rick McKinley

When teaching on Jesus, many look at his miracles and the parables he taught. In doing so, they often miss that his parables and teachings painted a picture of, ‘the kingdom of God.’  WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) was a common catch phrase in the 90’s, but there’s more to Jesus than what he would do. He described to us what God’s kingdom will be like. This look at the Kingdom is the heart of Rick McKinley’s book, which was originally published in 2006 and is now updated with 3 new chapters and a small group guide.

McKinley breaks his book into three parts, Discovering the Kingdom, Re-Visioning Life in the Kingdom, and Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom. In addition to exploring parts of the Gospels, McKinley takes examples from the present, using well know events as well as more personal ones, for illustrations, and they are consistently effective. At the end of each chapter is a poem that reflects the chapter.

While all three sections were interesting, I found the third section to be my favorite. His chapter, “Welcome the Child” examines Jesus telling the disciples to be like little children. It is a great look at what it might mean for us to be like children. After this, I also enjoyed the chapter, “Stamp of the Empire.” This chapter examines what it means to be kingdom thinking people in our current political culture.

Not everything in this book will be easy to hear by everyone. Those who have politicized the church may not like some of what McKinley has to say. For example:

“The Christians I know who experience persecution talk about going to pray around the flagpole at their high school and risking someone throwing an arrange at them. Others who suffer more dramatically (let’s say they survive a kidnapping in Afghanistan or Columbia) come home famous. They get on TBN or talk to Katie Couric, book deal already in hand. The American church doesn’t produce martyrs; we produce celebrities. Yet in many parts of the world, suffering is a way of life for those who follow Christ.”

Not all of it is easy to hear, but McKinley doesn’t set out to attack anyone. Rather, he tries to show them why he believes they may be error and what Jesus outlined as being a part of the Kingdom of God.

While at times a few chapters seem mildly repetitive, McKinley writes in an easy to read way. If you are looking for a detailed scholarly book, this may not be the one for you, but This Beautiful Mess still paints a vivid picture of what the Kingdom of God might look like and what we can do to become Kingdom people.

4/5 Stars

I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books 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

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