The sub-title, frankly, is the reason I picked up the book. “Reimagining tomorrow,” is what, I believe, a good vision accomplishes. The question posed to the reader of Futureville by Skye Jethani is this: does Jethani paint a compelling vision? My answer is a resounding ‘hmmm…well…yes….no…maybe so”. Let me explain.
I found myself nodding often and this topic is near and dear to my own heart and mission. Jethani explains in thematic ways key points related to a kingdom view of the world. He touches on justice, vocation, creation, and the arts and ties all this together with God as initiated, author, artist, mentor, and LORD. So, there is much here to benefit from and much good to be reminded of.
On page 67, Jethani writes a phrase that I want to paste on the desk of every leader. He writes that, “Every vision of the future determines how we relate to the world by giving us hope and purpose.” This is huge! And this shouldn’t be glossed over. Jethani has some brilliant quotes here. Another keeper is a bit longer but worth it: “We have a role to play in God’s plan to unite heaven and earth, to advance the story of the world to culmination, and to see the earth cultivated in to the garden city. In other words, God’s original intent for humanity has been restored in us through Jesus Christ,” (97).
Jesus fulfilled the mission of God and by ‘advancing the story of the world to culmination’ we are participating in a grander narrative than we often realize. With that said, Jethani’s book won’t get read by the average person because, frankly, it remains an intellectual exercise in thinking about Kingdom life rather than pulling back the curtain on Kingdom life. And this is ok, but Jethani assumes a great deal of vocabulary and theological acumen on the part of his audience.
I also found the illustrations to be a bit distant from the author. Not a bad thing, just distant and less personal. What happens if Jethani gets closer to the reader? What if he explained the same ideas to farmers or factory workers, would the tone change?
The latter, confessionally, is my upbringing. My mom still does people’s laundry and my dad mows lawns. I was the first to attend a University in our immediate family and can appreciate where Jethani is headed, but Futureville is too important to only talk to a certain segment of the population. I hope the author continues to expound this theme. I don’t think we talk about the coming Kingdom enough and for that, Jethani’s reminders are welcome and worth it.
(Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com® <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers 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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