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Beautiful Resistance

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I recently was given Jon Tyson’s book, Beautiful Resistance, to read and review. It is another of those books where I found myself highlighting every page. While Jon covers a myriad of other disciplines in our lives, his chapter on the Sabbath made me realize that every Sunday should be like a taste of heaven. Just a little practice for what is to come. Never a drudgery but something we always look forward to. Here’s his taste of what heaven will be and what the Sabbath should be:
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This latest missive from New York City says, “Feel my pain.” The chapters are like strips of bandage putting the author Tyson back together. He writes that this treatment has worked for him and will work for you. The book itself is a work of beauty that has come out of a life filled with ashes. ...For ambitious New Yorkers, the reversals on the way to success can throw shade on one’s life. How does one carry on? Tyson says plant his seed of Beautiful Resistance, and you will see flowers growing under a heavenly light at the end of the tunnel.
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What are some aspects of American culture that you find yourself attempting to actively resist?
If you are an evangelical Christian, your mind might have drifted immediately to political issues such as abortion, Marxism, or some aspect of the sexual revolution. When I hear about resisting the culture, these are usually the issues that are discussed, and for good reason. But there is an issue with defining cultural resistance in this narrow way: it describes this resistance, intentionally or not, in political terms. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t talk about resistance in relation to these issues, because people who believe in historical Christianity absolutely should be resisting the culture in these ways. However, we need a more robust theology of Christian resistance. If we leave it in the political square and don’t let it transform our social and moral lives, we are not living like Jesus.
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Jon Tyson’s new book, Beautiful Resistance, is here to provide such a robust theology of Christian resistance. He opens with a short exploration of the witness of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, leader of the Christian resistance against Hitler’s Third Reich in Germany. Tyson writes: “I believe that what was true in the 1930s is true now. We live in a time when the church is compromising with the culture left, right, and center, and we’re losing our influence.” This requires both recognizing where our culture is causing us to drift away from God’s word and taking action to combat it. If you realize the lazy river is taking you the wrong direction, you can’t just sit there and expect it to change course by telling it to do so. You must swim in the other direction. Yes, God is responsible for making big changes, but as Tyson, quoting C.S. Lewis, writes early on:
God ‘seems to do nothing of Himself which He can possibly delegate to His creatures. He commands us to do slowly and blunderingly what He could do perfectly and in the twinkling of an eye.’
So how is the church compromising, and how do we regain our Christian influence? Here is just a taste of what Tyson has to say to us.
Worship must resist idolatry. “Worship is about the priorities of our hearts. Idols, then, are the wicked fruit of disordered loves.” What loves have you disordered in your life?
Hunger must resist apathy. “The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world.” Are your loves of worldly things creating apathy for the things of God? When is the last time you fasted, giving up earthly food to be completely satisfied by God’s presence?
Hospitality must resist fear. Tyson tells the story of a pastor who took a special offering to support the poor in their community:
In general, people gave money and a round of applause, but he was shaken by something else. Fear. One comment dealt a blow to his heart. “Those illegals are taking American jobs.” Seek first the kingdom of America, said Jesus never. Eliminate, assimilate, dominate, and demonize.
What in this world do you fear, and does it hurt your Christian witness?
4. Honor must resist contempt. “Believers get drawn into contempt in the realm of politics but find they cannot isolate the attitude from other areas of their hearts. It soon bleeds into the way we see our brothers and sisters inside the Christian community.” Do you hold contempt for someone, or maybe a whole group of people, because of the opinions they hold?
Each of these is an example of something which Christians must resist in our culture. Tyson has many more examples as well which both convicted me and caused me to reflect on how I can change my own life in response.
Beautiful Resistance is also providentially-timed for today’s Christian. I received the text of this book before the murder of George Floyd and the deep conversations about race (at least in my household) that have flowed out of that tragedy. But these issues are present throughout Tyson’s book, not only in the chapter named “Sacrifice Must Resist Privilege” (a wonderful Christian view on some of the terms you’ve heard tossed around the last few months) but also a section in his chapter on fasting. He writes:
I recently encountered the power of fasting and sacred assemblies while visiting a friend who was a part of a 24–7 prayer room in Atlanta. “What do you see God doing right now?” I asked her during my visit. “You’ve actually come at a really good time,” she explained. “We are in the middle of a forty-day fast because we have a sense that God wants to break the spirit of racism in Atlanta.” I was amazed — and a little taken aback. What an approach! I’m sure there were people petitioning the government and working on court cases and trying to create laws that addressed this problem — necessary and important work — but here was a group of people who had decided that the way to bring about change was to fast, to contend alongside God for tangible change in their city. “For a couple of years,” she continued, “a group of African American pastors has come together with white pastors in Atlanta, working through reconciliation. A well-known prophetic leader in the city gave a word that God wanted to break the spirit of racism in Atlanta, and this group of pastors took this word seriously.” This movement, OneRace, has brought together 560 pastors. They hosted a summit on top of Stone Mountain, Georgia, one of the central, historical locations of the KKK. It also happens to have the largest Confederate monument in the country, etched into the side of a cliff. The meeting at Stone Mountain was the climax of their prayer and fasting.
This movement was happening in January of 2020, and Christianity Today wrote about it then. Do you think it is a coincidence that such a powerful race race-relations movement enveloped the entire nation four months later? Or that after Minneapolis, where George Floyd was murdered, the next city to take up the cause was Atlanta? I don’t believe that it was a coincidence for a second. I believe that prayer and fasting are powerful, and the heart change we are seeing across the country is a direct effect of the beautiful resistance of Christians in Atlanta and across the nation.
Jon Tyson’s treatise is engaging and convicting from beginning to end. I hope that Christians, no matter the denomination or political tribe, will read it and take to heart what he has to say. Scripture is present throughout the entire book. It is the heart of the message and everything flows from it. That means the word of God is speaking, and I hope we will listen.
I received a review copy of Beautiful Resistance courtesy of Multnomah Books and NetGalley, but my opinions are my own.
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I've followed Jon for a few years now. Yes, he's an Aussie, like myself, but I've been convicted by the tremendous example he has set, not just for his own church, but for all those who follow him. Beautiful Resistance, in some ways, is a wonderful snapshot of Jon's theology, passion and heart for Jesus and the local church.

One aspect of Jon's practices I so appreciate is commitment to studying the history of the church and the great thinkers, theologians and believers of yesteryear and the present. One of his heroes, like many of us, is Bonhoeffer, whose own resistance to the German Third Reich is legendary and is what has served as the inspiration for Jon's book. Like Bonhoeffer, Jon is calling the modern church to its own form of resistance, a beautiful one at that.

Such a resistance in his opinion is established through attitudinal changes that we the church can adopt as a result of being serious about Jesus' mandate to love. As you'll see by the list below, Jon has identified areas where the church has become lax and proposes an alternative action that will help 'resist' it:

Worship must Resist Idolatry
Rest must Resist Exhaustion
Hunger must Resist Apathy
Hospitality must Resist Contempt
Honor must Resist Contempt
Love must Resist Hate
Sacrifice must Resist Privilege
Celebration must Resist Cynicism

Each chapter is well researched and referenced as challenges the reader to reflect on their own attitudes. A comprehensive study guide follows which can be used individually and/or in a group to further explore and challenge.

This reads well and every chapter both challenged and convicted me. I'd suggest I'll be continually referring back to it in weeks, months and years to come.
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What an inspiring and encouraging book!

In our current struggles in the world with COVID and with racial and political ideologies at war, Jon Tyson's book redirects us to look back at God instead of our culture.

Throughout each of the chapters we are given Scripture directly dealing with the evils of the world that we must resist. Examples are "Rest must resist exhaustion", "Honor must resist contempt", and "Love must resist hate".

If you want to be educated and engaged in discussions about what is wrong with our world today, this book offers fresh insight into what we are truly battling against. 

After reading I was left both encouraged and motivated to do the tough things that God requires of us as believers to do, in order to help others in this world.
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Beautiful Resistance
The Joy of Conviction in a Culture of Compromise
by Jon Tyson
Back of the Book: “In a time of compromise and disillusionment, God is calling his people to a movement of beautiful resistance.
We live in a time when our culture is becoming increasingly shallow, coarse, and empty. Radical shifts in the areas of sexuality, ethics, technology, secular ideologies, and religion have caused the once-familiar landscape of a generation ago to be virtually unrecognizable.
Yet rather than shine as a beacon of light, the church often is silent or accommodating. This isn’t a new phenomenon. During World War II, pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer was deeply troubled by the compromise in the German church. Their capitulation to the Nazi party brought shame and dishonor to the gospel. In response, he helped create an underground movement of churches that trained disciples and ultimately sought to renew the church and culture of the day.
In our compromised church, we need new underground movements of discipleship and resistance. Widely respected New York pastor Jon Tyson unveils a revived vision for faithful discipleship—one that dares to renew culture, restore credibility, and replace compromise with conviction.
For all who have felt this conflict in the soul between who we are and who God calls us to be, Beautiful Resistance is a bold invitation to reclaim what’s been lost—regardless of the cost.”
Impressions: Wow! This was a lot of information to think on. It was slow to get into but once I did, I was left with compelling thoughts about the church and my part in it. 
Liked: I like to dig deep and self-reflect. I was happy to be able to do this while reading this book. I think the messages shared were all pertinent to the climate of the church and Christians today. 
Disliked: There wasn’t anything that stood out to me as something distasteful. 
Learned: Too much to share in a snit bit. I will let the quotes speak for themselves.
Quotes: First off I can’t list all the quotes I noted from this book because there would be pages. The quotes themselves are too long. I will share some one-liners or shorter quotes that made me think.
“Discipleship must be stronger than cultural formation.”
“Each generation of believers is given an opportunity to tell the story of Jesus through the local church.”
“Lord bring your body to life. May it express your heart and passion in a way that reveals the splendor of your salvation to the World.”
“We resemble what we revere, either for ruin or restoration.” – G.K. Beale
“Are you using sin to medicate the absence of something you truly want?”
“Disordered loves lead to disordered lives.”
“The problem with deception is that you don’t know you are being deceived.”
“It’s important for all God’s people to know who God is so we can spot counterfeit gods when they approach our lives.”
“The antidote for idolatry is rightly ordering our loves. It’s getting our hearts, our minds, our souls, and our strength-oriented toward the things that can truly satisfy.”
“Until we see idolatry as spiritual adultery, we will be prone to dismiss it.”
“When we move through life at a sacred pace, creating time to pause and ponder and making space for God, it provokes questions about who and what is the functional lord of our lives.”
“Sabbath is given to us by God as a form of His grace and blessing…”
“The movement from exhaustion to rest is a movement from fear to trust. A movement from anxiety to peace, a movement from control to surrender.”
“Fasting is designed to shift our focus from our bodies to our spirits and from our flesh to our Father.”
“Comfort can blind us to the powerlessness we have compared with the purposes and promises of God.”
“The one who loves his enemies can no longer have enemies. He is left with only neighbors.”
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion shared here.
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Interesting But Not Revolutionary. This is a fairly standard "Christian Living" book written by a pastor, this time an Australian living in NYC - which at least makes it a bit atypical in that regard. Those outside of Christendom probably will have little interest here, and honestly there is little value for that crowd. For those inside the Church who are looking for a new book to read, eh, there are much worse options. One note here is that, as with far too many books of its type, prooftexting - citing random Bible verses out of context - is rampant in this text as well, and is an automatic star deduction in any review I do for a book that contains it. The 4* total here are because even with the prooftexting, the other sporadic issues with the book don't amount to much either by themselves or in combination. To borrow Tyson's own construction, this book could best be summed up as (Mostly) Solid But Not Remarkable. Recommended.
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This was an excellent read that encourages each of us to resist.  
To resist what's popular. 
To resist putting the accumulation of material goods ahead of people and love.

The author encourages us to value key Christian principles, eg: practising Agape love, to value rest (rather than feeling the need to work until we're exhausted), to value out relationship with God over giving in to the many pressures created though our peers and cultural environment. 

We need to strengthen our convictions in order that we don't compromise.  
We can't let others sabotage our faith
Our examples of discipleship (how we live) will speak volumes. 

There is a detailed study guide that follows on to increase the impact of the contents.

With thanks to #Netgalley, WaterBrook & Multnomah for the Advanced Reader Copy. The opinions expressed are my own.
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Free ARC form Net Galley

I did enjoy the book, numerous illustrations that many will find helpful as you try to find your way between FAITH and FICTION.

This line almost stopped me, In our compromised church, we need new underground movements of discipleship and resistance.  The whole premise of the book is there is already too much UNDER ground and we need to be not only above board but ABOVE ground and visible.  I think you will like.
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I really enjoyed reading an ARC of this book. Jon writes in a way that is both convicting and reassuring, basing his content in the truth of scripture. The style of writing reminded me of Tim Keller, which I really liked! This is a great resource for those who are looking to know Christ better and to diligently pursue Him without being distracted by the physical church and unhelpful heart desires that get in the way.
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I loved this beautiful book. It seeks to be a counter-Christian-cultural call to faithful discipleship, raising the right questions and leading believers to live out the correct answers to those questions. The highest praise I can give a book is that it leads me to love my Savior more and this one definitely succeeds.
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This book has some great advice on becoming a new you. The author does a great job inspiring you using old and new story’s of revolution. 
I highly recommend it.
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Beautiful resistance by Jon Tyson is a very solid book. Written in a way that is easy to read, yet brings the reader to deep thought and reflection. 
 The books description says 
“In our compromised church, we need new underground movements of discipleship and resistance. Widely respected New York pastor Jon Tyson unveils a revived vision for faithful discipleship--one that dares to renew culture, restore credibility, and replace compromise with conviction.

For all who have felt this conflict in the soul between who we are and who God calls us to be, Beautiful Resistance is a bold invitation to reclaim what's been lost--regardless of the cost.”
 I think this book is needed so much in our world today. Every pastor and Christian would be if it from reading this book!
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I didn't know what to expect when I started this one, but I really enjoyed it, though, and am glad I got the chance to read it! There's some interesting points mentioned, and a lot of quotes I really liked.
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