A reverend offers a meditation on the core values of Christianity.
This latest work from Vu (Living for a Higher Purpose, 2017, etc.) seeks to reconnect the author’s target readership of practicing Christians with what he sees as the seven key demonstrations of God in their lives: peace, mercy, love, hope, joy, generosity, and faithfulness. In warm and inviting prose, the author examines each of these guiding principles and supplies examples drawn from his own experiences and from Scripture. Love is illustrated, for instance, by the story of a man named Matt. He visited his elderly veteran father regularly in a nursing home, even after his parent’s dementia worsened to the point where Matt sometimes left in tears. Hope is represented by the New Testament figure of Mary Magdalene, and joy by the Virgin Mary’s cousin Elizabeth. Vu focuses on Elizabeth’s reaction to the virgin’s pregnancy news. According to the author, invoking God’s presence through moments like these acts as a life raft that gives the faithful the courage to go on. He provides many examples of people searching for that raft, including Simeon and Anna (here inaccurately termed “prophets”), who waited steadfastly for the coming of the Messiah. “Anyone who demonstrates any sign of love knows God and comes from God,” Vu asserts in one of the many sentiments scattered throughout the book that will likely annoy atheists and even many moderate Christians. (The worst of these pronouncements is the old fundamentalist slur that without God to hold people “accountable,” they would instantly begin harming their neighbors.) But the author’s core audience will find his message of hope uplifting and his denunciation of the world’s cynicism comforting. His seven principles, he claims, are “a real indication of the presence of God.” And his extension of this link to things like service to community and acts of kindness should make those Christian readers feel very much included in the mercy he describes.
A brief and passionate call for Christians to make everyday connections with God.