My new book, Speak to the Bones: How to Be a Prophetic People in a Time of Exile, is now available in Kindle format here. That link is for the Amazon USA site. The e-book is also available from Amazon Canada, U.K., Australia, and in numerous other nations. Other e-book formats, including Nook, will be added soon. (Keep in mind that Amazon offers a free app to adapt the Kindle file for other devices.) A print edition of Speak to the Bones will be available by the end of February on Amazon, as well.
This book will be ideal for use in church-school classes for senior-high age to adults. Each of the 10 lessons includes questions for discussion and reflection.
Christians are wondering just what’s going on in the church these days. How to discern what’s behind the changes keeps scholars as well as church leaders and members busy. Is Christianity dying in North America? Or has the death knell already sounded and we’re just waiting for burial? If there are answers, are they religious, political, social, or generational? Is this about the institutions themselves or the spiritual nature of human beings these days? Have all the rules changed and nobody’s told us yet?
One response to this complex situation is for local church communities to rediscover the prophetic roots of Christianity. Both Jesus and the apostle Paul functioned as prophetic voices in the movement that emerged out of Judaism. But ever since Emperor Constantine effectively merged the Roman empire with the rapidly expanding church, this essential element has been downgraded if not lost entirely.
The example of the Hebrew prophets (and, yes, Jesus of Nazareth and Paul of Tarsus belong in this category) offers a way forward for Christians to become prophetic communities. They can and must speak truth to power. Just as those ancient prophets in Israel and Judah identified injustice, idolatry, and inequality in their times, so too can a modern-day prophetic people address their own era. Those same basic issues from more than 2,500 years ago are still bedeviling 21st-century, Western societies.
Speak to the Bones (whose imagery is drawn from Ezekiel’s remarkable vision of the Valley of Dry Bones) tells the stories of Nathan, Elijah, Amos, Hosea, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jesus, and Paul. Their examples offer a pattern for 21st-century Christian disciples to speak, not merely as individuals but as inspired communities dedicated to the “kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.”