Marty Troyer, who blogs as the Peace Pastor for the Houston Chronicle, just put up a review of Public Jesus. Here’s an excerpt.
Author Tim Suttle’s answer in his powerful new book,Public Jesus, is equally stunning, though completely opposite. With equal parts creativity and courage Suttle encourages us to base all of life, and all of our ethics, on Jesus. He blows up the “private faith” myth not so much through detailed argument, but by inviting us to believe, and by showing us what faithful daily public witness is.
And you’ll love him for it. Indeed, Suttle is part of a new thriving core of evangelicals who are proudly calling the church to image Christ in life, or, as he refers to it, live “cruciform” lives. I’m utterly thrilled to see this transformation over such a short period of time.
And he’s relentless in his insistence that our faith is both Jesus-centered and public . In the introduction he says, “God belongs in the public square because the public square belongs to God.” He then spends the rest of his work describing what such a cruciform public life looks like: through and at work, in worship and rest, in our public language and in our allegiance.
Public Jesus will challenge you to examine your own faith as he pushes out what it means to live our whole lives as though we actually believe Jesus is Lord. His chapters on vocation, Sabbath, and Eucharist fall slightly short by weakening the tension created early in the book between the publicness and Jesus-ness of our faith. (With his chapters on work and Sabbath not being Jesus-y enough, and Eucharist not being public enough. Regardless, they are still excellent!).
But he’s at his best when fleshing out the decidedly political nature of the Gospel and lifestyle of Jesus. He suggests, following Hauerwas and Yoder before him, that living our shared common life together in cruciformity is a “profoundly political act.” He then contrasts the politics of Jesus with the current American political scene and suggests that “major surgery” is required for we Christians to faithfully follow the Public Jesus.