By Terry Smith
“Finding Life in the Unorthodox Ways of Jesus” was an odd subtitle, I originally thought. But it’s exactly what happened for me within the pages of Hugh Halter’s new book, Sacrilege. Books like Hugh’s remind me why I feel called to participate with Jesus in this weird ministry I do. There aren’t many “Christian” authors I read that I think really “get it,” but Hugh does.
I enjoyed travelling through the Beatitudes with Hugh. My soon to be wife, Rebecca, gets on me sometimes because when we’re driving, I don’t pay attention to my surroundings very much. She says things like, “We’re going through a part of town you’ve never been in and you can’t put down your phone.” I’m glad I took time and looked around where Hugh was taking me through Matthew Chapter 5. He wrote of the Scriptures as one would write of a beloved friend. These are Scriptures he’s familiar with because he has lived them.
In Chapter 4, he states the idea that one does not “know” a text until they have lived it. I have a love/hate relationship with this idea. I love the idea that when we live out the commands of Jesus, we fall more in love with the man who made the command and more in love with the text itself. However, I hate the application of that principle. I don’t want to have to live “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” to know that truth. But, I have lived it, so I do know it to be true.
I run a ministry here in Atlanta called “The Van Atlanta”. Some very nice folks give us donations of clothes and hygiene items and we make sure those items get to the homeless folks that need them. I really enjoy it. I enjoy helping folks. And I have no doubt that we are completing at least a part of the Gospel.
One thing I loved about Hugh’s book is how he challenged us to do more. At the end of each chapter, he gave us “something to consider” and “something to do”. These always challenged me. People tell me all the time that I’m “doing good work”. And that’s an easy trap to fall into. I’ll find myself wanting to skip church sometimes because I “did a good deed” today. Or I’ll find myself withholding a blessing (that I’m financially capable of giving) because I “helped that guy yesterday”. I like the fact that Hugh challenged me to take the “good” I was doing and do better. And when we can find a book that truly challenges us to not only “do better” but “be better”, we’ve found a gem. I suggest you read his book and share it. You will not be disappointed.