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The Grand Paradox

The Messiness of Life, the Mystery of God and the Necessity of Faith
Format: Hardcover

Availability: In stock

Quick Overview:

This book is an exploration of the art of living by faith. It is a book for all those wrestling with the paradoxes that confront those who seek to walk with Christ. It’s an honest look at how faith works, here and now, in our culture, our time—and how to put down real roots and flourish in the midst of our messy lives.

If we were made for relationship with God, why do we often feel lost and distant from Him?

The life of Christian faith is and always has been a beautifully awkward reality. Following Jesus is done—can only be done—in the messiness of this world into which we were all born. Yet many Christians expect the walk of faith to be easier, neater, and relatively devoid of hassles.

So perhaps it’s time for a frank conversation about the true nature of Christian faith. Maybe there are many desperately in need of a clear dialogue about how—despite living in a turbulent, chaotic world—our greatest joy is found in our pursuit of God.

In The Grand Paradox, Ken Wytsma seeks to help readers understand that although God can be mysterious, He is in no way absent.

  • God’s ways are contradictory and counter to the way the world tells us to pursue happiness.
  • Doubt is okay, it will accompany in the life of faith.
  • What looks like struggle can actually be the most important and meaningful season of our lives.

This book is an exploration of the art of living by faith. It is a book for all those wrestling with the paradoxes that confront those who seek to walk with Christ. It’s an honest look at how faith works, here and now, in our culture, our time—and how to put down real roots and flourish in the midst of our messy lives.

Contributor(s) Ken Wytsma
About the Contributor(s) Ken Wytsma

Ken Wytsma is a leader, innovator, and social entrepreneur. He is the president of Kilns College, where he teaches courses on philosophy and justice. He is the founder of The Justice Conference—a yearly international conference that exposes men and women to a wide range of organizations and conversations relating to justice and the biblical call to give our lives away. Ken is also a church planter and the lead pastor at Antioch Church. He and his wife, Tamara, have four daughters.

ISBN-10 0849964679
ISBN-13 9780849964671
Release Date Jan 27, 2015
Weight (lbs) 1.1200
Height 9.30
Width 6.30
Length 213
Length Unit Pages
Publisher Thomas Nelson
Price $22.99
Format Hardcover
Language English

Customer Reviews

Review by Bruce
Overall Rating
In The Grand Paradox Ken Wytsma invites us to sit around his dining room table and engage in “a frank conversation about the true nature of Christian faith.” One can envision sitting in Ken’s house with occasional appearances by his wife, Tamara, and four daughters, talking philosophy, history and the Bible into the wee hours of the night.

“Do we have a wrong definition of faith?” “How do I talk to God or hear from him?” “What is God up to in this world?” “Do I have to give up the things that make me happy to have faith?” “Are doubts ok?” “What is God calling me personally to do?” “How am I supposed to live for God in a crazy world?” “Can’t I just have Jesus and not the institutional church?’ and “What is it all for?”

These are the conversations Ken navigates as he seeks to rouse us from our “Cultural Dramamine” and demonstrate “the story of Jesus is full of paradox.” “Real faith doesn’t allow for easy answers.” “Life is messy. God is mysterious. And accepting this tension-filled truth, no matter the circumstances, is the pathway to peace.”

While faith is the common thread that weaves through these conversations, the book is probably best read as part of a group discussion that can chew on each piece. The book is also ideal for someone seeking direction in life who gets alone in nature and pulls out this book and the Bible as they wrestle with God.

Ken invites that wrestling. “Discovering God’s will for our own lives can only be grounded in a correct understanding of His will at large.” We need to see ourselves as part of God’s big story as we learn to be happy in contentment, pray authentic prayers, and move forward by faith. While there are times for contemplative solitude, Ken also advocates for life in community – specifically the messy family of faith known as the church.
Ken invites a deeper understanding of God and “our understanding of God should compel justice.” Ken speaks of the power of story as he demonstrates this in each of his discussions. One such discussion took place at The Justice Conference which Ken helped launch. A young pastor exclaimed, “I’m all for justice, but at the end of the day, I want Jesus not justice.” This is one of many apparent contradictions the book explores. In this instance, Ken demonstrates the gospel and justice cannot be separated. As he says, “Justice was Jesus’ mission, what he did in healing people and advocating for the poor, and the mandate He left His followers – that we should do likewise, and love one another. In fact, justice and Jesus are so closely linked that whatever you do for the poor, vulnerable, or oppressed is as if we are doing it literally to Him and for Him.”

Ken brings the heart of a pastor, the mind of an educator, and the hands of a justice laborer to the table as he lovingly, honestly, and directly deals with the tough issues of faith and the mysteries and messiness of life. As he says, “Part of faith is trusting that your calling, as well as your steps, may remain a mystery…(but) when we surrender our plans to God, we’ll find that we are successful in serving God.” “What is God’s will for your life? Simple. It is that you live out His will for the world.”

The conversation is long and engaging. Along the way, Ken wants to reflect the heart of Jesus and His kingdom. Relationships matter and in the Kingdom answers are less important than love. That may be frustrating for those looking for pat formulas. But as Ken says, “What God has called us to do is something He’s made possible for us to do… You have gifts, talents and the ability to love. Be empowered. Be encouraged.”

As the night turns to dawn on the discussion of faith, Ken might summarize the discussion as ‘the just shall live by faith.’ As he says, “The just will live by faith simply states the obvious: that if I live outside of myself, if I live to give and serve, if I think of others as being as important as myself, if I live for justice – what ought to be – I have to trust that somehow I am going to be taken care of. I have to believe that it truly is better to give than to receive, and that God really does watch over and sustain the just.”

This would be a good graduation gift for a college student or graduate student. Also appropriate for anyone wrestling with doubt or their place in this world. The book is not written to an older, more mature audience so pick it up and give it to someone you know who is young and struggling with the issues of life. (Posted on 1/30/2015)

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