This Beautiful Mess (Book Review)

Rick Mckinley, who is the Lead Pastor at Imago Dei Community, wrote a book titled This Beautiful Mess: Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom of God. This book seemed to me to almost be the sequel to Mike Yaconelli’s book Messy Spirituality. And reading those two books back to back really only seemed to enhance that thought with me.

Where Mike Yaconelli’s book talks about how our spirituality is messy and that is okay, Rick Mckinley’s book talks about how we can take our messy spirituality and enhance the mess we find ourselves in here on planet earth and bring some beauty to it all. Mike talks about fixing ourselves and Rick talks about fixing the world around us.

There are so many points that Rick makes that I could point out, but I will just point to one part that I really liked in Chapter 6 “Already, Not Yet”. Rick talks about how the Jesus says that the Kingdom is already here and also not yet here, and how there is a tension that exists in that. And Rick shares a story about when his son came down with a mysterious illness and had to be hospitalized and through that Rick learned a lot about what that tension means and you will have to read that book to get it, but I want to share one part of the story about his son being in the hospital that stuck out to me….

During those weeks, some well-meaning people gave us the right answers. “God knows what’s happening,” they said. Or, “Josh will be fine because we’re praying.” The right answers seem right to say, of course, and seem right when you hear them, but they don’t help much. To be honest, the right answers began to make us angry. Somehow Christians have a hard time saying things like, “I don’t know why the hell this is happening or how this will end. You guys must be scared to death.” I guess we all need to be able to explain life down to every last detail even when the answers don’t mean anything to us. We just can’t stand the questions. But in the kingdom of God, I have come to believe, it is all right not to have all the answers, and I think Jesus likes it even more when we don’t make up ones that are safe and but hollow.

A big heart “AMEN!!!” on that one.

So if you are looking for ways that you can practice the presence of the kingdom of God where you are at, I recommend this book to you. It is a very easy read and filled with good practical advice.

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Kim, father to Hannah & Caleb, and the connections pastor at The River Church. The thoughts expressed here are my own and not The River Church's.

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