Down-to-earth advice

coming back to earthREVIEW BY CATH JAMES


It is rare to find a book that challenges the reader to confront ethical decisions about how to live and engage in social change while recognising there is no ‘right’ or ‘pure’ way to do this.

In this collection of essays on the church, climate change, cities, agriculture and eating, Jonathan Cornford offers his lived experiences and deep biblical knowledge on living with integrity and faith in the face of big global problems.

Cornford states: “When ethical consumption becomes a code for clean and unclean it must be rejected.” He grapples with how we take the wisdom offered to us through the Bible and Christian faith to help us decide what we eat, how we live, where we go and how we bring about change.

As well as encouraging readers to consider these issues in their personal lives, Cornford wants people to seriously engage with the question: “What does distinctly Christian political activism look like?”

In his essay ‘Standing at the Crossroads’ he unravels the essence of faith and the cultural forces that cloud it – empire and domination, individualism, wealth accumulation and consumerism. The hope and our response can be found in the ethos of the early Christian church in Acts.

Cornford’s essays wrestle with the spiritual discipline of living in right relationship with God, with each other and with the Earth. Describing this as ‘Shalom’, Cornford states: “All things in right relationship – God humanity and creation”.

The root of all our decisions about work, consumption, leisure, relationship and community stem from our households. It is there, Cornford argues, that we make thousands of choices and it is there we need to reclaim the ideas of holiness and Shalom as our organising principles, as they were in the early Christian church.

This is not at the cost of acting collectively on both a local and a global scale, but rather this is where we start in order to live out a bigger faith. What holds this all together is what we do in our homes.

Available at: Morning Star Publishing.
RRP $22.95


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