I recently received a copy of "Bound Together: How We Are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choices" by Chris Brauns. The book seemed extremely relevant to me because I know in my personal life, I am tied to people in my past from both good and bad choices. Sometimes the bad choice you make ties you to someone forever, regrettably. And sometimes the good choice you make ties you to someone forever, fortunately! Brauns touches on so many appropriate topics throughout this book, and ties everything in so well with our spiritual lives.
Brauns starts off by talking about the "principle of the rope". This is, as the author states, "the simple truth that our lives, choices and actions are linked to the lives, choices, and actions of other people." Sometimes, when one or two children in the church nursery are fighting over a toy, I may take it away from everyone and put it high on a shelf so that no one has the option to play with it. Not all of the children in the church nursery were fighting over the toy, but they are all "roped" together. So the principle of the rope is not just for our families, but also our churches, our government (such as Hitler pulling down Germany as a whole with him), our places of employment... This applies to our spiritual lives as well. Think of the famous Bible story of Noah and the ark. Think of all the young infants and toddlers who were swept away in the flood of God's wrath. The author poses the question of why this happened - those children didn't yet have time to turn their lives around and obey God. The simple truth is that they were roped to their parents and their culture. God wasn't punishing individually, he was treating them all as one people. There are several other examples given in the book. There are even times in the Bible when the choices made by God's representative leaders have consequences for their people. You probably know someone whose child has made terrible decisions, and so the whole family has been affected. A leader of a corporation makes poor financial decisions and the entire company goes under. This is the principle of the rope in life, and we see it just the same in the Bible.
Brauns goes more in depth when he begins speaking of original sin. He does a great job of explaining original sin and how it affects us, and why we are affected by the choices that Adam and Eve made those many years ago.
But here's the beautiful thing. Yes, we are roped to Adam, and for that reason we are all sinners and are roped together with him. But God gave us a second chance. He sent his son to die on a cross for our sins, and so therefore we now have the option to be roped with Jesus Christ, and receive his freedom, forgiveness, and salvation from sin! As the author puts it - "the cross cancels our solidarity with Adam and links us to Christ."
Brauns looks at other hot topics as well. For example, can we use someone else's sins as an excuse? If my father drinks himself into oblivion, can I use that as an excuse to not be a productive member of society? And simply blame my shortcomings on him? People do this all the time, in my experience. Brauns makes a beautiful argument, of which the point is this - We don't need to play the victim card. We're always going to sin. But God is eager to extend grace to us when we are truly repentant. He looks at our families, our marriages, our joy, our fears, and even our country and culture as a whole.
You won't be disappointed in this read. It's easy to read because it's interesting, and full of information.
I received this for free from Zondervan via Cross Focused Reviews for
this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions
I have expressed are my own.
Where to buy:
Barnes & Noble (Paperback/Nook)