If God is good, live fully, love boldly and fear nothing because all is grace.
Rick McKinley’s The Answer to Our Cry explores what real freedom is. If you grew up in Sunday School or have imbibed your share of Christian publishing, you know ‘the answer to our cry’ is probably Jesus (♪♫Jesus is the answer for the world today♪). Well that is part right. McKinley leads us through a mediation on how ‘freedom comes only when we are attracted to the communion between the Father, Son and Spirit (15). You see, God, as Trinity, is the one being free from any need or obligation:
The Triune God is entirely free in himself as Father, Son and Spirit; They are happily united and fulfilled by their own communion within their own being. . . .They created everything seen and unseen so that we can share what they have. That’s just how good God is. (27)
The human experience of freedom is always within bounds. Freedom without boundaries, would lead us to death (like when a man jumps off a building or cheats on his wife). McKinley argues that for freedom to be sustained it needs a form, and that form is relationship. Thankfully God has made a way for us, in Jesus, to share in the life and relationship of the Triune God. This allows for the fullest expression of sustainable human freedom.
So the answer to our cry (for freedom) is the Triune God, but our example of what real human freedom looks like is Jesus (yay! Sunday School answer still works!). Like Jesus, McKinley says Jesus:
- Lived Fully–because he came from the Father, the Giver of Life
- Loved Boldly–exemplified especially by his life poured out on the cross for our freedom
- Feared Nothing–because no power on earth could shake him (28)
And So McKinley exhorts us also to live fully, love boldly and fear nothing. This book explores the nature of what the Christian life is, and can be. McKinley draws on trinitarian theology (recommending Michael Reeve’s Delighting the Trinity)(157). This book is the gospel reexplained and examined in trinitarian terms. It is theological–exploring the themes of God’s love and justice but it is also pastorally sensitive.
I am an occasional listener to the Imago Dei podcast (the church McKinley pastors) and have read a coupe of McKinley’s previous books (This Beautiful Mess and The Advent Conspiracy). I like McKinley’s conversational communication style and appreciate how substantive he is (a rarity for famous pastors). I would say that this book is deeper than his early volumes, but not necessarily a compelling read. McKinley lays his thesis out early and spends the rest of his chapters expanding the theme. All and all great stuff, but repetitive in places. I give it four stars.
Notice of material connection: I received this book free from the publisher for this honest review.