Susan Vincent's Amazon Review of "Our God Loves Justice" (#OGLJ)

So, my book on Helmut Gollwitzer is out!

W. Travis McMaken, Our God Loves Justice: An Introduction to Helmut Gollwitzer (Fortress, 2017).

I've mentioned this once or twice indirectly here at DET, but this is the first time that I've posted about it specifically. But I definitely want to, because I definitely think that you should order the book. And the price-point is definitely reasonable, even if I definitely say so myself, which I definitely do. Definitely.

But rather than continue to type excited gibberish, I want to share with you the Amazon review of OGLJ that Susan Vincent wrote. Susan is a lawyer who does what sounds like very interesting work in community development both in the US and abroad. I've gotten to interact with her some on Twitter (@susanv) and she seems like good people. Plus, she likes my book, so she's definitely good people. Definitely.

The thing that makes this review so meaningful to me is that Susan is someone who spends her life on the front lines trying to make the world a better place. And if she can pick up my book, make sense of it, and find it meaningful and relevant, then I count that a huge win. Huge. And judging from this review, she could and did. Which is awesome.

So many thanks to Susan for reading, and I hope lots more "Susans" read it too.

Here's the review. You can also read it on Amazon, if you really want. As usual, bold is mine.

If you want to equip yourself with a load-bearing theology that confronts the injustices of the world and stands in solidarity with the oppressed, add this to your reading list.

McMaken introduces his readers to Helmut Gollwitzer’s life and thought, demonstrating how Gollwitzer’s lived experience and theological project were inseparably intertwined, and situating the whole in historical context.

While students of theology and those familiar with Barth may have a more extensive theoretical context in which to situate this book, and may be more familiar with some of the terms used, this book is clear and understandable even without prior knowledge of this area. In fact, if you’re thinking about diving into the more heady stuff but want to start with something accessible and practical, this would be a great introduction.

One of the joys of McMacken’s book is its willingness to engage in the theological work of translation and solidarity that it describes: Gollwitzer’s theological thought is not left on a historical shelf, but rather brought into conversation with the issues of justice facing us now. This portion of the book feels US-centric; helpfully so for those of us situated in that context. Discussions about atomic warfare, a framework for thinking about revolutionary (protest) violence, critiques of privilege and systemic oppression, thoughts about the role of economics in society and the inadequacy of charity as a counterweight to the incentives of capitalism; this is not a safe or separatist theology, but one that is deeply concerned with the well-being of the world.

Ultimately, “the bottom line for Gollwitzer is that Christians must take sides on political issues, and they must take the side of those whom society has left out, left behind, or left for dead.” Why? Because as Christians do this in their own situatedness, they enact a “concrete political love that testifies to the God whom Christians encounter in the event of faith: a God who loves justice.”

Gollwitzer described his encounter with dialectic theology as blowing away the “dust of boredom” from theology; Our God Loves Justice might just do the same thing for readers today.


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