A Resurrection Shaped Life: Dying and Rising on Planet Earth, by Jake Owensby. Abingdon Press, 2018.
I can’t wait to get to heaven! This may be the sentiment of a child or a person of deep faith on their death-bed. It is a sentiment that holds to a certain level of innocence and naïveté. It is not a sentiment that is easily carried through the entirety of one’s life. We cannot go through the decades of life excited about the prospect of going to heaven; the excitement will get exhausting. And yet that is what some consider a major role and hope that is offered and found in Christianity: a ticket to heaven. Such a faith becomes shallow and forced.
Jake Owensby is offering the reader a different way of understanding and embracing the hope of life that is found in the resurrection. Rather than waiting and anticipating the time when we all “get” to heaven, Owensby invites us to consider how our life is changed and redeemed here and now because of the resurrection. Weaving powerful and personal stories of his life, Owensby shows how the resurrection does not offer a way out of suffering, but instead a way through suffering that is redemptive and full of hope.
Owensby’s writing is clear and accessible, and his stories of his experiences in life bring the reader into a place where one can find an application of the ideas that Owensby is trying to describe. It feels like a good sermon: point followed by illustration. Perhaps the best part of the book is the “Postlude,” where Owensby shows all of his cards, describing exactly what it is that he is trying to share. I would have liked to have read that section first so I would have a sense of what it was that Owensby was trying to do. It is a very short book, just over 100 pages, and many of the ideas that Owensby was offering called for further development. There was just not enough ink spent on some wonderful ideas, and I found myself desiring a longer, deeper conversation with the author.
Despite the brevity of the work, it is a good book with helpful questions at the end of each chapter. It is a book that would do well with a small group. Owensby is trying to call believers to consider how the resurrection shapes and changes one’s life here and now, and that is a worthwhile pursuit.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.