Pieces of Eternity.
I was recently given an E Book review copy of this book written by Michael Jensen who was a lecturer at Moore Theological College and who is now the fulltime rector at St Marks Anglican Church at Darling Point in Sydney Australia.
The author introduces us to an illiterate homeless man called Arthur Stace. Arthur had wandered into a Sydney church in the 1940s and heard a sermon on where will you spend eternity. This sermon had a powerful impact on him and he became soundly converted. God worked a miracle in this small unassuming man who could barely read or write and gave him the ability to write the word “eternity” in an exquisite style on the pavements around Sydney for the next twenty odd years. It’s estimated that he wrote this around 500,000 times. As part of the year 2000 celebrations the enlarged replica of his graffiti was lit up in bright lights on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s from this story of a humble man’s urging to remind his community about eternity, the author builds a case that engaging with society today about eternal issues is still an important part of modern society.
His message is more towards Christians then it is an evangelical treatise to win converts. Within these pages he reminds us of the reliability and accuracy of the Scriptures and the history of our faith. He shows the Christian faithful how we too can engage the world with grace, truth honesty and humility. Michael doesn’t pull his punches. His chapter on the church and child abuse is an honest stinging critique, in which he reminds us that we are not above public scrutiny.
Yet he also fairly critiques the supposedly non-religious politically correct society in which we live. He reminds us that the Christian message is one of positive eternal values when talking about God and that an appeal to Jesus’ teaching to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ would be an entirely acceptable discussion point in a society that pretends it’s not interested in God talk.
I found his engagement with Mark Zuckerberg of Face Book fame fascinating. It’s no secret to those who know me that I am a social media addict. I become housebound through a serious illness where Face Book and other social media became a source of life-giving interaction with the outside world. Michael notes that the success of Zuckerberg is in his recognising the deep need we have for connecting with others. But the author also rightly concludes that any hope for harmonious and peaceful human living lies elsewhere.
The book is written in a fairly conversational tone which makes for easy reading. This is something you could easily do in a day or two. But I think this would do this book a disservice if you were to do this. It’s a book that has much meat in it and as such to excuse the metaphor, one needs to take the time to chew its fat.
My only critique is that some of the langue is technical and his references to some philosophers may go over some heads. However, this is also the strength of the book in that no matter your background, there is much in it which has appeal.
I am under no compulsion to give a positive review of this book. I believe Michael has written a book that has something to seriously offer every Christian and to society at large and I would like to commend this book to you.