Colors of God

“OK. So the church is broken. Now what?”

It’s the tag line for Colors of God: Conversations About Being the Church and one that resonates with me–which is why I was super excited to read and review it.

This book, written by Randall Mark Peters, Dave Phillips, and Quentin Steen, was developed as a conversation–and indeed written as such. It is not a difficult conversation to follow and, for this traveler, was refreshing at times. They were saying what I’ve been thinking or articulated conclusions to which I have come as well.

Colors of God is organized around four broad areas using colors to illustrate each one: Gospel Faith, Healthy Living, Inclusive Community, and Cultural Engagement. These areas also are an attempt at a framework for living out one’s faith as a member of the Kingdom of God.

The conversation is authentic. The questions are honored. The answers are well thought out. And it’s tough to find the latter in most churches these days.

I still am tempted to give up on church–and this book certainly hasn’t compelled me to try to find one. But Colors of God did give me a way to articulate some of what I believe and how I frame my understanding of the life, message and work of Christ–and how I live in response to those things. To that end, mission accomplished.

The part of this book that resonated with me the most wast the issue of Healthy Living and that God is a promoter of good health. Indeed, health can be a litmus test for the things we think or do as they are associated with our faith. If what we are saying or doing promotes health, chances are that these are things from and/or approved by God. This isn’t just physical health. This is holistic well-being. This is asking whether any act or behavior is going to promote love–whether it’s going to promote peace, patience, wellness and contentment. One thing I would caution the reader about–and the authors to articulate better–though is the issue of mental health. I was surprised at how cavalier the authors were at one point when talking about anxiety. Certainly, the church is great at invoking anxiety in its people–there’s always something we should be doing more of in order to stay in favor with God. But there’s also anxiety that is very real for people–that has nothing to do with their faith practice (but can be exacerbated by it). As a mental health practitioner myself, I challenge the faith community to develop a better–indeed healthier and more holistic–response to individuals with mental illness as well as foster a space of mental health.

After all, God is about the health and well-being of the whole person.

Regardless of that one sticking point, I put this book in the “must read” stack. Read it. Share it with everyone you know. Have a better conversation about how all this plays out. And then GO DO IT.

This book was provided for free review by