Recently, Vicki talked me into watching the movie “Les Miserables.” Okay, I’ve gotta be honest; it didn’t take much convincing. I like epic movies, and I like musicals too, so the two together intrigued me, especially since I haven’t seen the musical production. I would have seen it in the theater with the girls, but the boys decided to go see “The Hobbit” instead!
Just a few days before watching the movie, I started reading a new book, “Bound Together~ How we are Tied Together in Good and Bad Choices” by Chris Brauns. Like the title suggests, this is a book that looks at our relationships and how we are bound together by our choices. I must say, watching this movie that focuses on the relationships and their choices and reading “Bound Together”, drove the point home! But really you don’t have to watch the movie to know this. The Bible is much like this too … David and Saul; Moses and Pharaoh; Paul and the early Christians. The list of people in the Bible who are bound together is endless. When you think of it, this is how it is in our lives too. I have to admit that sometimes it’s more easily identified in other people’s lives’ than in our own.
As you can tell by my introduction, “Bound Together” makes a clear and convincing argument for this premise. Brauns is able to clearly articulate this through excellent examples, quotes, and vignettes. The book is divided into two sections – understanding the principle and applying the principle. In part one, Brauns uses the doctrine of original sin and the Gospel to articulate the bond we have in being lost and being saved in Christ. As Christians we are bound to Christ and we are his people. Even though we are born sinners and may have been born into a family with a heritage of sin, such as alcoholism or other sin, we are not able to use this as an excuse. Instead, we need to turn from sin to follow Christ.
In part two, Brauns applies the principle of being bound together to joy, marriage, families who are hurting, those who fear death, and country and cultural influences on us. Through each of these areas, he supports his points biblically, and he is able to engage his reader with thought provoking premises of each topic. I believe his descriptions of these concepts are balanced: deep and rich in content without getting overly academic or making this a theology textbook. Each area he covers likely could be a spin off with further application in Christian living. However, Brauns offers enough information in each to whet his reader’s appetite.
I particularly liked Brauns’ chapter on country and culture. He contends (rightly so) that we are living in an individualistic culture in which loneliness and isolation are a by-product of this individualism. He provides an excellent solution – community. He cites the first century church and how they did “community” as the ultimate “bond.”
Brauns is a very articulate and readable author, and “Bound Together” is an excellent book. I think some may want more after reading this book. More answers. More discussion. But I think that is what makes this book work. It doesn’t try to answer all the questions. It leaves its readers thinking. For those wanting more, he also has a section for further reading. Since Brauns has such an engaging style, I personally would like him to consider writing additional books, which would dig deeper into the areas where his concept works. I give this book five stars out of five.
We are not just isolated individuals. Instead, our lives are woven together with others. We have solidarity with other people—the choices one person makes affects the lives of others, for good and for bad. Because much of the pain we endure in life is in the context of relationships, this truth often strikes us as unfair. Why should a child suffer because of the choices of his parents? And on a grander scale, why do we all suffer the curse of Adam’s sin? Why should anyone be judged for someone else’s sin? In Bound Together, Chris Brauns unpacks the truth that we are bound to one another and to the whole of creation. He calls this, ‘the principle of the rope.’ Grasping this foundational principle sheds new light on marriage, the dynamics of family relationships, and the reason why everyone lives with the consequences of the sins that others commit. Brauns shows how the principle of the rope is both bad news and good news, revealing a depth to the message of the gospel that many of us have never seen before.
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (March 5, 2013)
Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
CHRIS BRAUNS is the Senior Pastor at the Congregational Christian Church of Stillman Valley, IL. Chris left the corporate world in 1990 and graduated from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in 1993 with a Master of Divinity degree. Since then he has served as a youth pastor, senior pastor, and church planting pastor. In 2006, Chris received a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary having completed the preaching track under Haddon Robinson. Chris is the author of Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds (Crossway) and When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search (Moody).
Visit Chris Brauns at www.ChrisBrauns.com