FAITH NEWS SERVICE – What a crazy world this is! The heights, depths, and contradictions of existence can often be overwhelming. Although succour can be found in the beauty of creation, the evening news brings a different reality. Horrors of fierce battles, climate-generated catastrophe, animal extinction, habitation exploitation, and gun-wielding urban mayhem flood screens nightly. Somehow, the human heart bears all this tension, but there are casualties. For many, fear, anxiety, and depression descend like a tsunami. Where to turn?
A genuine Christian worldview offers a bulwark against the incoming surge of the world’s ever-increasing sense of hopelessness. That same worldview also challenges the secular world’s spirit-eroding, value-stripping, sense of self. But there is a panacea. Once the Apostle John’s words, “do not love the world or anything in the world” (1 Jn 2:15) are understood, a new reality comes into sharp focus. It then becomes far easier to make sense of why things are the way they are. Beauty becomes more vibrant, and unremitting daily horrors can be more effectively managed.
With John’s admonition in mind, God Down Under and A Fuller Reality challenge ‘the way of the world’. Eschewing a mindset that reacts with combat, capitulation, or consternation, these writings instead emphasise God’s ‘Way of the Word’: “The Word become flesh and dwelt among us.” (Jn 1:14) The very same Word continues to teach, through the agency of His Spirit, how joy and certainty can be found regardless of circumstance. These publications do not present a paradigm of unabashed optimism or positive thinking, but show how the Holy Spirit gives new understanding when invited into mind and heart. The books are about the love God has for His world. They are about the hope He offers. They are about the eternity He promises. Both can be found at: https://www.arkhousepress.com/
God Down Under: A year with an Aussie traveller documents the authors’ journeys within and around the amazing continent of Australia. The reader is invited to sample the splendour that Australia has to offer. Beauty, wonder, vastness, diversity, all form part of a journey around what one poet called the “wide brown land”. However, this is only part of the story. The reader is also invited to witness how each experience unfolds when seen through the eyes of a loving, sustaining and glorious God. In that sense, it is God Himself who issues the invitation to take this journey. Throughout it, He parades His glory – a glory observed via His masterful handiwork. Travel with the authors for 10 minutes each day for 365 days – one full year. Discover why so many years ago, Portuguese navigator Pedro De Quiros, called Australia “the Great Southland of the Holy Spirit”.
A Fuller Reality: For a world that seems emptier than ever takes the reader on a different journey. Whereas God down under examines the world from the perspective of God’s spectacular creation, this book focuses more on the reality of human behaviour. The breadth and depth of human experience, interpreted through the eyes of God’s redemptive story, frame the book. The compilation describes the best and worst of human nature in two-page vignettes, which cover a range of topics. Throughout the exploration, the reader is never left without hope. In every circumstance, “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (2 Cor 1:3) is present. This is a worldview offering a “hope and a future” (Jer 29:11). As one reviewer has remarked: “Go with the authors and water your soul.”
Richard G. Berlach PhD MDiv. For as long as he can remember, Richard has always possessed a god-consciousness. It was his now wife Linda who introduced him to Jesus the Christ, to whom he then uttered those immortal words: “my Lord and my God.” A lifelong desire to know God and His Word then ensued. His life as an academic enabled him to read widely, interpreting what was read in the light of Scripture. Richard’s hobbies include open water swimming, writing from a Christian perspective, cooking, reading anything he can get his hand on, and tinkering in his small workshop.
Linda M. Berlach MA(Theol). Linda has had a life-long passion for reflective practice, personal and spiritual formation. This has found expression in years of facilitating small groups within the church and in her current work with medical students. She loves exploring ways in which individuals might support each other by listening more deeply to self, others, and especially to God’s voice. Interests include: mindful engagement with life; daily all-year-round ocean swims; connection with animals; yoga; weekly meeting with a group of Christian women finding their way together; and being part of the Courage and Renewal Australasia community of practice.