Because of rebellion against God in the Fall, humanity has forfeited the possibility of full experience of shalom. Yet the God-given intense longing for happiness remains. In fact, in a sinful world we pursue it with even greater enthusiasm, with even higher hope.
Yet we do so in profound ignorance. Disordered loves produce disordered lives. It gives us new purposes and desires for our lives in this world, here and now. Rather, it is the condition of genuine human fulfillment and flourishing rooted in a relationship with God, whose mercy and grace demonstrated in Jesus Christ reorders our loves and lives in righteous and virtuous ways so that we are able to enjoy—indeed, to relish—all aspects of life and creation appropriate to him. Thus the pursuit of happiness is not a hedonistic quest for an ungodly goal.
In short, the longing for happiness is God-given and can be fulfilled only in Him. Using Scripture, voices from the Christian tradition, and voices from American pop culture, Naugle tells the story of Creation, the Fall, and redemption, and makes a compelling case for a holistic worldview that provides and produces a proper perspective on life in the world.
In a world where everything is broken and nothing is sound, Naugle calls Christians to reorient their lives in the pursuit of happiness. Disordered loves equal disordered lives. The grace of the gospel has quelled our revolt against God and ended our alienation from him. In our redemption, we have redirected our loves in search of happiness in him, with satisfying results. Reordered loves equal reordered lives.
Now we know something of shalom.
Naugle writes in a style that makes the complex simple without sounding simplistic. He synthesizes and summarizes the works of others carefully. His exegetical skills are excellent, and his use of contemporary voices connects with his audience well. His love for Christ and His church is evident and contagious. His passion for service and evangelism is clear and infectious.
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