"I have never met a person whose goal was to ruin his or her life. We all want to be happy, and we want it all of the time."
So begins James Bryan Smith in The Good and Beautiful Life. The problem is, he tells us, we have bought into false notions of happiness and success. These self-centered decisions lead us further into the vices that cause ruin: anger, lust, lying, worry and judging. Eventually we find ourselves living a beautifully packaged life of self-destruction.
Following the Sermon on the Mount, this follow-up to The Good and Beautiful God guides us to look behind these character flaws and to replace our false beliefs with Jesus' narratives about life in the kingdom of God.
"An invitation to a good life! Bryan Smiths' gift is to translate the sometimes weighty work of Dallas Willard in practical ways without watering down the theological foundation. A needed bit of work and so far a great series."
(L. H. - B.C., Canada)
"Helpful guide for the Christian journey. This book is a gem. While the cover design is aesthetically pleasing, the pages contain great stories, and the theological prose is enjoyable and accessible, of foremost importance for the prospective reader is that in The Good and Beautiful Life we have a fantastic resource for the transformation of human character into the likeness of Christ. The second in a series of three, this book is yet another valuable resource for those on the Christian journey, and perhaps even for those outside the Christian faith seeking to learn more about where the Christian life might lead. Throughout this series of books Smith cogently argues that "we live at the mercy of our ideas and our narratives," and it is through this lens the content of our spiritual lives is examined and then challenged. Each chapter within this installment presents a common narrative that many people hold that leads to anger, lust, lying, vindictive competitiveness, vainglory, avarice, worry, or judgmentalism, and then challenges that narrative through the life and teachings of Jesus. Smith relies on Jesus' teachings in the Sermon on the Mount as paramount for instilling the virtues that oppose these vices, reinforcing the Jesus narratives with an accompanying spiritual practice. In this book, those practices are writing a letter to God, play, hospitality, keeping the Sabbath, a media fast, silence, praying for the success of competitors, secret service, de-accumulation, prayer, a day without gossip, and living one day devotionally. The practices are simple, yet powerful, and the instructions Smith provides are very easy to follow. I found this book to be an excellent follow up to the first volume in The Apprentice Series, building well upon the ideas presented in The Good and Beautiful God. As is the case with each of these books, the teachings contained therein are best read and lived within a community, and thus this could be an excellent resource for a book club, a small group, a Sunday school class, or even as a touchstone for a church-wide initiative. As is obvious, I strongly recommend it, believing that this book and the accompanying volumes are invaluable sources of wisdom for the building up of the church today."
(B. S. - KS)
"Our Bible study couldn't wait for this book, The Good and Beautiful Life," to come out. We've been reading Bryan Smith's first book, "The Good and Beautiful God," and it has stimulated much conversation and given us all a new and healthier perspective on the "goodness of God." I highly recommend this book! It's perfect for small groups and Bible studies!"
(D. H. - CA)
"The Good and Beautiful Life is a refreshing look at what God has prepared for us all… and for all He wants to bestow upon us. I was captivated by the author's writing and the meaningful illustrations that are present throughout the book. This is a book that you will want to pass-along to your friends and family."
(R. M. - IN)