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Om författaren

Russ Ramsey is a pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nash ville. He has also served as content director for He Reads Truth and She Reads Truth. He is the author of Struck, The Advent of the Lamb of God, and The Mission of the Body of Christ. He lives in Nashville with his wife and four children.

Verk av Russ Ramsey


Allmänna fakta

Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Indiana, USA



First sentence: Henri Nouwen wrote in The Return of the Prodigal Son, "Our brokenness has no other beauty but the beauty that comes from the compassion that surrounds it." Our wounds are not beautiful in themselves; the story behind their healing is. But how can we tell the story of our healing if we hide the wounds that need it? This book is about beauty. To get at it, the book is filled with stories of brokenness.

Art history through a Christian perspective--that's how I'd sum up Rembrandt is in the Wind. Ramsey looks at art through the lens of goodness, truth, and beauty. He argues that beauty is the glue that holds the three together. And those three are communal (universal)--not only shared by all humans everywhere, but also shared by God. (For these three are attributes of God).

Ramsey writes, "The pursuit of goodness, the pursuit of truth, and the pursuit of beauty are, in fact, foundational to the health of any community." He argues that beauty is essential and should actively be sought.

He has selected a handful of artists--around nine or ten--and is sharing their stories through their works. (Not all their works, mind you, but selected works. He is choosing artists and stories (and works) to make his argument. I am sure these stories are just the tip of the iceberg. That there would be even more stories, more lessons, more wisdom if the book was longer.

My personal favorite chapter was chapter one, "Beautifying Eden: Why Pursuing Goodness, Truth, and Beauty Matters." I found all the chapters interesting to a certain degree. But some chapters were "extra" good for me. Other chapters were perhaps a little less so.

Table of contents:

Beautifying Eden: Why Pursuing Goodness, Truth, and Beauty Matters
Pursuing Perfection: Michelangelo's David and Our Hunger for Glory
The Sacred and the Profane: Caravaggio and the Paradox of Corruption and Grace
Rembrandt is In the Wind: The Tragedy of Desecration and the Hope of Redemption
Borrowed Light: Johannes Vermeer and the Mystery of Creation
Creating in Community: Jean Frederic Bazille, the Impressionists, and the Importance of Belonging
The Striving Artist: Vincent Van Gogh's The Red Vineyard and the Elusive Nature of Contentment
Beyond Imagination: Henry O Tanner, Race, and the Humble Power of Curiosity
What Remains Unsaid: Edward Hopper, Loneliness and Our Longing for Connection
Measuring a Life: Lilias Trotter and the Joys and Sorrows of Sacrificial Obedience
… (mer)
blbooks | Jan 20, 2023 |
Summary: A retelling of the story of the coming of Jesus, who would be God's ultimate lamb, tracing from the Fall through Israel's history to Christ's advent, God's relentless yet loving pursuit of his people.

Christians are story-shaped people. For anyone who would suggest that the Bible is God's rule book, I would propose rather that the Bible tells us the story of God's pursuit of a lost humanity and how we might be found by Him and live within that story. The older I get the more I'm persuaded that we often don't really know the story we live within, and are sometimes shaped by stories that really aren't our story.

What I so love about this book, and the series of three of which it is a part, is that Russ Ramsey uses three great seasons of the church's life: Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter, and Pentecost to help us discover (or re-discover) our story. Through 25 brief reflections, he traces Israel's longing for the Promised One, the Messiah, and then his coming in Jesus, Immanuel. Ramsey's spare prose sketches out the main contours of the biblical narrative from the fall, through the coming of the Messiah, and briefly his baptism, and ministry, death, and resurrection, that fulfilled the longings of generations of Israel.

We're reminded of the one who would come to crush the head of Eve's deceiver, the one who would be sacrificed on Moriah instead of Isaac, the one who wrestled with Jacob, who was the new Moses, the faultless judge, the King promised to David. It is a narrative that stresses how Israel relentlessly tries to shake God's grasp, and a God who refuses to let go of them because of his intention to bless them, and through them the nations. Ramsey writes:

"Though they would wrestle with God, and though the Lord would hobble them, stripping them of their leverage, it would be because God was fighting for them even when they were fighting against him, even when they forgot the covenant the Lord himself swore to uphold." (p. 51)

He explores how God fulfilled his covenant promise through a silenced priest, an aged wife, a young girl, and a bewildered but obedient husband, all of them living under the thumb of the Roman empire, and their power hungry surrogate, Herod the Great. We are reminded of the real agonies the young maiden endured among the stabled animals, the wondrous birth, the angels with the shepherds, the flight to Egypt with the Magi's gifts, and the joyful declaration and sober warnings in the words of aged Simeon of a sword that would pierce Mary's heart.

This is not a tightly focused treatment of the birth narratives alone but connects them to what has gone before in Israel's history. These are not disparate narratives but one narrative, in which the birth is a kind of culmination of what has gone before. Yet Ramsey accomplishes this by focusing on the main contours of the story, and by prose that is both imaginative and yet disciplined.

You may wonder about reviewing an Advent book in July. Yet Christian educators and worship leaders are anticipating the Advent season even now. This might be a great Advent devotional to be used, perhaps as an adjunct to adult education or a preaching series. It is a wonderful resource for young believers, as well as those of longer years who, immersed in theological argument, how-to-ism, or approaches that set the Bible at war with itself, might discover again for the first time this wondrous story. Ramsey's book is no substitute for the Bible, or "Cliff's Notes" for scripture, but rather an invitation to discover our story and immerse ourselves in it, allowing it to shape our lives.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
… (mer)
BobonBooks | Jul 17, 2018 |
Struck is Russ Ramsey's story of his brush with death. He was struck with a bacterial infection which destroyed his mitral valve, the heart valve which prevents backflow in the left ventricle of the heart. He required open-heart surgery and gained a new perspective through his struggle with sickness, depression, chemical addiction to painkillers, a brush with death and his recovery. As a father of four, pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville and author he reflects on how his brush with mortality affected his family and his faith.

Ramsey's story unfolds in four acts. Part one describes the affliction, his diagnosis, operation and the first month of treatment. Part two, Recovery, explores month 2-5, the early days of recovery, depression, and rehabilitation. Part three, Lament (months 6-22) describes Ramsey's movement back into the ministry of soul care, with fresh insights and empathy from his own struggle. Part 4, Doxology, shows death and suffering swallowed up in hope and praise, as Ramsey looks ahead to life and resurrection. An afterward, written by Lisa Ramsey, Russ Ramsey's wife, tells of her journey as she stood by her husband in sickness, diagnosis, surgery, and recovery. There are ways in which her afterward is my favorite part of the book because she refuses to make a 'life lesson' out of her husband's infirmity. She marks the time as significant and is grateful for the ways God sustained them. It is enough.

I love memoirs because they open up the reality of another's experience. I appreciate Ramsey's sometimes raw honesty and the way his diagnosis enabled him to forge deep friendships with and offer hope to co-strugglers (like Barbara, a woman he and his wife knew dying of cancer). There is no sentimentality here. There is pain, grief, depression, loss and sadness. There is also an enduring faith. Ramsey opens up about the depths of his experience. He underwent open heart surgery and learned to live open-heartedly. I give this book four stars.

Notice of material connection: I received a copy of this book from IVP in exchange for my honest review
… (mer)
Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
This book was a goodreads.com first read contest win.

Wow. I will admit that sometimes (ok usually) I will judge a book by it's cover and the title of the book. For some strange reason I was not wrong with this one. Behold The Lamb of God is such a book that will inspire a reader to become better than what they are. It will inspire the reader to think about the reason behind the season. This is such a book that will allow a reader to remember, wonder, and wish that we could all just look over our shoulder and see God there. Well is people would stop look and listen he is always there is is just whether we want to see and listen to Him. That is our problem as humans. When we want something we want it now not tomorrow, not next week, not next year. We want it now. We as humans need to stop and think that everything and yes I mean everything will only happen in God's time not our time. Then sometimes we never get what we want. But then that is because God has deemed that we do not need it. This book is such a book that will allow the reader to stop and think and remember that we need to be patient and wait for God.

Please understand this is my opinion about the book and how I understood it. Also please remember that the book is based on the author's opinion on how he interprets the bible. Everyone interprets the bible a little differently. No one will truly understand everything there is to understand in and about the bible and God until God see fit to end the world.
… (mer)
kybunnies | Oct 19, 2014 |


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