World on Fire: Walking in the Wisdom of Christ When Everyone’s Fighting About Everything – Hannah Anderson and Others

World on Fire Hannah Anderson and Others
World on Fire: Walking in the Wisdom of Christ When Everyone’s Fighting About Everything by Hannah Anderson, Jada Edwards, Jasmine L. Holmes, Rachel Gilson, Rebecca McLaughlin, Jen Pollock Michel, Elizabeth Woodson, Mary Wiley, Ashley Gorman
Also by this author: The Grumbler's Guide to Giving Thanks: Reclaiming the Gifts of a Lost Spiritual Discipline, Born Again This Way, 10 Questions Every Teen Should Ask (and Answer) about Christianity, Is Christmas Unbelievable?: Four Questions Everyone Should Ask about the World's Most Famous Story
Published by B & H Publishing on July 15, 2021
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Racial Reconciliation
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four-stars

Does it feel like no matter where you look or what the issue is, everyone seems to be fighting about everything?   We live in the information age, with more access to knowledge than ever before, flowing to us in a never-ending digital stream of updates, statistics, polls, opinions, news, and narratives from those on opposing sides of any issue. And while we’d assume this influx of information would help us find a good, informed way forward in our culture, it actually stirs up all sorts of anger, anxiety, and even loneliness. This all contributes to an increasingly defensive society that feels like it’s not only fracturing, but could go up in flames at any moment.   If you’re anything like the contributors to World on Fire, you’ve realized that all this knowledge isn’t the same thing as wisdom. While our world relies on expected, reflexive, status-quo, earthly wisdom to make a way forward or take a side on any given issue, Christ would rather us rely on his unexpected, counterintuitive, going-against-the- grain, heavenly wisdom as outlined in his famous Beatitudes. This surprising wisdom is not a call to be removed from the fire we feel blazing around us, but one to engage and tame it—beginning with our own hearts.   Whatever those nearest you seem to be arguing about today, and no matter what the fire looks like in your neck of the woods, Jesus has an answer for the ways his kingdom citizens should walk as they navigate the flames in his power and posture. In their own unique voice and in their own unique way, each contributor in World on Fire welcomes you to come explore not only some of the polarizing issues of our day, but how the unexpected wisdom of Jesus might help us be more discerning and Christlike amidst them. 

This timely book features chapters from different Christian women writers, beginning with Hannah Anderson. They all write about a different phrase from the Beatitudes in Matthew 5, exploring how Jesus’s counterintuitive wisdom speaks to our heart motives and life situations in the midst of a fractured world. Each woman writes from her own unique perspective, and they each share personal stories and examples that contextualize their teaching. The writers all emphasize how even though we want to prove ourselves right, win arguments, and come out on top in our culture’s endless battles, the wisdom of Christ requires us to take a different posture, search our hearts in humility, and reach out to others with grace and love.

World on Fire: Walking in the Wisdom of Christ When Everyone’s Fighting About Everything engages with a variety of different heart issues and social problems, and I found the chapter about racial conversations particularly unique and helpful. Some of the content throughout the book is repetitive, since the women write similar things about how the Bible speaks to current cultural issues, but if someone read this book over a longer period of time than I did, the content overlap would be less noticeable.

Overall, this is a great book for individuals to read together, and for mature discussion groups that can handle vulnerable heart-searching and discussion of difficult issues together. The authors include a few pages of application and discussion questions at the end of each chapter, encouraging readers to answer them for themselves and while considering dynamics in groups of Christians they might be leading. The questions appear in four categories and are very insightful and provocative, encouraging people to evaluate themselves and consider ways that they can live out Jesus’s values in their relationships and in the public square.

World on Fire is a resource that many people need right now, but the downside of its timeliness is that it will quickly become dated. The references to events from 2020 and early 2021 are very relevant to the book’s current readers, but the focus on specific political, social, and pandemic-related issues give this book a shorter shelf life than it warrants. Because the biblical content is universal, this book has ongoing value, but I personally would have preferred it if the authors had taken a broader view, without focusing quite so much on current controversies. Still, the authors designed this to meet a current need for people who feel overwhelmed in their relationships post-2020, and the immediate focus will be valuable to many readers right now.

four-stars