Coming Back to Earth is a collection of essays that examine some of the foundational challenges that must be confronted this century – climate change, urban life, agriculture and food – with the conviction that the great biblical narrative has something essential to say about each of them: essential in that we need to hear it; and essential in that it penetrates to the very essence of the problem and its solution. It argues that we can find in the Bible both prescient explanations for our current predicament and pertinent wisdom that offers hopeful guidance. Through all of this we are invited to re-think our understanding of the church and its purpose in a hurting and broken world, the reasons for the Christianity’s seeming irrelevance today, and what might be required to renew the church as a dynamic, engaged and hopeful witness to the good news of the kingdom of God.
Coming Back to Earth invites us to move beyond seeing the challenges confronting humanity and the church as abstract issues but rather to understand them as challenges that penetrate to the heart of our lives and our faith.
Archbishop Philip Freier, Anglican Primate of Australia
“Prophetic, personal, passionate and practiced are words that spring from these pages. Prophetic because these words are rooted in the biblical narrative and tradition that calls God’s people to live an embodied faith. Personal through anecdote and family. Passionate for God’s way of pursuing ethical living amidst the challenges of our age. Practiced because discipleship is to be lived in the everyday economics of our lives, enfleshed in practical and visible ways. Perceptive, is another descriptor, for this book offers significant insights into God’s call for the Church as a social ethic, a community of reconciliation, in a world and Church at the crossroads. I commend this book’s challenge to our discipleship.”
Matthew Maury, National Director, TEAR Australia:
“How have we as Christians become so disconnected from the essence of the Gospel and its application to the challenges facing society today? Cornford helps unpack how we as a society and as a church ended up where we are today – at a crossroads where the ‘crisis of church and the crisis of the world meet’ – and offers an important theological voice with a prophetic edge for a church that seems more committed to pursuing ‘the good life’ than living the ‘good news’.
Cornford tackles some of the biggest challenges facing our communities (climate, urbanisation, food systems) by taking us back to the essence of the message of the Gospel. If we believe that the good news of Jesus is about life-changing transformation and reconciliation, then our discipleship must be relevant in ways that engage with these challenges. This work provides a great balance of both deep theological reflection combined with ideas for practical application thus enabling the reader to consider what it means to be modern day ‘salt and light’. The result is both prophetic and hope-filled.
A must read for every Christian who is serious about the practical application of their faith in a world facing huge systemic challenges.”
Sylvia Keesmat, biblical scholar, author of Colossians Remixed:
“Amidst the babble of stories that disconnect us from the earth and each other, Cornford’s brilliant and passionate telling of the biblical story not only dares to name the sources of our own grief and pain, but insightfully pulls us in to the deeper, richer story of our own calling as the suffering followers of Jesus. The vision of this book is no pie-in-the-sky dream, rather it is a way of walking for those of us who want to root our households in down-to-earth, faithful, joyful, kingdom living, no matter what the consequences. If you are hungry for a fully embodied picture of how the Bible calls us to live in faithfulness with the earth and each other, then this book is for you.”
Revd Dr Gordon Preece, Director, Ethos - EA Centre for Christianity & Society
Jonathan Cornford is one of Australia’s most radical Christian thinkers. This short book is a pithy and profound summary of much of his recent writing. Its challenges to our western, over-stuffed, ecologically destructive lifestyles come thick and fast. But they are delivered with a lightness of touch, grace, humour, and deep pathos. Jonathan is a weeping prophet. He and his family live with these challenges daily, but not self-righteously. This book is down to earth, honest, even blunt, but delivered with healthy doses of biblical hope. It deserves, and our perilous plight demands, a large readership.
Ched Myers, theologian, author of Binding the Strongman:
Cornford has done a great job recontextualizing the Sabbath Economics vision into the Australian context, and maintains a keen commitment to justice, sustainability and the church. This collection of essays offers theological, pastoral and practical resources to the demands of discipleship in a world groaning under ecological and social crisis.
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