The Music Network’s online book club has just finished Section 1 of Stay Salt by Rebecca Manley Pippert and we’d love to share some of what we’ve been learning.
Often we are fearful of having spiritual conversations with our sceptical friends even though we care deeply for them. We feel inadequate. What if God leaves us floundering? The first section of Stay Salt is about the means for witness and has been a wonderful reminder that we can and should rely on God. Rather than trusting in our own strength, we can be honest about our weakness and see that it is a right part of our humanity rather than something wrong with us that means we are ill-equipped to be Christ’s witnesses. Satan wants us to despise our smallness, yet Jesus came to earth small and weak. This assures us that God is pleased to dwell in and reveal himself through human weakness! As you think about having gospel conversations with your sceptical friends, I pray this gives you courage - you are meant to be weak and God chooses to reveal himself through our weakness.
The 'Unseen Real'
But how do we rely on God’s strength not our own? Becky Manley Pippert describes the Western church as ‘spiritually anaemic’ and encourages us address this by abiding in Christ, knowing the power of his Spirit at work in us. She encourages us to fix our eyes on things unseen, to remember that there is more to see than we can physically see, like when Elisha's servant saw ‘hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha’ protecting them from the enemy armies which were encircling their city (2 Kings 6:16-17).
I pray this also encourages you as you have gospel conversations - the 'Unseen Real', the presence of God, is closer, realer, and more powerful than any opposition.
A gold mine of underlooked principles
Matthew Nunn is a music student at Goldsmiths who has been part of our book club. Here are his reflections on Section 1 and how it has helped us so far:
Becky Manley Pippert’s thoughtful reflections on what it means to be Christ’s witnesses have given way to many moments of sharing and encouragement in our group. The book is a gold mine of underlooked principles and wonderful stories that help us understand how to act as ambassadors for the Kingdom of Heaven when speaking to friends about God. She writes of how Christians must rely on God: to remember, rejoice, request and renew daily, and how that leads to great confidence and peace in moments of evangelism. Working through her points in a group has been particularly edifying, I’ve enjoyed hearing how this wisdom is understood in our particular relationships and cultures. The book is shockingly concise and contemplative, often getting to the root of why Christians struggle to connect with secular people.