Nils von Kalm
Bending Towards Justice: How Jesus is more relevant than ever in the 21st Century
Coventry Press, Melbourne, 2019
ISBN-13: 978-0648497745

 Bending Towards Justice

 

"The book – which, as well as citing Biblical passages, draws on insights from the likes of CS Lewis, NT Wright and Billy Graham as well as pop cultural icons like the movie Avatar and current issues of discussion in the Australian context - can work as a daily devotional or simply be dipped into now and again for a fresh insight. It’s a text to take time over rather than one to rush through from cover-to-cover."

To follow Christ is to adopt a different way of thinking and acting, one which reflects the dual commandment of God, contained in the Gospels, that we love the Lord with all our heart, and that we love our neighbour as ourselves.

Nils von Kalm’s collection of essays provide a mirror for ourselves to look into as we consider what that different way of thinking means for our lives – but also for the lives of those we share this Earth with.

Covering thoughts on some of life’s biggest questions, such as how does a good and loving God allow suffering and evil?, through to pieces celebrating the deeper meaning of Christmas and Easter and reflections on such things as the importance of having times of stillness in the busy whirl of life, the essays in Bending Towards Justice paint a picture of what it means to walk along The Way revealed by Jesus Christ.

Fueled by personal insights and revelations von Kalm has had during his many years of work at Christian aid and development organisations including Anglican Overseas Aid and World Vision Australia, the book puts the Biblical concept of justice firmly at the very heart of the Gospel, as reflected in its title - a reference to that famous quote from Martin Luther King, Jr: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice”.

“Many of the articles in this book focus on the conditions of people in the majority poor world,” writes von Kalm in the introduction. “But they also focus on life in the affluent West, where I was born and live. Through an accident of birth, my life is privileged. I am a white, middle-class male, living in one of the richest countries in the world…Most of the world doesn't live like I do. So these articles are as much a reminder to me as they hopefully will be to you, that our lives do not consist in the abundance of our possessions, but in surrender to the One who gives us everything we have in life.”

The book – which, as well as citing Biblical passages, draws on insights from the likes of CS Lewis, NT Wright and Billy Graham as well as pop cultural icons like the movie Avatar and current issues of discussion in the Australian context - can work as a daily devotional or simply be dipped into now and again for a fresh insight. It’s a text to take time over rather than one to rush through from cover-to-cover.

Nils von Kalm’s voice has long been a welcome addition to contemporary Christian thought – it’s been a privilege to publish his essays on Sight over what is now many years. This book is a great way to connect afresh with some challenging and insightful thoughts on what it means to be a follower of Christ and how the work of Christ aims to transform every part of our lives and the world in which we live.

As von Kalm sums up (in an essay talking about why your past doesn't have to be your future): "Restoration, transformation, renewal. This is the great story of The Gospel. Despite what your past may be, you can be restored, renewed and transformed, so that you can restore, renew and transform others. We are the most fortunate people in the world, and it is with this privilege that you can continue to fight for a world in which the love of God rules the day."

Amen.

Nils von Kalm is a Sight contributor.