What’s the most important thing in the universe to you? What, more than anything else, permeates your thought life, pulls your heart strings, and propels your actions? Don’t fool yourself. That supreme something—whatever it may be for you—is shaping the person you are becoming, for better or for worse, turning you into someone radiant and full of life, or making you a dim and weightless ghost of yourself.
But what if we worshiped Jesus? Not the imaginary Jesus invented by televangelism, consumerism, fundamentalism, mysticism, or some political ism, but the actual Jesus we meet in the New Testament? How can he, unlike any other object of worship, enlarge our intellects, our emotions, our actions, our relationships, our imaginations, our whole selves? Drawing from science, literature, art, theology, history, music, philosophy, pop culture, and more, Thaddeus J. Williams paints a fresh and inspiring vision of how we become most truly ourselves by mirroring the Greatest Person in History.
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Williams has written a marvelous book that points readers toward authentic worship, faithful living, dedicated discipleship, and a love for Jesus Christ. Readers who take time to reflect on REFLECT will find a book that is brilliant, creative, wide-ranging, insightful, readable, challenging, and filled with wisdom. It is a genuine joy to recommend this outstanding book. I encourage readers to buy two copies and give one to a friend!
—David S. Dockery, President, Trinity International University
“Williams connects the dots between one of the church’s most neglected practices—the imitation of Christ—and one of our generation’s deepest questions—personal identity and meaning. REFLECT is a creative, winsome, and entertaining book that will help all different kinds of readers understand what it means to follow and worship Jesus in our current cultural moment.
—Gavin Ortlund, Associate Pastor, Sierra Madre Congregational Church (CA), and writer for The Gospel Coalition
With trademark brilliance and wit, Thaddeus Williams turns his eye to the question of Jesus’ identity, and its implications for, well, everyone.
—Ross Anderson, The Atlantic
“But the sooner we acknowledge that we are all theists and atheists simultaneously, that we are all supremely devoted to some things and undevoted to others, that we stake our meaning in places where others don’t and vice versa, then the more we can move forward, thinking together about which of these different ‘gods’ bring out the best and the worst in people.” (Page 5)
“Let us call this Emerson’s Law: our deities shape our identities. We become like whatever we most love. Our objects of veneration define the scope and contours of our soul’s formation (or de-formation).” (Page 3)
“What was Burnett’s secret? ‘Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun.’15” (Page 24)
“The person who spends all his brainpower getting everyone to like him ends up lonesome, too self-absorbed to be a true friend. C. S. Lewis points us to the principle behind these paradoxes: ‘Every preference of a small good to a great, or partial good to a total good, involves the loss of the small or partial good for which the sacrifice is made.… You can’t get second things by putting them first. You get second things only by putting first things first.’” (Pages 9–10)
“Today’s cool communicators use the big and extraordinary to sell the small and the mundane. The creative genius of Jesus uses the small and the mundane—dirt, mustard seeds, salt, lamps—to freely offer us something big and extraordinary, life in his kingdom.” (Page 26)
Thaddeus J. Williams (Ph.D., Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam) serves as Assistant Professor of Theology at Biola University in La Mirada, CA. He has also taught literature at Saddleback College, jurisprudence at Trinity Law School, philosophy at L’Abri Fellowships in Switzerland and Holland, and ethics for Blackstone Legal Fellowship and Federalist Society in Washington, DC.