THE VERY GOOD GOSPEL: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right. By Lisa Sharon Harper. Foreword by Walter Brueggemann. New York: WaterBrook, 2016. Xiv + 224 pages.
Jesus came preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. That is, he came preaching good news that promised a restoration of that which is good. This is not just good news, it is very good news, as the title of Lisa Sharon Harper’s book suggests. Recognizing that the Bible is ultimately a narrative of God’s work that begins in creation and ends in restoration, Harper invites us to inhabit this narrative so that we might be drawn into this “very good gospel.” It is a gospel that offers shalom, or peace and wholeness.
Before getting to the author, I need to take note of the one who wrote the foreword to this book. Anytime Walter Brueggemann puts his imprimatur on a book, we should pay attention. We might not agree with the sentiments at points, but if he finds it intriguing then so should we. As for the author, Lisa Sharon Harper is "chief church engagement officer" for Sojourners. Sojourners is a community and movement that seeks to connect faith and social justice. Harper is tasked with inviting churches to enter into this work. Besides her status as being a Sojourner’s staff member, she is also the author of several books, has worked as a community organizer, and has become a widely recognized faith leader. From her vantage point at Sojourners she wants to invite us to inhabit this "very good gospel," so that what is wrong/broken can be made right/healed.