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    The Good: The Grand Weaver

    September 25, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    One of the best places to begin when searching for a work’s moral goodness is the thesis statement. It is an unfortunate fact that, in these postmodern times, not all books actually stick to their purported aim, but I still think it is a good place to start.

    [God’s] design for your life pulls together every thread of your existence into a magnificent work of art. Every thread matters and has a specific purpose.

    I pray that as you read these pages, you will see those threads come together and know that God is indeed the Grand Weaver of your life.

    And so one sees that the aim of The Grand Weaver is morally good. Encouraging his readers to trust in God’s providence, to recognize God as the Author of Life, to these things I can find no objection.

    I will, however, say that, sometimes, the metaphor of God as a weaver {and please do not think that Zacharias renamed God in the fashion of Margaret Feinberg–he did not, and faithfully refers to our Lord using His revealed names throughout the book} got in the way. There were a few time where I became confused about strands, strings, and threads, and this muddled my understanding of what Zacharias was trying to say. These incidents were, however, few and far between.

    DNA Chapter Lacked Completeness
    One of my few criticisms of this work comes in the first chapter concerning DNA. The chapter thesis is generally that one’s DNA is beautiful because it was designed by God. God chose who one would be and what one would look like from the very beginning. Zacharias talks a bit about one needing to accept oneself. I particularly liked this:

    The day that each person willingly accepts himself or herself for who he or she is and acknowledges the uniqueness of God’s framing process marks the beginning of a journey to seeing the handiwork of God in each life. Trying to mirror someone else’s accomplishments is one thing. Trying to be someone else in distinctive capacity is unhealthy and breeds insatiable hungers. Not everyone is a Bach or an Einstein. But there is splendor in the ordinary.

    What was lacking here was clear direction on how people who struggle with accepting themselves might actually go about doing so.

    Most people that I have met who struggle in this area already know that they should accept themselves. And perhaps some would be moved by Zacharias’ emotionally charged stories. But I believe some might need to know specific steps they could take to conquer whatever it is that holds them back in this area. At the very least, I wish Zacharias would have suggested a book or Scripture passage to help a reader with this area.

    Morality
    I thought Zacharias’ chapter on morality contained a great discussion of morality in light of other religions, and he gave me some new thoughts to chew on. He definitely encouraged genuine moral goodness in his readers, so this gets five stars from me:

    Morality is the fruit of your knowledge of God, conscious or otherwise. But it can never be the root of your claim before God. Morality can build pride as well as philanthropy; true spirituality will never submit to pride. Having said all that, morality is still the ground from within which the creative spirit of art and other disciplines may grow. But if they grow to exaggerate who we are, then it is morality for morality’s sake. If it sprouts toward heaven, it points others to God.

    A Good Book
    The Christian landscape has been terribly polluted by books that are nothing more than marketing schemes masquerading as moral goodness or truth, but in the end they are nothing but whitewashed tombs. I believe Zacharias has something different, something true, something good to offer readers, and that is refreshing, indeed. I will leave off for today with one of my favorite quotes from the book:

    The Scriptures clearly declare that God has chosen us to be conformed to the image of his Son. The Son has provided the destination we must reach. We will never be like Jesus in essence, but God calls us to be like him in our reflective splendor.

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