Bound Together: How We are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choices

Bound Together: How We are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choices

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by Chris Brauns
     
 

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We are not just isolated individuals. Instead, our lives are woven together with others. We have solidarity with other people—the choices one person makes affects the lives of others, for good and for bad.

Because much of the pain we endure in life is in the context of relationships, this truth often strikes us as unfair. Why should a child suffer because

Overview

We are not just isolated individuals. Instead, our lives are woven together with others. We have solidarity with other people—the choices one person makes affects the lives of others, for good and for bad.

Because much of the pain we endure in life is in the context of relationships, this truth often strikes us as unfair. Why should a child suffer because of the choices of his parents? And on a grander scale, why do we all suffer the curse of Adam’s sin? Why should anyone be judged for someone else’s sin?

In Bound Together, Chris Brauns unpacks the truth that we are bound to one another and to the whole of creation. He calls this, “the principle of the rope.” Grasping this foundational principle sheds new light on marriage, the dynamics of family relationships, and the reason why everyone lives with the consequences of the sins that others commit. Brauns shows how the principle of the rope is both bad news and good news, revealing a depth to the message of the gospel that many of us have never seen before.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780310495116
Publisher:
Zondervan
Publication date:
03/05/2013
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Bound Together

How we are tied to others in good and bad choices
By Chris Brauns

ZONDERVAN

Copyright © 2013 Chris Brauns
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-49511-6


Chapter One

Strange and Troubling Truth

The funny thing about the truly strange is that sometimes it's real. Alan Jacobs, Wayfaring

Everyone will have noticed how the Old Testament seems at times to ignore our conception of the individual. C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

And Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver and the cloak and the bar of gold, and his sons and daughters and his oxen and donkeys and sheep and his tent and all that he had. And they brought them up to the Valley of Achor. And Joshua said, "Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord brings trouble on you today." And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. Joshua 7:24–25, emphasis added

I didn't understand the principle of the rope was at work when I saw Stevie Baxter drunk. As far as that goes, at first I didn't even know he was drunk. I was only ten at the time. Stevie was eleven. I was playing with friends in a green meadow by the muddy Des Moines River. Stevie was sipping what appeared to be orange pop and acting stupid. I figured he was staggering around and slurring his words to entertain us.

My friends, Stevie's cousins, were far more knowledgeable about the effects of alcohol than I was, and they immediately understood that Stevie was three sheets to the wind. They laughed and poked one another. I sensed I was missing something, but I couldn't quite figure it out.

Even when I saw Stevie getting sick, I didn't know what was going on. It wasn't until Stevie's mother showed up and figured out that Stevie's older brothers had spiked her eleven-year-old's Orange Crush that I put two and two together.

Mrs. Baxter lit into Stevie's suppliers with the unmitigated fury of a tornado. I was scared just watching her scream and yell. The objects of Mrs. Baxter's wrath hung their heads and took the verbal pummeling. They were too drunk themselves to be much offended. All the while, Stevie was bent over, hands on his knees, continuing to vomit on the banks of the muddy river.

I didn't tell my parents that Stevie had been drunk. But if I had shared it with them, despite the fact that he was eleven years old at the time, they would have been only mildly surprised. Stevie was a Baxter. Baxters drank. It was expected. Your average Baxter child was regularly in trouble by the end of junior high and had crashed at least one car by the time he was in his late teens. Of course, not every Baxter was drunk all the time. But most were. Stevie was just the latest in a long line of drunken dominoes to topple over.

Like I said, I didn't understand at the time that the principle of the rope was at work. If you had asked me at ten years old what had happened, I would have said that Stevie chose to be "bad," that it was his decision to drink. And if you had asked me why I wasn't drunk, I would have told you it was because I had made better decisions than Stevie, that somehow my ability to say no to alcohol was stronger than Stevie's, that I was a better person in some way.

Even without knowing any of the people involved in this story, you can tell this is an overly simplistic evaluation. The reality—a truth we will be unpacking in greater detail in this book—is that Stevie's decision to drink at age eleven was not merely the result of his choices as an individual. Yes, at some point Stevie chose to drink. But a large part of the reason Stevie guzzled whatever was mixed with his orange pop was that the people in his family had shown him by their words and examples that this was the only choice he could make. Stevie's family had jumped into the river of alcoholism. And when they did, they pulled Stevie into the current after them.

Families like Stevie's are but one sad example among billions. And the reality that underlies this experience—that our lives, our decisions, our choices, our actions are directly and indirectly affected by the decisions and choices of other people—is one of the defining realities of life. Yet much of the time, we forget about it. We act as if we are the captains of our own ships, as if somehow our lives and decisions as individuals can remain unaffected by our ethnicity, our family background, and our nationality.

In the case of families, we might even say that "they are we and we are they." Our future and our place in this world aren't simply the sum of our own individual choices. On varying levels, we are roped together with others. When someone we are roped to is lifted up, we are lifted up with them. When he or she jumps off a figurative cliff, we are pulled down with them. This is what I refer to as the "principle of the rope"—the simple truth that our lives, choices, and actions are linked to the lives, choices, and actions of other people. To put it simply, as I have done in the title of this book, we are "bound together," tied to others in our good and bad choices.

There are endless illustrations of this principle, and not all are so dramatic. We talk a lot about the principle of the rope in our church and at home. Recently, when I was out for a walk with my ten-year-old son, I asked him, "Benjamin, what do I mean by the principle of the rope?" He responded quickly. "Oh, I think about that a lot. Here's the best example I can give. Today a couple of kids in my class got in trouble. So none of us got to go out for recess. That's the principle of the rope."

So it is. While my son's fourth-grade class is comprised of individuals, they are not islands unto themselves. When Ben's classmates misbehaved, they were "roped" to the rest of the class. Two jumped off the behavioral cliff. And, at least for one recess, they pulled the rest of the class down with them. As this classroom example implies, the principle of the rope—our solidarity with one another as human beings—is not confined to our family relationships. It applies to institutions like the church and the government as well. When Hitler chose to be an evil dictator, he pulled the entire nation of Germany over the cliff with him. Of course, specific individuals were complicit in this evil. But can we blame young children who happened to belong to German families during this time in history for the sins committed by their parents? Surely it was just their misfortune to be "roped" to the Third Reich. And yet the fact remains that these children, however innocent they may have been, still faced the consequences of decisions made by those who came before them. Though not directly responsible for the crimes committed, their lives were linked to their national identity, and the choices and decisions made by their parents and leaders changed their future.

I use the phrase "the principle of the rope" to help people picture this reality of how connected we are to one another. Theologians refer to this principle in several different ways. Sometimes they speak of "corporate identity" or of "the one and the many," referring to how the actions of one individual can affect many others. Just as often, the principle of the rope is referenced by the word solidarity—one of those words we often hear used without considering what it means. Solidarity refers to a union of interests, purposes, or sympathies among members of a group. It speaks to the ties that bind a group together. You may have heard the word solidarity used in the context of labor unions. When union leaders appeal to their members to show solidarity during a labor dispute, they are calling for members to show that they are bound together as a unified whole.

In this book, I will be using phrases like "the principle of the rope" and "corporate solidarity" and the word solidarity interchangeably. As a pastor, I try hard to make abstract theological concepts concrete and accessible to people, so I often prefer the simpler phrase "the principle of the rope." But at times, I will use the more technical language for precision. In every case, these phrases refer to the same reality.

I am not the first person to use the image of rope as a picture of the invisible connections that exist between human beings. In the great American novel titled Moby Dick, Herman Melville's Ishmael reflected on these realities as well. Two men named Ishmael and Queequeg are cutting up a whale they have just killed. Ishmael remains on the boat, but he is "roped" to Queequeg, who is down in the water on the back of the mostly submerged whale. Should Queequeg begin to be drawn under the whale, it is Ishmael's job to jerk his comrade upright. But this is a precarious connection. If for some reason Queequeg is pulled under the whale, Ishmael will inevitably be pulled along with him, and they will both drown. Reflecting on his state of being roped to another man, Ishmael comes to see that the literal rope connecting them pictures a far older, much stronger rope that connects all people together:

I say, I saw that this situation of mine was the precise situation of every mortal that breathes; only, in most cases he, one way or other, has this ... [roped] connexion with a plurality of other mortals. If your banker breaks, you snap; if your apothecary by mistake sends you poison in your pills, you die.

Melville's Ishmael didn't like the principle of the rope. He felt there was injustice in the principle, that it was wrong for some to suffer because of the poor decisions of others. And yet he could not escape the clear truth that he saw: for better or for worse, we are roped together.

Like Ishmael, I struggled with the fairness of the principle of the rope. How could it be right that when a grown man chooses to be violent, a three-year-old little girl suffers? For me, this idea didn't sit very well. But this was before I realized that this principle, which seems so terrible on the one hand, is our lifeline to joy. I'll get to why the principle of the rope is such glorious news. At this point, my goal isn't to convince you about whether or not the principle of the rope is fair or whether it's good news. Instead, the first objective is to establish agreement that solidarity is an undeniable aspect of reality.

We could draw a parallel between the principle of the rope and the law of gravity. With regard to gravity, it doesn't seem fair to me, and I don't understand it. Gravity has been hard on me since I was a youth. Growing up, it was my life's dream to become a star basketball player. I lived on a farm, and like a scene out of the movie Hoosiers, my parents set up a hoop for me to practice on. Even though our driveway was gravel and it was hard to dribble the ball, I would shoot baskets for long hours each day. Eventually, I could knock down shots from all over the driveway.

Yet, despite my hours of practice, the law of gravity brought an early end to my basketball-playing career. I was around four foot ten at that time, and though I would try as hard as I could to jump, I could never quite leap high enough off the hardwood to slam the ball through the hoop. As a matter of fact, my vertical jump was so pathetic that I had a hard time even touching the net. In the sixth grade I signed with the Parsons Chevrolet franchise in Keosauqua, Iowa, and we struggled through a mediocre season. Padget's Gadgets crushed us in both the regular season and the play-offs. To this day, I blame our dismal season on the law of gravity.

Eventually, I went to college and took physics, where we spent a great deal of time studying gravity. We learned about a brilliant British guy named Henry Cavendish, who was the first to accurately measure the gravitational constant. Our class experimented with dropping objects off tall buildings. I memorized formulas and figured out the mass of the moon and earth based on the gravitational pull. To this day I don't understand how gravity works. And as I have gotten slower and even more vertically challenged in my old age, I continue to resent it.

You know where I am going. Regardless of whether or not I agree with the fairness of the law of gravity, or understand it, I still live in light of it. I'm not planning on walking off the fourth floor of a building anytime soon, and it isn't up to me to decide what is fair. This is our Father's world. The principle of the rope is part of it. I rest in his justice.

Of course, if we are really going to consider the validity of the point, we need to look at the Bible. What does God's Word say about the principle of the rope? Are people treated as individual units? Or are they roped to one another?

The Principle of the rope in the Bible

Time and again, as we read through Scripture, we find examples that validate the reality of the principle of the rope. In fact, when I first began to study the Bible, one of the most difficult things to accept was how often innocent people, particularly young children, suffered because of the decisions made by someone else.

For example, consider the story of the flood in Genesis 7:9–19. We read that God destroyed all people on the earth through a flood, with one notable exception—the family of Noah. Apart from Noah's immediate family, every single person on earth died in a disaster that made Hurricane Katrina look like a spring shower. Genesis 7:22 tells us that "everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died," and this includes all the small children who were not part of Noah's family. Please understand, I know the Bible tells us these people were wicked and corrupt. But how much chance did the three-year-olds of that day have to turn things around before they drowned? Why didn't God have the toddlers walk up the ramp of the ark, two by two? The only answer that makes sense is that young children drowned in the flood because they were roped together with their parents and their culture. In other words, when God punished people in the flood, he wasn't just dealing with them as individuals; he was treating them as people corporately accountable to him.

In a similar manner, we see that the children of Sodom and Gomorrah were roped together with their cities in judgment. In Genesis 19:23–29, we read that God wiped Sodom and Gomorrah off the face of the map. After God's judgment, when Abraham looked toward the land of the valley, he saw that "the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace" (Genesis 19:28). Everyone in those cities, with the exception of Lot's family, burned—children included.

Later, in the book of Exodus, we read that God punished the entire nation of Egypt because of decisions made by their representative leader, Pharaoh (Exodus 7–14). When the Nile turned to blood, three-year-olds were thirsty. Swarms of gnats descended on four-year-olds. It was not only Pharaoh and his minions who got boils, but all the Egyptians (Exodus 9:11). Firstborn sons died, regardless of their age during the Passover, from the firstborn of the pharaoh who sat on the throne to the firstborn of the prisoner in the dungeon (Exodus 12:29). There was loud wailing in the land because there was not one household where there was not someone dead. When Egypt pursued the children of Israel into the desert, soldiers drowned in the Red Sea while following orders (Exodus 14:28).

Or consider God's command to the Israelites to completely wipe out the people of the land of Canaan. Of Israel's first battle with Jericho, we read, "Then they devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword" (Joshua 6:21). If you are like me, you may read this and object: "Surely there must have been varying degrees of wickedness in Jericho, at least by human standards. Why was everyone destroyed?" Yet the Bible is clear on this matter. With the exception of Rahab and her family, everyone and everything in Jericho was destroyed. Have you honestly considered what it looked like and felt like for the Israelite soldiers to execute entire families? How could God hold the children accountable for the sins of their parents?

Lest we accuse God of favoring his own people over others, we should note that we find evidence of God's own people suffering for the sins and choices of others in the story that follows the battle of Jericho. When Achan, an Israelite, violated the covenant and stole some of the devoted things following the battle of Jericho, God allowed the entire nation of Israel to lose the next battle they fought against the city of Ai. In Joshua 7:1, we read, "The people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel."

To be clear: as the result of what one man, Achan, did, many Israelites died when they took up arms to fight, as God had commanded them, in the next battle of the military campaign to take the Promised Land (Joshua 7:2–5). It was not until Joshua inquired of the Lord as to why they had lost the battle that the Lord informed him of the problem. Because Achan had taken the things devoted to destruction, God punished Israel as a whole (Joshua 7:10–11). In other words, thirty-six soldiers died in that battle, not because of their own sin, but because they were roped together with Achan. The reality of their corporate solidarity as a nation—the principle of the rope—meant that the sin of one man had a direct effect on the rest of the nation. Mothers had to explain to children that they would never know their father, all because someone else had sinned.

We see additional examples throughout the Old Testament, and in many cases they also reflect a cultural concept of solidarity. In the ancient world, the idea that families were bound together seems to have been assumed. We see it in the book of Daniel when, after Daniel is rescued from the mouths of lions, the men who maliciously accused Daniel are fed to the lions instead (Daniel 6:24). But there is a detail you might be inclined to read past or ignore when you share this story with your children. Not only were the evil men punished, but their wives and children were fed to the lions as well. God spared Daniel, because Daniel "trusted in his God" (Daniel 6:23). But no angel showed up to close the jaws of the lions before they devoured the children of the guilty. The text reads, "The king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces" (Daniel 6:24).

A friend of mine told me recently that a third grader in a Sunday school class at her church had pointed this out. The teacher, at a loss as to how to respond, simply let the class know they weren't going to discuss that today. While I don't blame the teacher for avoiding that difficult conversation, at some point we should stop and ask, "Why do such things happen?"

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Bound Together by Chris Brauns Copyright © 2013 by Chris Brauns. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Chris Brauns, MDiv, DMin, is the senior pastor at the Congregational Christian Church of Stillman Valley, IL. His other books include Unpacking Forgiveness and When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search. www.chrisbrauns.com

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Bound Together: How We Are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choices 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Individualism and personal choice are concepts that are highly regarded in our culture. And yet, no man is an island. Our actions and choices do affect those around us. The concept of corporate solidarity - that we are bound together with others in both good and bad choices - not only has profound implications for how we live, it explains how our salvation is accomplished, helping us understand the theology behind original sin, Christ's sacrifice, and how God deals with us.  This is the premise of Bound Together: How We Are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choices by Chris Brauns. He calls this concept of being bound together the "principle of the rope".  He explains it as: "...simply the truth that we human beings are not strictly autonomous individuals. Rather, we are bound to one another in corporate relationships. To various degrees, we are represented by the choices, actions, and decisions of others, and they, likewise, are affected or represented by ours. We are united to others, in our good and in our bad decisions." (p 39) In Part One, he explains this principle of the rope and how it relates to our salvation and union with Christ. After giving examples from history, movies, literature, and the Bible to illustrate the concept, Mr. Brauns shows how it can be used to explain original sin. We are all "roped" to Adam as our representative, so we also suffer the consequences of his actions. The good news, of course, is that: "Just as we have been united to Adam - roped to him in his sin and rebellion - so now we can be united to Christ - roped to him - and receive his freedom, forgiveness, and salvation from our sin." (p. 58) Scripture gives us numerous images to help us understand how we are "roped" to - in union with - Christ: the temple (Eph. 2: 19-22), the body (Eph. 4: 1-16), vine and branches (John 15: 1-17), marriage, even the Trinity.  Part one wraps up with a brief discussion of "blaming the rope", based on Ezekiel 18. Since there's no denying that we're bound together and are more than the product of our individual choices, are we doomed by the sins of others? Can we use the sins of someone else as an excuse? Where does personal responsibility fit in? These questions are addressed thoroughly. Part Two unpacks the implications of the principle of the rope - how understanding it changes our lives - beginning with the effect it has on our joy. Biblically speaking, joy is always connected to our relationships with other believers.  "The answer to the problem of joy is clear. We must not live the Christian life solely as though we have an individual relationship with Christ. Rather, to experience more joy, we must be actively investing in body life. No Christian will experience true joy apart from fellowship in the body of Christ, any more than an amputated finger will be healthy." (p. 105) Next marriage is addressed. The principle of the rope sheds light on the profound nature of the marriage relationship, and helps us understand how truly devastating divorce or the loss of a spouse is. This leads into a discussion of family relationships in general. The principle of the rope can help us understand why rebellion and discord in families results in such deep hurt, and gives us resources for coping. Our solidarity with Christ also has profound implications for facing death. Because of the reality of the incarnation and our union with Christ, martyrs throughout history have been able to face death without fear: "Soon enough, you and I will face death. It may be instantly in a car accident; it may be after a prolonged battle with cancer. Whatever the case, if Jesus of Nazareth is to have any significance for us as death approaches, it can only be because we are truly united to him. Hebrews 2: 10-18 establishes beyond question that the solidarity of the believer with Christ allows him or her to go through life without being a slave to the fear of death." (p. 154) Finally, understanding the principle of the rope is the only way to successfully counter the radical individualism rampant in our culture. Using sociological data, the Biblical examples of the New Testament church in Acts and the letter to Philemon, and quotes from Alexis de Tocqueville and C.S. Lewis, Mr. Brauns lays out true Biblical community as the solution to this problem. So, to sum up, Bound Together lays out the case for the reality of corporate solidarity - being bound to others - and then clearly shows how this principle underlies our salvation and union with Christ. He goes on to spell out how this truth, properly understood, will affect every area of our life, from our joy in life and fear of death to our personal relationships and sense of duty to society and our fellow men. I really enjoyed this book. It's the perfect balance of theology and application, and even though the concepts discussed are deep, the style is highly understandable and readable! It's not at all dry or too esoteric for the average reader. In fact, I think I'm going to have my high schooler read it. The explanations of original sin, Christ as our representative, and our union with him are truly excellent...possibly the clearest and simplest I've seen. Likewise, the discussion of the implications for our lives and relationships is wonderful. We all intuitively understand that our actions and choices affect each other, yet we struggle with how to balance that fact with our own personal autonomy and responsibility. Here, it's laid out clearly and understandably. Bound Together is profound, but accessible. I highly recommend it!  Thanks so much to Zondervan and Cross-Focused Reviews for providing a review copy of this title to me. I was not required to give a positive review and all opinions are my own.
JViola79 More than 1 year ago
I recently read boundtogether: How We Are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choices by chris brauns. The author does a wonderful job of explaining how we are all affected by the choices of others. He uses "the principle of the rope" - "the simple truth that our lives, choices, and actions are linked to the lives, choices, and action of other people." (page 5). He gives the illustration of a day in his son's fourth grade class. One day some children misbehaved in class. Due to the fact they were "roped" to the rest of the class, the entire class loss recess. While not all the children had misbehaved, all the children bore the consequences. And so it is in life. The author beautifully explains original sin & how it affected all mankind. Through Scripture, he shows how all have been & will be affected by the choices that were made by Adam & Eve. We are "roped" with them. But God did not leave us in that hopeless estate. Through the death & resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, we are now "roped" to Christ & receive forgiveness & freedom & hope & life. The first section of this book explains the principle & the gospel. The second part of the book delves further into earthly relationships & their affects: hurtful family relationships alcoholism marriages children church community The author solidly points us to this truth: "the rope of Christ & the gospel is exceedingly stronger than the rope of Adam & sin." (page 129). The principle of the rope means that, yes, we are tied to others & their choices, be it good or bad. But the good news is that God will use the relationships we have with others in our lives. He uses those very relationships to transform us & change our lives. The author includes this powerful quote: One last thing must be said, a kind of warning. If those who hold influence over others fail to lead toward the spiritual uplands, then surely the path to the lowlands will be well worn. People travel together; no one lives detached and alone. (J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership) This book will not disappoint you. It is easy to read yet contains powerful principles. May we learn that our actions & choices have lasting affects on ourselves & those we journey with. *I was given this book by Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my honest review & am so glad that I had this opportunity!
Dolphins72 More than 1 year ago
The author presents a strong case for the fact that people are linked to one another, in large and small groups and in good and bad ways, calling it “The Principle of the Rope.”  Clear examples include spouses, families, and nations.  Ones less obvious are mankind’s tie to Adam in the Fall and the offer of rescue by the Second Adam, Christ. Chris Brauns emphasizes that while current culture teaches that every person is individually responsible for their own thoughts and actions, this fairly recent viewpoint is not accurate and certainly is not in keeping with what the Bible teaches.  He carefully builds the case to show that even still, the choices of one affect many.   The greatest value of this book is its demonstration of how connectedness with Christ can change humanity and how the church can battle radical individualism, calling people back into the relationships for which they were designed. This book was interesting, challenging, and well written .  It incorporated biblical truth, and I would recommend it. I received this book for free in exchange for my unbiased review through the Thomas Nelson BookSneeze Program.
FollowingThePath More than 1 year ago
When reading the byline of this book "how we are tied to others in good and bad choices," I thought it would be an interesting topic to explore. Upon reading this book, I discovered that it tells me something I already know. The negative way we are all bound together is through Adam's sin, which in turn made us all corrupt by nature. The positive side is that these bonds were broken and new bonds were created with Christ when he died for us. These are the new bonds that bind us together. This is great news! The great news discussed above is revealed within the first three chapters of the book. In my opinion, the book could have stopped after three chapters. In the later chapters, I found this book dry. It reminded me of philosophy texts I had to read in college. This book may be ideal for a theological scholar (which I am not) or a pastor trying to get some ideas for a sermon on this topic, but I did not find it at all interesting. I'm surprised I read as much as I did. I may look up some of the Bible passages the author referenced, but other than that this book was not appealing to me at all.
LifeLongReader55 More than 1 year ago
Corporate solidarity and individualism. These words represent two concepts that speak to the heart of national and personal identities. Individualism is the mindset that one is as an island unto themselves. On the other hand, corporate solidarity speaks to the fact that, even though we are individuals, we are all tied together.  It is the biblical principle of corporate solidarity that Chris Brauns writes about in his new book Bound Together: How We Are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choices. The kind of corporate solidarity Brauns writes about is one that crosses community, ethnic and national solidarity. It is one that has tied us all together since the beginning of man. This is our corporate solidarity in Adam. While the term corporate solidarity can seem distracting from its simple meaning, Brauns uses an explanatory concept he calls the principle of the rope to help readers understand this important truth. The principle of the rope is "the simple truth that our lives, choices, and actions are linked to the lives, choices, and actions of other people." (25) While there are many examples in Scripture that attest to the principle of the rope, there is one that runs from beginning to end. This is the rope that ties us all to Adam and his choice to sin against God. It is here that the doctrine of original sin comes into the picture. Stated similarly to the principle of the rope, the doctrine of original sin "refers to the reality that we are all bound to Adam in his choice to disobey God's command." (44) In regards to the nature of original sin, Brauns distills what can be the complex discussion of the realist versus the federalist/covenant view.  While the principle of the rope ties all of humanity since Adam to Adam, there is a rope with a stronger bond, that, once tied to, we are severed from our ties to Adam. While the principle of the rope initially brings bad news to all of mankind, it can also bring good news. Romans 5: 12-21 tells us of the rope tied to Christ that is stronger than the rope we are born with tied to Adam. The essential argument of the passage is this "Just as we have been united to Adam - roped to him in his sin and rebellion - so now we can be united to Christ - roped to him - and receive his freedom, forgiveness, and salvation from our sin." (58) Unlike the rope that ties us to Adam, this new rope that ties us to Christ cannot be broken. Similar to being severed from ones mother at birth, so believers are severed from their tie to Adam at the new birth and are then tied to Christ. They are united to Christ. It is this union with Christ that ensures we receive the status and benefits of our new tie to Christ. While a book on corporate solidarity can potentially be a deep discussion, Brauns has done a masterful job of bringing its essential truths and components to the surface without losing its teeth. Bound Together is a perfect model for how to condense big deep truths into manageable material. This is the kind of book that I would give to everyone in my church if I could. Brauns ably and clearly explains the biblical doctrine of corporate solidarity that will make it hard for skeptical readers to disagree with. He does with it just as Scripture does, he gives us the bad news and then follows it up with the good. The tie that binds us to Adam is not so strong that the gospel of Jesus Christ cannot loose us from and in turn eternally tie us to the second Adam, Christ the savior.
JorjaD More than 1 year ago
Brauns’ goal is to persuade readers of Bound Together  “to investigate carefully the reality that we are deeply connected to one another… and that the decisions of one person affect the future of other persons, as though they are figuratively roped together…. We must think more like Christians and less like Americans.” Bound Together explores the “truth that is fundamental to all joy, however dark it may seem at the beginning. Without the truth that we are bout together, there is no joy…. Our lives, choices, and actions are linked to the lives, choices, and action of other people.” This is the solidarity seen often in the Bible.  In the great flood,  God destroyed all the people on the earth except the family of Noah. That “everyone” included infants and children. Young children died in the flood because they were “roped together with their parents and their culture.” God was not dealing with individuals; he was “treating them as people corporately accountable to him.” The ultimate negative example of the principle of the rope, the simple fact that we are not strictly autonomous, but bound together in our choices is the Doctrine of Original Sin. Brauns builds his case one story and one mandate at a time, showing that we as human beings are corporately bound with Adam and Eve as they are sent from the garden. The rope may chafe and be uncomfortable, but it is only possible to partake in solidarity with Christ, to receive salvation we must be bound to Him. Braun builds his case one story, one example at a time, leading his readers to the cusp of the biblical command to be joyful. Joy that can only come when we are bound by the principle of the rope in solidarity with Christ. Accessible to any reader, the unpacking of the doctrines of Original Sin and Union with Christ, helps us understand how we are bound together not only to scripture, but to the failings of our own families. It brings the reader to an understanding that the “individualism” of our culture is contrary to biblical truth that every choice we make can affect others. When all is said and done, our salvation through Christ is stronger than our condemnation with Adam. Brauns is the pastor at the Red Brick Congregational Church of Stillman Valley, IL. He leans strongly to the Calvinist reformed tradition in the books and articles included in his end notes and choices for further reading. I thank Zondervan and Cross Focused Reviews for providing a free copy for my unbiased review
LyonsLady More than 1 year ago
This is a book for my husband to read. It is deep and too complicated for me.  I am a simple person that has a simple faith in Jesus Christ.  Chris really digs deep and I understand some people are wired that way.  Me just plain and simple. This book was too much for me to understand….why? because I am not sure I agree with everything Chris writes.  Especially about “original sin” where he compares the different beliefs of some…  I understand that we affect all those around us by what we say and do….I could not get into this book at this time. Maybe I will keep it and read it again later when my mind and heart are clearer to get the total meaning of this book.
hpz62 More than 1 year ago
Every time, just before I prepare myself to start reading a book, two questions come to my mind: 1-Is it worth the time I invest reading the book? 2-Will the book send its principal message clearly? In a world of readers, there is an understanding that every book has great value to a specific audience, and that, by logic is not only true, it is also an easy verifiable fact. Bound Together is, in my opinion, just not much worthy of my time. I tell you why; as Christian I strongly believe that the Bible itself is  complex , I also know that the Scriptures are uncomplicated to the humble and honest reader, well the book I am reviewing tends to exalt complexity while presenting or supporting  what the author calls: “the rope principle”, which by the way is not really a basic principle or a principle itself, but just an application that one can apply as some sort of mechanism to illustrate a main axiom. Therefore I am not convinced what Bound Together said is precise or according to the pure purpose of Christian message. However, I can recommend this work as a nice source to help someone to evangelize and to strength a spirit of solidarity, but you definitely have to take the book apart, tear it and use parts of it according the necessity. If one is serious in offering an honest review in the context of Christian works, one will have to defend biblical principles, by remembering the readers to never change them for other forms of visualization. Generally speaking if you really like to read, look at  others points of view, and find compelling short stories, this book will do. If you allow me  I will  mark the content in pages 156—158 as a good example of what my recommendation is about.  
MissHoneyBee More than 1 year ago
The doctrine of original sin is not an easy topic, so I was interested in reading more about it. This book was written clearly, defining terms for the layperson. Here are some brief notes on each section. (They used to be longer. *cough, cough*) Introduction: A Fairy-Tale Beginning - Like fairy tales that begin darkly, so this world was plunged into darkness in Adam's fall. But the ending will be glorious for Christians, like a happily-ever-after story. Part One: Understanding the Principle of the Rope Chapter One: Strange and Troubling Truth Defining terms, real-life examples. Then there are given Biblical examples of judgment on nations, even when just the head, such as King David, sinned. Chapter Two: Original Rope The Doctrine of Original Sin - Bible texts on the fall and before, how we were made in God's image. How sin twisted the aspect of "image of God" in areas of worship, community, and vice-regency: relating to creation. So What Does All This Have to Do with Me? How Was Adam's Sin Transmitted to Us? - Different views of this are explained: the "realist," "federalist," (or "covenant") and a mix of both aspects, along with Biblical support for each view. Criticisms for these. Douglas Moo and D. Martin Lloyd-Jones are cited as proponents of a mix of both views. The author's explanation of original sin is described vividly: "To put it another way, when Adam jumped off the cliff of sin and death in his rebellion against God, we were tied to him in his rebellion, and he pulled us over the side with him." Charles Finney found this truth "subversive of the gospel, and repulsive to human intelligence." Chapter Three: The Rope that is Stronger Arguments given against solidarity (the rope principle) in The Brothers Karamazov portray the horror of children suffering from the crimes/cruelty of others. How should/can Christians respond to these critiques? The Gospel in Romans 5:12-21 - We are roped to Adam, but can be "roped to" and made righteous through the second Adam, Christ. "Because God has made us and this world to operate on a principle of solidarity, there is hope that we can be saved from the consequences of Adam's sin, not by our own efforts (which can never suffice), but through the actions of a representative, someone who will do what we cannot do, someone who will suffer in our place, on our behalf." (p. 60) We cannot deny the Scriptures or the world's corruption. Chapter Four: Bound to a New King Union with Christ - God sees the believer and Christ as one, though separate and distinct, through grace alone, and the Holy Spirit. This is vital for us. God is not remote. Images of Union with Christ - The first illustration of our union with Christ in the Bible is the building. Built on Jesus Christ, we are living stones (Eph. 2:19-22 and 1 Peter 2:4-5). The second analogy is the physical body (Eph. 4:15-16). Quote from Spurgeon: "So long as a man's head is above water you cannot drown his feet and as long as Christ, the Head of the mystical body, rises above the torrent of condemnation, there is no condemning even the least and feeblest member of His body!" A third picture is the vine and the branches (John 15:1-17). Fourth is the analogy of marriage. "Our union with Christ is greater than this marital intimacy, as it is based on a relationship not with another sinner but with our sinless Savior, who has demonstrated his love for us by dying on our behalf." Fifth is the picture of children adopted by a Father (Eph. 1:5, Rom. 8:16-17). Sixth is the amazing comparison to the relationship of the Trinity (John 17). Martin Lloyd-Jones preached in response to questioners of the doctrine of original sin: "Once more I repeat what I said previously, that we must not begin to question our relationship to the world's first man, Adam, because every time you put the question I will make you ask the same question about our relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ." Chapter Five: Can We Blame the Rope? Can we blame sin on our parents, etc.? Ezekiel's Response - The Israelites blamed their forefathers for their present plight. God relayed, through Ezekiel, that the soul who sins shall die and other similar, just outcomes. No one is guiltless. So is the Principle of the Rope Real? - How can these two seemingly opposed principles fit together? A hypothetical example is given to illustrate that there are effects from our sin, but each person is still responsible for their decisions. Even genes cannot be an excuse for sin. John Frame argues that in one sense all sin is inherited (from Adam). Turning from Sin to Follow Christ - No excuses for sin. Biblical examples of people who turned from their culture and family background to God. Part Two: Applying the Principle of the Rope Chapter Six: Bound Together for Joy We are commanded to be joyful. Three Indisputable Truths Regarding Joy #1: All Christians Desire More Joy #2: God Wants His People to Experience Joy (Morally, in contrast to God's sovereign will.) #3: The joy level of many Christians is staying the same or even diminishing. The Problem of Joy (review) Proclaiming the Obvious - The foundation of all joy is the gospel (good news) of Christ. First of all, most people don't have a clear idea of the gospel. "The gospel is also diminished and joy leaks out--when those who have known the gospel for many years lapse into a works mentality in which they think that somehow we must do things to earn God's favor. For this reason, Jerry Bridges reminds us, we must preach the true gospel to ourselves every single day. Otherwise, we will soon feel defeated in the Christian life." Another way the gospel is diminished is that some believe the lie that something other than God will satisfy. The Discovery - Paul (in 34 of 50 times that "joy" and "rejoice" are used) connects his experience of joy to his relationship with other believers. Making the Connection between Joy and Corporate Solidarity - Fruit bearing. Fighting for Joy - Review the gospel. Read books on it. Invest in the body of Christ, with money, time, and gifts/abilities. Chapter Seven: Bound Together in Marriage There is an example given of a lovely marriage, and Biblical references to marriage. Strengthening the Bond of Marriage The Biblical Role of Wives - Submissive. Chris Brauns lists reasons why people don't like the word submission today, and counters them. The Biblical Role of Husbands - Loving and serving, like Jesus. Asking for forgiveness. Being a good listener. Example of Philip Bliss laying down his life for his wife in the burning rubble of a train. Chapter Eight: A Red Rope for Hurting Families This chapter is encouraging for anyone who is discouraged about someone in their family, and focuses on the Biblical prostitute Rahab, and God's grace to her and her family. "Identify with the Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps God will be pleased to save not only you but your mother and father and your sisters and brothers as well. . . . Spend less time going over and over in your mind the decisions your family members have made, and spend more time growing in grace." (p. 136) "Do not believe the lie that it is too late for your family. Do not buy the lie that your sins are too great. Run to the cross. Hang a red cord out your window. Put your trust in Jesus, and the grace of God will abound to you and your family." (p. 137) "Be patient. The last chapter is not yet written." (p. 137) Not that it is guaranteed that your family will all trust Christ, the author admits. But there is still reason to hope. Why Did God Order Israel to Kill Everyone in Jericho? - The Canaanites had been given much time to repent. "The destruction of Jericho should serve as a sobering warning about the justice and holiness of God. It is only a preview of God's final judgment." Encouragement for Those Hurting Because of a Family Member - Remember Rahab and the power of the gospel. And be careful not to think our decisions affect no one but ourselves. "We dare not take a path that will cause a bitter root to grow up in our lives, thereby defiling many." (p. 143) All Christians Have a Family - Even if we are severed from physical family, as Christians we have a family in Christ. Chapter Nine: A Rescue Rope for Those Facing the Fear of Death Confidence in the Face of Death from Hebrews 2:10-18 The Incarnation - "Since we have flesh and blood, he [Christ] shared our humanity in order that he might be roped to us." Four Ways Christians Benefit from Their Solidarity with Christ The Story of Count Helmuth James con Moltke - An aristocrat by birth, Helmuth was expected to be a great leader in the time and ways of Hitler. Yet he opposed Hitler, and was eventually arrested and sentenced to hang, shortly before the end of WWII. He was not sorrowful but elated in his last days, as he wrote to his wife, finding that bravery that comes from Christ. Chapter Ten: Roped Together in Country and Culture "If Westerners continue to see ourselves as islands, the future will be very dark. Cultures and countries cannot flourish apart from a deep recognition of solidarity that only Christ and his church can make happen. The Rise of American Solidarity - Alexis de Tocqueville visited America in 1831 to see why democracy worked better there. He concluded that there was an abundance of natural resource, that the specific form of government (with smaller, local governments) was key, and that "a common culture of Christian morality had created a virtuous society." He also referenced the high regard for marriage and the mothers who taught their children Christian values. George Washington, too, sacrificed for his country. However, Tocqueville foresaw a possible problem for America, the rise of extreme individualism. This could lead to selfishness and blindness to any of the government's flaws, and to taking whatever is handed out. The Problem of Radical Individualism - "Today many of the concerns articulated by Tocqueville have come to fruition." "Today the autonomous self ("self in a castle," according to Scot McKnight) is seen as ultimate." (p. 170) Why Radical Individualism Persists Today - Many people rail against individualism and long for the "good old days," yet refuse to go to church events. It is hard to go against radical individualism because it has so permeated our culture. Why the Church Is Uniquely Qualified to Counter Radical Individualism The Biblical emphasis on Community - The epistle to Philemon deals with sharing the faith and being refreshed through the brethren. We must live like we believe we are brothers and sisters in Christ. More Biblical examples are given. "Does the use of your time, treasure, and talents reflect that you know and understand that you are roped together with your local church?" (p. 179) A Final Summary - "[C. S.] Lewis allowed [in The Problem of Pain] that it is hard for us to comprehend that Adam represented all his descendants, but he also noted that our inability to understand something does not mean it is untrue." (p. 180) Afterword Real life Lone Rangers don't exist. Moses, Ruth, David, Nehemiah, and Esther acted heroically because of love for community and God. Jesus is the ultimate example of this. Appendix One: The Gospel and Assurance of Salvation Likely many people have false assurance, but we can know that we are saved. The Gospel The Proper Basis for Assurance of Salvation - 1. Do you presently have faith in the Lord Jesus for salvation? 2. Does the Holy Spirit testify with your spirit that you are a Christian? 3. Does your conduct give evidence that you are a Christian? For Further Reading A list of resources is given. I rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is helpful and encouraging, pointing time and again to Christ and the hope found in Him. My only complaint is the repetitiveness (though this may help drill it in the reader's head). It was still quite interesting, and overall a great blessing to read. I appreciated the quotes from the Bible and Christian authors, and there are many additional worthwhile quotes and thoughts in the book that I couldn't take time to post.
MommyBugg More than 1 year ago
Why should a child suffer because of the choices of his parents? And on a grander scale, why do we all suffer the curse of Adam's sin? Why should anyone be judged for someone else's sin?  In Bound Together, Chris Brauns unpacks the truth that we are bound to one another and to the whole of creation. He calls this, 'the principle of the rope.' Grasping this foundational principle sheds new light on marriage, the dynamics of family relationships, and the reason why everyone lives with the consequences of the sins that others commit. Brauns shows how the principle of the rope is both bad news and good news, revealing a depth to the message of the gospel that many of us have never seen before.                                                                                                     I don't know. I am not sure I like the idea of this book. Bound together with those we know and love; bound together with those we have never even met. It's intense. It's deep. And it speaks volumes to how we live our lives today and how we should live them in our tomorrows.  Its true. We are all bound together. And while to us it does not make sense; all that we do is a ripple on the water, that may toss about a boat we do not even see. We are bound together in Christ. We are bound together without Christ.  It reminds me of six degrees of separation. I always thought that was a silly idea but the older I get the more I have seen it, in proof. I call it a God thing. I know that God is working behind the scenes in times like this. Right now our exchange student, our daughter from Brazil, recently born again, a Daughter of the King - is packing her bags to go to another home in the city for the remainder of her school year here. She could not tame her tongue and there was much she did not understand not that long ago. While she gets it now - He has opened her eyes to much - it is too late for her to stay. Not by her choice, or ours.  "The principle of the rope means that, yes, we are tied to others & their choices, be it good or bad." If we stop and we think about how true that really is its profound. And I know it gives me a desire to be stronger in Christ, and more conscious of my actions and words.  Bound together we are. Our sweet Izzy made some bad decisions; said some things that could not be unsaid - bad decisions make it so she must leave. Yet there were great, wonderful choices within those times that gave such glory to God. Amazing grace; a soul was saved and born again a new creation in Christ - one from around the world who was sent and bound to us in this new birth - Amazing.  Braun notes "The gospel is the bedrock of joy. And so, when the gospel is diminished, joy is diminished too." So much in scripture even confirms this. In  2 Corinthians 2:3, Paul notes "I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all."
Tyler_E More than 1 year ago
In “Bound Together”, Chris Brauns reminds us of an important, but oft-forgotten truth. He summarizes the entire book by saying, “On varying levels, we are roped together with others. When someone we are roped to is lifted up, we are lifted up with them. When he or she jumps off a figurative cliff, we are pulled down with them. This is what I refer to as the “principle of the rope” – the truth that our lives, choices, and actions are linked to the lives, choices, and actions of other people” Pg. 25. Brauns begins this journey by looking at how all people are roped to Adam and his subsequent fall into sin. Because he fell, so have we. But this seemingly disastrous principle of the rope is necessary in order to make it possible for us to be roped with Christ. So at first, it may seem like an unfair truth, but it turns out to be our only hope. He then looks at how our solidarity with others affects marriage, church, and the nation as a whole. He closes his book with a fantastic critique on the “radical individualism” of America. He posits that the church, with its core teaching of unity with God and man through Christ, is in a unique spot to bring reformation to the individualism of our nation. This was truly a fantastic book through and through. Chris Brauns faithfully deals with tough biblical texts, while maintaining readability and staying relatable. I commend this book to anyone who struggles with individualism and its effects. The truths taught in this book are truly revolutionary in our day, but are as old as the Trinity. Read, reflect on, and live in light of the fact that what you do is bigger than yourself. Far bigger.
JoshBishop More than 1 year ago
Chris Brauns' Bound Together opens with a big promise: If you "carefully investigate the reality that we are deeply connected to one another," he writes, you will "discover truth that is fundamental to all real joy." And then he doubles down: "Indeed, without the truth that we are bound together there is no joy." He sets expectations high right out of the gate. The first half of Bound Together introduces solidarity, or what Brauns' calls "the principle of the rope." He describes it this way: "This is what I refer to as the `principle of the rope' -- the simple truth that our lives, choices, and actions are linked to the lives, choices, and actions of other people. To put it simply, as I have done in the title of this book, we are `bound together,' tied to others in our good and bad choices." At first, Brauns' doesn't ask us to feel good about it (or bad, for that matter), but simply points out that this is The Way Things Work. It is, in his words, an "undeniable aspect of reality." The chapters that follow provide a clear Biblical treatment of solidarity. Original sin, Brauns' writes, "refers to the reality that we are all bound to Adam in his choice to obey God's command." And while this seems like bad news--the worst of news--it turns out that it is this same principle of solidarity that allows us to be bound to the second Adam, Jesus. Solidarity (which is, remember, simply the way God's world works) makes it possible for us to be united with Christ. Brauns puts it this way: "There now exists a life-giving union between Christ and his own that is similar to, but more powerful than, the death-producing union between Adam and those who belong to him... It means the principle of the rope, though we first experience it as the worst possible news, is ultimately good news. The principle of the rope is what underlies the good news of the gospel, namely, that if we are roped to Christ, we are so bound to him that nothing -- not even the rope that ties us to Adam -- can ever separate us from his love." Brauns then explores some of the implications of our union with Christ and provides the helpful clarification that we can't blame the rope for our poor choices. In the second half of the book, Brauns applies the principle of the rope to our lives today: in the church, in marriage, in troubled families, for those facing death, and in our country and culture. The first of these, solidarity in the church, is in the chapter titled "Bound Together for Joy." In it, Brauns writes, rightly, that "the foundation of all joy is the gospel, or good news, of Christ." But he follows on with a second point: that for Paul, "the experience of the joy of the gospel took place in shared partnership with other Christians." The same is true for us today: "Our experience of Christian joy will grow only to the extent that we grow in active fellowship with the body of Christ." This, then, is the "truth that is fundamental to all real joy": the truth of the gospel, that we are bound to Christ, coupled with the truth that we are also bound to other Christians. In other words, we are bound to Christ corporately rather than individually. So yes, after following Brauns to the end of his argument, I agree that the truth of solidarity--with Adam, with Christ and with each other--is essential to true joy. Altogether, if I have a complaint about Bound Together, it's that I thought the book was too short. I would've liked to see a chapter that addressed parenting more specifically, and maybe a more exhaustive treatment of corporate solidarity in the church. Still, the book's brevity is plus for people who may not have the patience for a deeper dive. It's short, accessible, powerful and clear. Highly recommended. Oh, and I should probably note that Cross Focused Reviews provided me with a copy of Bound Together for the purposes of this review.
countryman4ever More than 1 year ago
In Bound Together, Chris Brauns explored the concept of how everyone is connected together and we’re bound together. What one of us does, affects everyone else. We’re not lone rangers and we’re created for community. Adam was commanded by God to be fruitful and multiply and to have dominion over all creatures. They could have any fruit they wanted expect from one tree. Satan tempted Eve into eating from the forbidden tree of knowledge of good and evil and she talked Adam into it. Everything changed! Chris Brauns used the principle of the rope to elucidate that Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden has profoundly impacted all generations. Since then, sin has consumed every generation and we’re all guilty of sinning. Because we’re all a part of Adam’s descendants. He used the term “solidary” to describe the principle of the rope. Solidary, denotes “a union of interests, purposes, or sympathies among members of a group. It speaks to the ties that bind a group together” Page 26). The book also goes on to say that Christ has died for our sins and when we received salvation we become a portion of His body. Christ is the ultimate head of the Church and the body. His death allows us a chance at repentance and forgiveness from our numerous sins. Chris Brauns shared the example that if he leaves his wife and children it will negatively hurt everyone not just himself. We can’t assume that our choices that we make only effect ourselves. Chris Brauns also stated that divorce is like an amputation and it should only be done when it’s the last choice. Divorce brings deep emotional pain to everyone involved. He also discussed the significance of marriage and how God compared marriage to our union with Christ. Marriage bonds and ties us emotional, physically, and spiritually to another forever. Scriptures remind us that wives are supposed to submit to their husbands. And the man is the head of the wife like Christ is the head of the church. This doesn’t mean that if the husband is abusing the wife then you should submit. The scriptures also tell husbands to love their wife like Christ loves us. Basically this means we’re both called to love each other when we made the vow before the Lord to care for another person until the everlasting. I would recommend this splendid book to anyone who has ever wondered why we have to pay for Adam’s and Eve’s sin and to people who feel believe their choices doesn’t harm anyone but themselves. This book goes into vast detail on the how each person’s life affects another whether we realize it or not. I loved the story of Rehab that Chris Brauns clarified. Rehab was a prostitute in Jericho and she hide the spies of Israel in her home. She asked the spies if God could spare her and her family from the destruction of Jericho. God answered her and they were the only family freed from the annihilation of Jericho. The grace of God forgave her for her sinful past and she became a huge follower of Jesus Christ. I cherished how Chris Brauns used this point to remind readers that the grace of God can cover them and He can forgive you for your sins. Even if your family has a history of generational sins, it can be broken completely with Christ’s assistance. I immeasurably loved the chapter devoted entirely to marriage and it helped me to see the importance of marriage in God’s eyes. Even though I haven’t met my wife yet, it gave me a much needed reminder on what my roles of a husband are intended to be. The book was an enormous reminder that our actions and behaviors doesn’t just impact us, they influence the next generations for good or for bad! It’s up to us to make a wise decision on which one we will ultimately choose. If you’re looking for a book that you reveal to the truth about why people suffer and how our choices affects others, then this book is for you! “I received this book for free from Cross Focused Reviews / Zondervan for this review”.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Recently, Vicki talked me into watching the movie ”Les Miserables.” Okay, I’ve gotta be honest; it didn’t take much convincing. I like epic movies, and I like musicals too, so the two together intrigued me, especially since I haven’t seen the musical production. I would have seen it in the theater with the girls, but the boys decided to go see “The Hobbit” instead! Just a few days before watching the movie, I started reading a new book, “Bound Together~ How we are Tied Together in Good and Bad Choices” by Chris Brauns. Like the title suggests, this is a book that looks at our relationships and how we are bound together by our choices. I must say, watching this movie that focuses on the relationships and their choices and reading ”Bound Together”, drove the point home! But really you don’t have to watch the movie to know this. The Bible is much like this too … David and Saul; Moses and Pharaoh; Paul and the early Christians. The list of people in the Bible who are bound together is endless. When you think of it, this is how it is in our lives too. I have to admit that sometimes it’s more easily identified in other people’s lives’ than in our own. Bottom Line As you can tell by my introduction, “Bound Together” makes a clear and convincing argument for this premise. Brauns is able to clearly articulate this through excellent examples, quotes, and vignettes. The book is divided into two sections – understanding the principle and applying the principle. In part one, Brauns uses the doctrine of original sin and the Gospel to articulate the bond we have in being lost and being saved in Christ. As Christians we are bound to Christ and we are his people. Even though we are born sinners and may have been born into a family with a heritage of sin, such as alcoholism or other sin, we are not able to use this as an excuse. Instead, we need to turn from sin to follow Christ. In part two, Brauns applies the principle of being bound together to joy, marriage, families who are hurting, those who fear death, and country and cultural influences on us. Through each of these areas, he supports his points biblically, and he is able to engage his reader with thought provoking premises of each topic. I believe his descriptions of these concepts are balanced: deep and rich in content without getting overly academic or making this a theology textbook. Each area he covers likely could be a spin off with further application in Christian living. However, Brauns offers enough information in each to whet his reader’s appetite. I particularly liked Brauns’ chapter on country and culture. He contends (rightly so) that we are living in an individualistic culture in which loneliness and isolation are a by-product of this individualism. He provides an excellent solution – community. He cites the first century church and how they did “community” as the ultimate “bond.” Brauns is a very articulate and readable author, and “Bound Together” is an excellent book. I think some may want more after reading this book. More answers. More discussion. But I think that is what makes this book work. It doesn’t try to answer all the questions. It leaves its readers thinking. For those wanting more, he also has a section for further reading. Since Brauns has such an engaging style, I personally would like him to consider writing additional books, which would dig deeper into the areas where his concept works. I give this book five stars out of five.
SavvyMomma More than 1 year ago
Chris Braun's book, "Bound Together" is written about the impact that one person's actions can have on many other people. Chris Braun has developed this image of a rope that binds us all together, in an attempt to illustrate how as humans we are all connected to each other. The premise sounds simple, especially when we consider the impact that we have on those who are closest to us, but what Brauns really does is show how we can impact those outside of our small social circle, and how the impact of our actions can even be felt by future generations. I thought that this book was pretty interesting, though at times I felt like Brauns was over explaining some things that were more common sense. However, the subject was really intriguing, and I thought that the imagery of the rope that binds us together really helped explain this principle well. I think that this book makes me a little bit more mindful of how my actions could affect others, as well as more thoughtful about my own relationship with Christ. I would recommend this book to anyone. I think it's a great read, and can really help improve a lot of interpersonal relationships with the knowledge and understanding presented in it.
DanaCatherine More than 1 year ago
Our choices, both good and bad, affect others, not just ourselves. Brauns writes a well researched and in-depth book on how our lives are woven together. The first, and worst, example of this is in the fall of Adam. The last, and best, example of this is through Christ's death which saves us all. We are bound to Adam and his sin in a negative way but bound to Christ in a positive way. He saved us. Not to make myself appear stupid but this book was written in higher language that I am used to reading. After reading so many YA books, the technical nature of this one took some getting used to. It felt a bit like reading a really long term paper. Complete with references at the back. I was pulled into his writing and argument that we are all bound together. It did seem somewhat redundant and seemed to be written more for the theological minded over the "common man" but that might have just been me.  It was separated into two sections. The first section explains the idea of the rope. The second section shows how we can and should apply it to our lives. He uses numerous examples in the Bible and in history to show how a choice made affects not only the person making the choice but also those around him.  He tells how marriage is such a powerful illustration of the rope principle and likens divorce to an amputation. Two people were made one. One cannot go back to two without tearing. Because of this, he shows the importance of understanding how our choices affect others. It all boils down to the blessing of God's love is greater than the curse of sin. If you are looking for a well thought out book about original sin and God's grace through Jesus to save us from it, Brauns does an excellent job of laying the background and then showing an application of those truths. Although our ties to Adam doomed us, our ties to Jesus saves us.I was given a copy by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
reformedreader-blogspot More than 1 year ago
No one is an island to themselves. I have heard people argue, "As long as it doesn't hurt anyone, it doesn't matter what I do in private". In America, we are so used to doing everything alone, that we do not know what it is to live for others. That individualism is nothing but an illusion. Brauns book is about this very subject. He shows that we are all connected in some way. Everything we do has some consequence on others. What about the alcoholic? If a father stays drunk most of his waking hours, what bearing does that have on his wife and children? Even worse, what if he is driving drunk and kills someone else. This tragedy will hurt not only his family, but the other family involved. It doesn't stop there. The friends and loved ones of both families are affected. There are thousands of illustration that could be used to prove the message of this book. Braun uses many good ones. Braun shows that this connection we all have has both negative and positive results. With mans fallen state, we would think that the negative would win out. But he shows the positive outweighs the negative. The ultimate negative comes from Adam. When he disobeyed God we received the results of that disobedience. We are all born sinners. The positive comes from Christ. Because He died in our place, we now receive forgiveness. He replaces the sin on our account with His righteousness. I heard Martyn Lloyd-Jones make a statement one time (also quoted in this book) that if we can not accept the idea that Adam's sin can be accounted to us, we can not have Christ's righteousness accounted to us. Even though we reap the fruit of what others do, we are still accountable for our own sins. Adam will be punished for his and I will be punished for mine. There is a mystery here of the same variety as the Trinity. Our finite minds can not understand it fully. But we see enough of it in the world that we know it is true. This book is a must read. If you have a problem understanding how we are accounted sinners because of something Adam did or righteous because of what Christ did, this book has the best explanation I have found. He uses many real life illustrations to prove that we are all connected. I highly recommend it and give it 5 out of 5 stars. I received this book free of charge from Zondervan, Cross Focused Reviews, and NetGally in exchange for an honest review.
piouseye-dot-com More than 1 year ago
Well Organized, Theologically Reformed, Engaging. On balance, Chris Brauns’ Bound Together is an excellent book. In what follows (an abridgement of the review on my Web site), I will attempt to offer some criticisms, but don’t let these mislead you. This is one of the better books I've read recently and I highly recommend it. Bound Together has two parts. Part one, "Understanding The Principle of The Rope," comprises chapters one through five. Chapter one introduces the central motif, what Brauns calls "the principle of the rope" (AKA "corporate identity" or "solidarity"). Brauns sees this principle as a law of life as pervasive and undeniable as gravity. One illustration he finds helpful, but which I think ill-chosen, is an instance where his son’s entire class was denied recess because of the misdeeds of two particular students (25). I dislike this illustration because the rope here was not tied by God or by nature but by school officials who decided that punishing all the students for the rogue actions of two was good policy. School officials’ injustice aside, if God ropes persons together there can be no question that doing so is just (cf. Deut. 32:4). That God does rope persons together Brauns shows clearly from Scripture, where God’s judgments of sin frequently include family members and children of offenders (29-31). Not every such example is ideal; the example from Daniel 6, where the roping is effected by a pagan king, would seem better left out (31). Nevertheless, Brauns adduces so many examples that do show God roping persons together in his treatment of them that either one accepts the principle of the rope, at least in those instances where God himself affirms it, or one rejects Scripture's authority. Chapter two discusses the doctrine of "original sin." God has roped all humans to Adam as their representative, with the consequences that “[1] Adam and all his descendants are guilty of sinning against God, and...[2] all of Adam's descendants inherit a corrupted nature" (45). This chapter is generally sound, though Brauns’ discussion of the realist versus federalist (covenant) perspectives on our inheritance of Adam’s guilt and corruption did not persuade me to grant the validity he does to the realist perspective; I remain a solid federalist. The how of our roping to Adam aside, the what of that ropings' implications is apparent, and Brauns' presentation of it is clear and persuasive. In chapters three and four, Brauns shows how the reality that God's justice permits roping of persons to their representatives is good news. Brauns' treatment is persuasive and solidly Reformed. In chapter five, Brauns seeks to refute those who try to evade responsibility for their own sins by blaming them on the sins of others to whom they are roped, such as their parents, finding scriptural refutation of such blame-shifting in Ezekiel 18. Part two, "Applying the Principle of the Rope," includes five chapters applying the principle of the rope to various topics: the need to be actively engaged in a biblically sound local church, how to biblically approach marriage, how to remain hopeful if your bad decisions have caused the family roped to you nothing but problems, how to remain fearless in the face of death, and how local churches can hope to contribute to revitalization of our fragmenting Western culture. The book concludes with a sound presentation of the gospel and basis for assurance of salvation and some suggested readings.
PatriciaHunter More than 1 year ago
"The principle of the rope is what underlies the good news of the gospel, namely, that if we are roped to Christ, we are so bound to him that nothing -- not even the rope that ties us to Adam -- can ever separate us from his love." ~ Chris Brauns Bound Together When I began blogging years ago, I enthusiastically embraced the opportunities to read (free) books in exchange for an honest review, but after receiving and reading several non-fiction books for which writing a positive review would have been dishonest, I concluded that these opportunities were not for me. I'm not a professional reviewer. If I was going to read and publicly review a book, I wanted it to be an opportunity to encourage, not embarrass, the author and to inspire others to read a book that would be worth their time, money and effort. So for the most part, I began choosing these opportunities with greater discretion by limiting them to those authors with which I was already familiar and would likely be able to recommend to my Pollywog Creek readers. Such is the case with Chris Brauns' newest release, Bound Together - How We Are Tied To Others in Good and Bad Choices.  I began reading his blog and getting to know him and his lovely wife Jamie before his first book Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds was published in 2008 - a book I still reflect on and share with others. I was delighted to find his same easy-to-read and engaging style and winsome approach to rich gospel-centered and thought-provoking content in Bound Together. One of Chris' strengths is in storytelling, and that is how he begins chapter 1 - telling us a story from his childhood that most of us can relate to - a story of alcohol abuse that seems be a characteristic that's manifested in certain families. Chris continues to flesh out other examples in scripture and throughout history that illustrate what he calls "the principle of the rope" - "a picture of the invisible connections that exist between human beings" that bind us together for good and for bad. Despite our claims to be independent of the actions of others, the truth is that from the very beginning of humanity (for example, The Flood), we have suffered from the consequences of the bad and evil decisions and actions of others. The proof can be seen clearly in the events of last week, which brings us to the stumbling block that all of us have encountered and Chris addresses: "how often innocent people, particularly young children, suffered because of the decisions made by someone else." The first few chapters are not comfortable reading as Chris explains how we are tied to the bad in being "roped to Adam" as he unpacks the Original Sin, and that "the problem we face as Adam's descendants is not that we are sinners because we sin; rather, we sin because we are sinners." But before we become discouraged, Chris points to our hope and devotes a chapter to "The Rope That is Stronger."   "When confronted with the reality of evil, the death of innocent children and suffering that we cannot explain or even comprehend, the most important thing we can do in response is fly as quickly as possible to the good news of our union with Christ." ~ Chris Brauns, Bound Together The remaining chapters are devoted to the practical application of "The Principle of the Rope" for joy, in our marriage, for hurting families, for those facing death, and in our country and culture - with an emphasis on biblical community.  I give Bound Together 5 stars. Like Unpacking Forgiveness, I'll refer to it often and highly recommend it to others
Karobe More than 1 year ago
Chris Brauns authors a book entitled, “Bound Together: How we are tied to others in good and bad choices” and the book’s cover highlights a sentence that summarizes the book so poignantly: We are not just isolated individuals. In a world that is becoming increasingly adamant on the importance of individuality and independent choices, it is a book that is considered timely. In a western culture that introduces self dependence to children early on, it is a book that is culturally relevant and fairly courageous in its intent to delve into topics such as these. Brauns writes on a plethora of hard topics and addresses a common struggle for individual: the unfairness of the world and its consequences on what we perceive are innocent individuals. Such is true and as a reader, it is a struggle to see how some children do suffer from mistakes that parents make and vice versa. Questions posed were provoking and instantly, I was hooked! He cleverly introduces and connects it to one of the main topics of the book: the biblical truth of original sin and introduces a new concept: the principle of the rope which explains the good and bad sides of the argument. In addition, the book is successful in providing a foundational truth: we are all bound together and it is visible in a variety of ways: from our country to our cultural practices. It makes sense! It provides us with a descriptive analysis of what original sin is and packages it with an interesting prescription of all human individuals. The author connects it beautifully to the gospel rooted in Christ alone and reminds readers why it is considered good news. Personally, I appreciated the quotes provided in every section of the book. I thought they were carefully chosen and they were successful in representing ideas presented in each section. I also loved the section on the gospel because I found it to be the only true purpose of why we as Christians do anything in this world: in order that we are able to preach Christ to a world that is perishing. In so doing, we are able to follow God’s call to missions for every Christian. As a Christian, I appreciated this book, the quick run through history and culture, the analysis and the reminder of the cross, which provides me the hope and the faith for this life and the next. I received a free copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews and Zondervan , in exchange for areview. I was not asked to write a positive review in exchange for a copy, but choose to write a review that is constructive, honest and helpful to other consumers.
ChrisLand More than 1 year ago
Bound Together by Chris Brauns is another example that you cannot judge a book by its title. The subtitle to the book, How We Are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choices would make one think this book is about making choices and the consequences, good or bad, they bring. He begins the book by addressing the principle of the rope which explains how we are connected to another. I am about to scream. I have read Chris Brauns' stuff. I know he is not one of these moralistic guys. Is he going through a midlife crisis? Remember, never judge a book by its title, unless it's a Joel Osteen book. What Brauns is communicating in the book is two very important theological beliefs that seems to be misunderstood: original sin and union with Christ. Original sin seems to very confusing because not many churches preach nor teach it. Original sin deals with the fall of man. Brauns writes: Original sin refers to the reality that we are all bound to Adam in his choice to disobey God's command. Because we are bound to Adam by the principle of the rope, when Adam sinned against God, he pulled himself and his descendants into a chasm of sickness, perversion, corruption, and decay that continue to rule our world today (pg. 44). The Bible addresses original sin in Romans 5:12-21 which says, that death has been passed from Adam to all men because all have sinned. His sin lead all men to be put under condemnation. Brauns talks about our union with Christ which the cross "cancels solidarity with Adam and links us to Christ" (pg. 58). What that means is the cross cancels our connectedness (if there is such a word) with Adam and his sin, to be joined with Christ and His righteousness if we put our faith and trust in him. Brauns continues, The principle of the rope is what underlines the good news of the gospel, namely, that if we are roped to Christ, we are so bound to him that nothing - not even the rope that ties us to Adam - can ever separate us from his love (pg. 59). Brauns stresses our union with Christ because it is one of the most important beliefs in scripture we have. He quotes other theologians on the importance of our union with Christ and proclaiming it. Brauns says that God is not far away from you, He is closer than you think because you and I are bound in Christ. Now this is only the first half of the book. The second half of the book deals with applying the principle of the rope. Applying the principle of the rope is how our union with Christ makes us united with other Christians, the church. Also applying that rope in marriage and show love when a family is hurting. Brauns takes a user-friendly approach to the doctrines of original sin and union with Christ which I am thankful for. This is a must read for any believe especially those who are not familiar with these two doctrines. This is also a good resource for small group discussions and also a aid in preaching.
M_Mullins More than 1 year ago
Book Review: Bound Together by @chrisbrauns APR 19 Posted by marc mullins Most everything about Bound Together, from the God it calls our attention to and the implications of its thesis is counter-cultural. There is nothing in this post-modern individualistic and hedonistic world we live in that honestly considers how we affect others and how others affect us. Enter Bound Together. Bound Together takes this worldview, binds it with a rope until it cries uncle under the convincing weight of the biblical evidence that human beings were always intended, currently affected by and will continue to impact other people. Bound together shows us how relationships, both personal and in the community, affect us in both good and bad. Humans were designed to live in community, not isolation. This is the Principle of the Rope. Honestly, the first couple chapters are a bit depressing. Brauns takes all of humanity and shows us how scripture and existential evidence shows us how all humans are intertwined, we are woven together into this fabric called humanity by a master weaver who has the authority, skill and sovereignty to take each individual strand and all of its baggage and create a masterpiece like a fine Persian rug that shines to glorify his workmanship. The problem is in Brauns first few chapters, and rightly so, he shows us how all humanity is bound under the federal headship of Adam and the necessary consequence of his original sin is imputed to all of us. Brauns shows us biblically that humans are indeed bound together not only the good, but in the bad. I am glad he took an honest look at original sin. To have avoided it to be more palatable would have done no justice to the Bible and would have unraveled his principle of the rope. But how refreshing it is to see the first signs of Spring after the dreariness of the cold Winter. Brauns in many ways seems to lay out a very convincing understanding of the biblical Gospel in his Principle of the Rope. Not only does he show us how desperately we need Gospel hope after being bound by the rope of Adam’s sin, he goes on to make a case that we can be bound by faith through the rope of Jesus’s righteousness. Through Jesus’ righteous acts, Adam’s sinfulness we have a lifeline. Literally. What if we were not bound? Would we choose otherwise? How can a good God bind us? Simply, Brauns anticipates this as anyone would who is as informed enough to write a book that smacks individualism right across the face with a sobering blow of biblical truth. Brauns shows us biblically, that our individualism is not contrary to our collective entanglement, they are mutually exclusive. We would have chosen sin anyways. Finally, Brauns spends some time comparing and contrasting this principle with the pervasive worldview of our culture and how it should inform the believer to live his life in family and marriage as well as country and culture. Bound Together is a unique work in that it touches on several critical issues of today. Apart from just sharing the gospel with you it is a guided tour through the follies of contemporary culture and the hope and truth of being bound with others and by others to Jesus Christ. Christian Community and the local church Marriage and Family Country and culture Gospel need, Gospel Hope (or Gospel Rope I should say) and Gospel assurance  This book was provided in return for an honest and thoughtful review through Cross-Focused Reviews.
kevinjthompson More than 1 year ago
Recently I asked the students in one of my theology classes to retell the biblical account of the fall of Jericho.  They got the basics of the story just fine – Israelites returning from slavery, walking around the walls and the walls come tumbling down.  Pressed for more, they recalled the story of Rahab.  Pushed for even more details they described just how the Israelites silently walked along the walls except on the last day.  When I told them there was something still missing from their account, some students resorted to memories of a Veggie Tales videos…  Not one of the students remembered that all the inhabitants of the city were to be slaughtered.  Young and old, male and female – even the livestock were to die.  It’s not what we want to think about.  It’s not part of the story that ever made it on to the flannel board when I was a kid in Sunday School.   As good Christians we tend to ignore parts of the Bible that leave us a little uncomfortable.  We don’t want to think about Achan’s family also being stoned for their father/husband’s sin. Yet, in his book Bound Together, Pastor Chris Brauns takes these accounts head-on and explains how stories such as this in the Bible actually point to a larger truth about sin and redemption. Pastor Brauns introduces us to the “principle of the rope – the simple truth that our lives, choices and actions are linked to the lives, choices and actions of other people.” (page 25)  Its an uncomfortable truth, but true nonetheless.  We all find ourselves dealing with the consequences in which the actions of others have placed us.  In our representative form of government, this happens all the time.  I did  not vote for President Obama, but his choices and actions surely have an effect on me.  I did not choose the family I was born into, but the actions of my parents sure have played a huge role in my life and development and will continue down to my children and grandchildren.  Today as I type this review, the entire nation is grappling with the evil plans of unknown bombers from Boston.   We are bound together in solidarity with entire human race.  We all trace our roots back to the same person standing naked in the garden with a little bit of fruit still fresh on his lips.  Ever since Adam, the entire human race must struggle with the actions stemming from our shared sin nature.  Though we may not have been physically present with Adam or complicit in that exact sin, we suffer the consequences as guilty people.  We all suffer the consequences.   Brauns writes, “Broadly speaking, there are two consequences to Adam’s rebellion.  First, Adam and all his descendants are guilty of sinning against God, and second, all of Adam’s descendants inherit a corrupted nature.  This means all human beings, including babies and small children, are not innocent victims of circumstance.  They are born sinners.  As David confessed in Psalm 51:5, ‘Behold I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.’  The problem we face as Adam’s descendants is not that we are sinners because we sin; rather we sin because we are sinners.” (Page 45) However, there is another rope…  As strong as the rope that binds to Adam and his fallen race, even stronger is the rope that binds us to Christ and his righteousness.  The principle of the rope is not merely negative.  The positive aspect of this principle highlights our identity in Christ Jesus.  Drawing from Romans 5, Pastor Brauns shows us that though through Adam we are bound in sin and death, in Christ we are given righteousness and life.  The same principle that imposes death on the human race also grants salvation to all who believe.   “The blessing of God’s love is greater than the curse of sin.  The negative and positive applications of the principle of the rope are not symmetrical.  Our solidarity in Christ is more powerful than our solidarity in sin with Adam.” (page 84) The principle of the rope not only helps to see the metanarrative of Scripture is a clearer light, but it also helps us see our personal struggles and difficulties in a clearer light.  In the second half of the book Pastor Chris applies this principle to issues such as marriage, families, death, and culture.   This is a book I wish I could hand to every family.  As someone who works with children each day, I wish parents could see the effect their decisions have upon their children.  Somehow some parents have managed to delude themselves into thinking their divorce will have no effect on their children since both parents plan to remain active.  Yet, they fail to recognize their selfishness is not only seen by their children but in many ways is imitated by their children.  Likewise, I wish children saw how their actions affect their siblings and even their parents.   Of course, I also greatly appreciate the strong emphasis on the local church.  The principle of the rope demands that we associate ourselves with a community of believers.  In fact, in the last chapter, Pastor Brauns argues the only thing that can truly combat our age of radical individualism is the local church.   This book would be a valuable addition to your library.  I would urge you to get your copy and read it soon.     Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this title free of charge from Zondervan for the purpose of an honest review. Bound Together: How we are tied to others in good and bad choices is an insightful book. God made us to live in community not as lone rangers. However in community comes much joy and pain because we are all connected and in that connection peoples choices make a difference in our lives for the good or bad. The author writes this title to explain a term he has coined as the principle of the rope. You can also define this term as solidarity. He goes in great length to explain this principle as it appears in relationships in the Bible then in some other contemporary relationships. He then goes on to cover that connections with others in good or bad may be viewed through the "stronger rope" of Christ. The first five chapters of the book explain the principle of the rope through examples. The last five deal with application of this principle in our everyday life and relationships. Like I stated above, this is an insightful book. I hope it helps the reader think about the decisions they have made and the impact this has had on others. I hope it opens the eyes of readers at how important your personal choices are. How they make a difference for others because we are all connected. I then hope that the reader can apply the gospel or the stronger rope of Christ to this truth. This book has impacted me because I have thought of things this way before in reading the Bible or thinking through my personal choices, however I needed to be reaffirmed that no matter what choices I make God works them all out to fulfill His greater plan. An example of this is that I can never mess up my children with my choices because God is greater. I can cause pain but God will use every bit of that to form them into who He has them to be. It is freeing if viewed in light of the gospel. Over all it is an interesting read.
Theophilusfamily More than 1 year ago
   I began Bound Together one afternoon and found myself fascinated by this thought provoking book. Bound Together explores the Principle of the Rope, the truth that we are bound together in surprising ways. I had never though about this before.  Once I read a little of this book I saw that this truth was foundational to the world and my life. The very next morning we were talking about innocent women and children being killed in wars. The thought flooded my mind "It is the principle of the rope. When a nation goes to war, all the people are bound together." Then, later, I was watching a family member shoveling snow. "I hope they don't get hurt," I thought, "I will be hurting with them." Why? Because we are Bound Together. If they are sad it affects me, if I sin it affects them. This is obvious. However the rope extends and binds us together even more powerfully than just these examples. Every Human is Bound Together by the Original Rope- our sinfulness as Children of Adam. All humanity is Bound Together as Sinners needing Redemption before a Holy God. This rope ties every single person together, causing much pain. We see the bonds of the sin rope every day. A child whose father leaves or whose father was a drunkard suffers the pain of choices he did not make. A woman whose husband commits adultery and divorces her suffers the pain, because they were One Flesh in marriage and his choices cut them apart. A woman raising children in a city poisoned by gang wars who loses a child to a drive-by shooting suffers the torment of not being able to protect them from the choices of the other citizens. We understand the truth of being bound together in pain and sin. Because the sins of the parents truly do pour pain on their children, Chris Brauns takes time to carefully look at what this means. He examines the passage in Ezekiel, about the fathers eating sour grapes and the children's teeth being set on edge. If we are bound to others sinful choices, are we unable to get free of them ever? Are we even responsible for our own actions? A careful examination of Scripture reveals that God can restore Your life, despite the fact that you will forever live with the effects of their choices, God can make you a new creation, able to make different choices. The fact that the scars some people have been given may never fade leaves us asking: In all of this, where is the Hope? If we are Bound Together in this sinful world, how will we live? If every sinful choice made cuts painfully into us, how will we survive? The hope comes because there is another Rope. A Stronger Rope. The one that binds all Christians eternally Together in the Body of Christ. God has rescued us by the Stronger Rope, the Gospel. This Rope binds us to The King. Bound Together explains that the Principle of the Rope is at the Heart of the Gospel. "The reality of solidarity makes possible the good news of our union with God. Because of the principle of the rope, we can be united to Christ. All the blessings and benefits that He has merited by His righteous life, atoning death, victorious resurrection and glorious ascension to heaven are now ours through the Grace of God. Ultimately, it is our Union with Christ that makes possible the greatest miracle of all- our inclusion into the very life of God, the inner relationships of the Trinity. Counted in the Son, Adopted by the Father, and indwelt by the Spirit, we experience the fulness of Love because of our solidarity with Jesus. The principle of the Rope makes this good news true for me and you."  Yes it does. And this Rope Binds us Together for Joy. Bound Together explains that when Paul speaks of having Joy amid the persecutions and trials in his life, he almost always speaks of having Joy with other believers. It is in Union with Christ and In His Body that there is Godly Joy. The Old Testament resounds with this truth- Psalm 133 "How sweet it is when brothers live in unity!" Chris Brauns explains that this unity is referred to as dew from the mountains and being anointed on the head with precious oil. "The point is that if we are unified, then we will be blessed and refreshed by God- We will be ful of joy." We are Bound Together as Families. We are Bound Together in Marriage. We are Bound Together as Nations and Cultures. We are Bound together as Sinners. We are Bound Together as Saints. The ropes that bind us might hurt sometimes, but it is the Principle of the Rope that binds us into the Body of Christ, into all loving relationships. I received Bound Together by Chris Brauns from Cross Focused Reviews.