In the good and the bad - we're bound together {book review}...

Bound Together
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.


I was provided with a complementary copy of Bound Together by Zondervan and Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my honest review. The painted bunting - at least for now - lives on Pollywog Creek.