Two weeks ago I posted my review of Chris Brauns’ new book Bound Together: How We Are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choices. The books is great and I encourage everyone to get copy. This week I have invited Chris to answer a few questions about his book to further peak your interest in this great read.
Question: When you discovered the principle of the rope, what was the hardest thing for you personally to accept? Did it change the way you think about and make your decisions?
Craig, thank you for taking the time to interact with Bound Together. I really appreciate it.
Before I forget, I would invite your readers to stop by my web site (www.chrisbrauns.com). In the month of May I am giving away the last of some books as well as some free Nooks (see the Bound Together Quiz). The goal of my web site is to post material that would be helpful to people in our local church. But it ends up being helpful to a lot of other people as well.
For those who are not familiar with my book, I should explain that he principle of the rope is a metaphor that I use to reference corporate solidarity: the idea that we are not islands unto ourselves but that we are bound together with other people. I explain in Bound Together:
Our future and place in this world isn’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 over 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 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 . . . 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 to recess. That’s the principle of the rope.”
The hardest part for me about the fact that we are roped together or bound together is that children suffer because of the choices that adults make. I love children, always have. One of my favorite parts of being a pastor is loving on the little ones.
Given my heart for children, it is very, very difficult for me to accept that when Israel entered into Jericho that all the children were executed. But rather than running from that truth, in Bound Together, I leaned into it, trying to understand where my views of reality need to be reshaped. While I still cannot completely get my mind around the destruction of Jericho, I accept that it is God’s Word and that I can profit from it. Accounts like the destruction of Jericho shows us that Jericho was not viewed as a collection of individuals, but rather as a city “bound together.”
Of course, it has changed how I view life. It shows me, for one thing, that if I really love children I need to build into the lives of their parents as much as possible. We cannot just target individuals. We need to work with groups and cultures as well.
Question: Would you use the principle of the rope in evangelism? If so, how? If not, why?
Whether or not we explicitly talk about the principle of the rope, the subject must be a part of evangelism. In order to be saved, someone must understand that all are born in sin, but that the Good News is that it possible to be united to Christ (Romans 5:18-19).
I do think actually using the metaphor of the principle of the rope helps people understand the concept. To say that Adam was roped to all his descendants communicates in a concrete way.
Question: If the tie to Christ is stronger than our tie to Adam, is the principle of the rope an integral part of the gospel message?
Yes, Paul’s point in Romans 5:12-21is that Christ’s victory is greater than Adam’s defeat: “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more (Romans 5:20).” In terms of the book, Christ’s rope is infinitely stronger than Adam’s.
As I wrote in Bound Together, the doctrine of original sin is the ultimate negative example of the principle of the rope. Union with Christ is the ultimate positive example. If we stopped with only saying that original sin is a negative example and union with Christ a positive one, we might be left thinking that Christians are in a figurative tug-of-war between Adam’s sin and Christ’s righteousness. But the message of the Gospel is that Christ’s victory is greater than Adam’s defeat. The good news is better than the bad news is bad! Through Christ, those who believe in Christ are completely delivered from the dominion of sin.
Thanks Chris for writing this book and taking the time to answer some questions.
Tomorrow I will host a giveaway for a copy of Bound Together.