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The Colors of Hope: Becoming People of Mercy, Justice, and Love [Kindle Edition]

Richard Dahlstrom
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

It's time for a fresh vision of the Christian life as a creative adventure.

The Christian life should be guided by the intentional goal of blessing the lives of the friends, loved ones, and strangers in our midst. We are called to impact a culture that is overwhelmingly preoccupied with personal peace, prosperity, protection, and survival. Christians should be artists who paint with the colors of hope in a broken world, embodying Christ's redemptive presence in our personal lives, our work, and our relationships.

This inspiring and practical book offers tools for living out this vision in daily life, with special attention given to the challenges we face in staying focused on the mission of imparting hope to others even while dealing with our own personal issues. Anyone who wishes to have an impact on the world will cherish this unique book.

"Richard Dahlstrom brings a welcome call to a biblical faith that takes us beyond ourselves and the polarized debates in our society."--Tom Sine, author, The New Conspirators: Creating the Future One Mustard Seed at a Time

"Passionately, deftly, Dahlstrom urges us to embrace our calling as artisans of hope. This is the soothing voice and the relevant message that this noisy, weary world needs."--Karen Spears Zacharias, author, Will Jesus Buy Me a Double-Wide? 'Cause I Need More Room for My Plasma TV

"Dahlstrom reminds us that cynicism and hopelessness are not going to change the world. But neither will nebulous idealism. We have to become people of mercy, justice, and love. In short, we have to be 'artisans of hope.'"--Eugene Cho, pastor and founder, One Day's Wages

"Richard Dahlstrom, one of the brightest and best communicators Christianity has to offer right now, calls us out into fulfilling our role as creators--artists sent to splash the world with meaningful, gorgeous color."--Jordan Green, director, Burnside Writers Collective

Richard Dahlstrom is senior pastor of Bethany Community Church in Seattle, Washington; Bible college teacher with Torchbearers Missionary Fellowship; and a speaker at conferences throughout North America. His first book, O2: Breathing New Life into Faith, was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best Christian books of 2008. You can find more of his work at richarddahlstrom.com.

From the Back Cover

It's time for a fresh vision of the Christian life as a creative adventure.

The Christian life should be guided by the intentional goal of blessing the lives of the friends, loved ones, and strangers in our midst. We are called to impact a culture that is overwhelmingly preoccupied with personal peace, prosperity, protection, and survival. Christians should be artists who paint with the colors of hope in a broken world, embodying Christ's redemptive presence in our personal lives, our work, and our relationships.

This inspiring and practical book offers tools for living out this vision in daily life, with special attention given to the challenges we face in staying focused on the mission of imparting hope to others even while dealing with our own personal issues. Anyone who wishes to have an impact on the world will cherish this unique book.

"Richard Dahlstrom brings a welcome call to a biblical faith that takes us beyond ourselves and the polarized debates in our society."--Tom Sine, author, The New Conspirators: Creating the Future One Mustard Seed at a Time

"Passionately, deftly, Dahlstrom urges us to embrace our calling as artisans of hope. This is the soothing voice and the relevant message that this noisy, weary world needs."--Karen Spears Zacharias, author, Will Jesus Buy Me a Double-Wide? 'Cause I Need More Room for My Plasma TV

"Dahlstrom reminds us that cynicism and hopelessness are not going to change the world. But neither will nebulous idealism. We have to become people of mercy, justice, and love. In short, we have to be 'artisans of hope.'"--Eugene Cho, pastor and founder, One Day's Wages

"Richard Dahlstrom, one of the brightest and best communicators Christianity has to offer right now, calls us out into fulfilling our role as creators--artists sent to splash the world with meaningful, gorgeous color."--Jordan Green, director, Burnside Writers Collective

Richard Dahlstrom is senior pastor of Bethany Community Church in Seattle, Washington; Bible college teacher with Torchbearers Missionary Fellowship; and a speaker at conferences throughout North America. His first book, O2: Breathing New Life into Faith, was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best Christian books of 2008. You can find more of his work at richarddahlstrom.com.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 731 KB
  • Print Length: 220 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0801013569
  • Publisher: Baker Books (May 1 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004WOS1IS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #423,025 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Sept. 19 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Satisfied customer...delivery came as stated
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars June 20 2014
Format:Paperback
Great transaction and purchase. Thanks.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Provides Needed Realism in the Pursuit of Missional Living. May 20 2011
By Larry Shallenberger - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Colors of Hope is a manifesto that invites Christ followers to reclaim its mandate to be agents of redemption through our relationships, work, and hobbies. Richard's pastoral eye provides him with a unique vantage point that sets his book apart from the rest literature on Christian living. Here's three things I caught my eye in "Colors" that made me pause, think, and reconsider my perspective:

Those who wish to paint with hope must be observant. Dahlstrom writes about his friendship with a master painter and art teacher. One of the first tasks the painter needed to accomplish with her students was teaching them to see the detail of their subjects. It wasn't enough to notice a shadow, the students needed to see the rich gradient of shades that made up the shadow. In the same way, we need to be sure that we're actually seeing people as God sees them. Richard offered practical and wise ways to notice how we label, judge, and categorize others. For me, the book provided me with a fresh challenge to see and enjoy people for who they are.

You cannot be an effective "artisan of hope" without a strong theology of suffering. So much of what passes for books on missional living reads like the transcript of a Tony Robbins seminar. Lot's of "Rah, Rah" but light on realism. Richard acknowledges that one of the challenges of painting with hope is that life is difficult and challenges our own belief in the hope we aspire to depict. Dahlstrom writes:

"Apparently the deeper colors of pain and deprivation can spill onto the canvas of the faithful as easily as the colors of peace and contentment. Until we wrap our minds and hearts around this, we're in danger of forever seeking to create and live in a pastel world, when what we really need is to leaven how to be people of hope in the midst of bloody colors of suffering, shortcomings, and the loss that comes with living in a fallen world. Helmut Thielicke, the great German Theologian, said that America's inadequate theology of suffering is her greatest Achilles heel, that weakness that, if not addressed, is in danger of making her infertile." (p. 126)

Pastor Dahlstrom goes on to outline this theology of suffering, using surprising examples from the Bible and his own life. This lesson, for me, with the year I've have, is worth the price of the book.

A painting is made up of thousands of mundane strokes. Again, Richard's realism shines though. He openly acknowledges that living this type of life is often mundane. Painting with mercy, justice, and love is occurs one decision- one relational transaction- at a time. Usually, the painting doesn't take shape until after a life time of these brush strokes have been made.

I recommend The Colors of Hope for the same reason I recommend Lamott's Bird by Bird. In Bird by Bird, Anne pulls back the curtain and shows us what the life of a writer is really like. Richard Dahlstrom does the same thing in The Colors of Hope. By doing so he gives us, not just the ideals of missional living, but a model of what the life of an "artisan of hope" looks like.

Thanks, Richard.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Missing Message Found! May 27 2011
By Chris Gough - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am going to take a break from my normal (less then serious) reviews to acknowledge The Colors of Hope.

If you are looking for a book that captures the spirit and essence of a healthy, authentic, missional and joy-filled Christian life, you have found it.

The book's continuous theme is that of an artist creating a unique expression on a canvas...the canvas is the life you have been given and Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly are the primary colors used to make create a masterpiece. What results from this art is beauty, adventure, truth, meaning and hope.

In a Christian culture unbalanced by music, preaching and (afterlife only) evangelism...this book offers a refreshing reminder that God's Kingdom is near...it is now and it is full of color!

This is not an overly scholarly debate of Micah 6:8, instead the book follows a (biblical) model of story telling to convey its premises'... using real life narratives to underscore the message. Richard's deep knowledge of scripture and its themes, and his open recounting of his own story keep the book authentic, applicable and sharp. I found the section on Justice to be particularly powerful.

I have already given this book as a gift and wholeheartedly recommend it to both those who have a faith in Christ and those who are seeking truth. The Colors of Hope is very approachable but firm in its conclusion that we are made in God's (creative) image and are loved infinitely and are therefore able to be a blessing to others.

Looking forward to more from Richard Dahlstrom!!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A jolt of electricity to shock lukewarm faith June 28 2011
By C. T. Krispin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you are content and happy with where you are in your journey of faith, and if you prefer that your happy little boat not be rocked, steer clear of this book. For some reason, God has decided to give Richard Dahlstrom a remarkable life, or at least a deeper-than-usual sensitivity to the remarkable aspects of a normal life, characterized by full-frontal confrontations with what the apostle James referred to as "faith without deeds."

For years, like many of us who have been Christians for most of our lives, Richard was marching along happily in God's army, about the business of saving sinners, when he discovered the things that seem to matter most to God (judging by the attention they are given in scripture), and how the things God seems to prioritize are often not the same things his followers prioritize, if you consider how we spend our time, money, and words.

Using the analogy of art - specifically, visual art - Richard explores what the Lord wants from his people, according to Micah 6:8 (incidentally, a governing passage in my life). Referring to these as the "primary colors," he explores what it looks like to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

With a refreshing sense of his own fallibility coupled with a zeal for sucking every last bit of watermelon off the rind of life, Richard strikes me as a middle-aged man who never quite got the memo that he's reaching the age where he should start slowing down and letting the next generation pick up the slack. Far from it, as I learned on Easter Sunday. Richard is too busy building wells in Africa, teaching theology classes in India (and many other places), and challenging his flock at Bethany to live remarkable lives for the sake of setting the captives amongst us free.

You can't read a book like The Colors of Hope and then carry on with business as usual. If you are a Christian, you will put this book down and be filled with a fresh sense of your purpose and calling, relieved by the reminder that our faith is not tame, predictable, or comfortable, but it is good - always good. And if you are not a Christian, reading this book just might encourage you to reconsider the glorious invitation to walk with Jesus.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Contemporary Inspirational Read Oct. 28 2012
By Davey Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Dahlstrom has this incredibly disarming authenticity, like he could submerse you in a sea of despair and raise you up to dry off in the radiant and blinding sunlight of idealism before you realized that his words had reached your consciousness. Instead, though, he constantly deflates the romanticism of a perfect Christian world and provides seemingly mundane, but substantially realistic and sustainable, guiding principles.

I can imagine that somebody struggling or learning would easily grant a five-star rating. I'm not renovating walls in my life, though, only patching up loose bricks. When I come to that day where I need it more desperately, I'll inevitably promote my rating.

Unfortunately most of pop culture won't get past more widely known and superficial and short-lived fads that come in the forms of books. But those few that manage to stumble across Dahlstrom will certainly cherish his writing for a far longer time.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and challenging book that will change how you view the Christian walk. May 9 2011
By N. Sosnovske - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Colors of Hope, by Richard Dahlstrom, was a refreshing read, to say the least. It seems that our generation has thrived on extremes and controversy. Names such as Rob Bell, Mark Driscoll, Joel Olsteen, and John Piper come to mind, causing one to wonder how the Christian faith is viewed from the outside. If Christian leaders can't stop fighting amongst themselves, can't stopped getting wrapped up in theology while ignoring the larger problems of our world, why would we ever expect anybody to subscribe to this faith that we call Christianity? Dahlstrom's book, in many ways, rises above this status quo of extremism that we as Christians have come to accept. From the start of his book I found myself resonating with his thesis; Christians should live a life of experience and artistry, seeking to live out the words of Micah 6:8, which call us to act justly, love mercy, and to walk in humility with God.

The book, as well as this review, is in a three part format; with part one being a setting of the "canvas" that Dahlstrom uses to paint the rest of his book. Part two takes the three exhortations of Micah 6:8 and expands on them. Part three switches gears to a practical level, giving some advice on how to apply what has just been read. All three parts are well written, and tied together well with an artist metaphor that carries through the book. Enough with format though... part one.

Part 1

"They don't know how to paint the gospel on the canvas of their culture, because they don't know their culture." (Page 40)

Dahlstrom is an artist at heart. This makes sense, considering his music composition background that he had in college, but you would be able to tell by the text in this book even without knowing that information. In part one, he is setting the canvas and context in which Christians are called to paint their lives upon. He makes the contention that we as Christians need to learn how to see people and situations in the same manner that an artist learns how to see objects. An artist doesn't see an object at face value. They recognize that objects are made up of lines, shadows, curves, colors, and numerous other small details that work in tandem to define the object. So often we see an individual and apply a label to them that fills in the details; Dahlstrom would contend that this is backwards! As soon as we have labeled people and filled in the details we can allow excuses to free us from loving them like Jesus would. So to understand people, we need to understand the details and circumstances that make up their lives. To understand circumstance, we must understand culture; something that many Christians have been more than happy to ignore. Dahlstrom, however, is happy to point out how even Paul paid attention to culture in his ministry in order to better understand the people that he was ministering to.

Dahlstrom moves on to address the subject that we use to frame our lives and world. He argues that Christians need to be Kingdom focused... not merely for the future, but for now! This is the Gospel that compels people to drop everything and start to experience Christ as a subject and example for how we treat others. In Dahlstrom's artist metaphor, it is what compels people to start to color and paint in the world. To those who say that this world is temporary and not worth fixing, Dahlstrom makes a compelling argument that this world and heaven will someday unite, and Christ will reconcile everything. He ends Part 1 with the words, "In Jesus's kingdom, everyone's an artist. Everyone."

Overall: With his ability to use a very good metaphor to effortlessly showcase the complexities of his argument, Dahlstrom's introduction to the canvas that we call life will easily hold your attention and leave you plenty to think about. An excellent section that ends up tying in very nicely with his thesis and the rest of the book! (10/10)

Part 2

"I'm a pastor as well, but I did "pastor things" for nearly a decade without even thinking about "doing justice." What I learned during that decade is that when you only have two colors on your palette, the pictures you create distort God's good news." (Page 85)

If this world is a canvas and we are the painter, then we need colors to fill our canvas with. Dahlstrom says that the primary colors that we paint this canvas with are justice, mercy and intimacy with God. He goes on to write a very good section on justice. Dahlstrom likes to tell stories in his writing. Many of them are quite inspirational and heart-wrenching, and they usually fit the point that he is trying to make; even if sometimes it may feel like he leans a little bit to heavily on them. This section on justice especially has stories that help convey his message in an urgent and compelling manner. The section on justice could, in my opinion, stand alone; it is very well written and concise. But that isn't the point. Dahlstrom goes on to talk about mercy, or as he likes to call it, "lovingkindness." If we are just focused on justice, and don't include mercy, then we as Christian's have missed the point. Mercy embodies things such as forgiveness and loving those that are hardest to love. His argument is that mercy and justice complement each other in such a way, that each is incomplete without the other. He states that Christ brought both to the world and so should we. Both of these things however are incomplete without intimacy with God. I think one of my favorite lines in the book are when he says that God will use broken people to spill the colors of justice and mercy throughout the world. That brokenness comes through intimacy.

Overall: His argument stands very well, though I feel like the section on intimacy is slightly more fragmented and unfocused when compared to the sections on mercy and justice. The point is not lost, however, that all three are colors that God is using to do his work in the world. Heavy use of stories that are both heartwarming and relavant. (9/10)

Part 3:

"If we're to be artisans of faith we need to be weaned away from our addictions to the spectacular and realize instead that simply showing up, day after day, and creating splashes of beauty and grace will eventually bring fruit." (Page 195)

Part three seems to be a "What now?" section in which Dahlstrom talks about how we can take the things we learned from the first two sections, and apply them while life is happening. One thing that I appreciate about Dahlstrom, is that he is a realist. He doesn't fall into the trap of cynicism, yet he recognizes that things will not always be ideal. There are chapters that talk about identity, the condition of the soul, condition of surroundings, and change. Dahlstrom draws from his life experience in order to inspire and counsel. It never really feels like a 'self-help' book, but sometimes it strays a little in that direction. My favorite part from this section is when he states that in our life painting we should find where the world's greatest need meets our heart's desire. This section is an excellent complement to the book, and a strong ending.

Overall: While sometimes feeling like it is straying towards a 'self-help' book, Dahlstrom manages to keep the reader engaged and uses well placed stories that show how the primary colors that we use can be applied to life. It is motivating, and Dahlstrom is personal and real with the reader. A strong ending, but not the strongest section of the book. (8/10)

Conclusion:

Read this book! I really think that in a world of polarization, Dahlstrom understands that people are yearning for a unity in Christian faith; even if it isn't easy. The standard that Dahlstrom sets is one of a trajectory towards a life of justice, mercy and intimacy with God; recognizing that the final destination will come when Christ restores the world! He doesn't toe a party line and instead writes with a conviction that will make both people from the Christian left and right uncomfortable at times. He has an attention to detail that always focuses outwards on the big picture of reconciliation. Finally, Dahlstrom is genuine. I think this, above all, will speak to people who are tired of fake Christians that are telling others how to live. He sure managed to convince me, and I can be as cynical as they come. Dahlstrom, to borrow his metaphor, is truly painting his canvas with the primary colors of God; he lives what he writes. That, friends, is refreshing.

FINAL VERDICT: Strongly Recommend (9/10 overall)
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