Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I Can't Believe I Walked In That


Sacred Dung: Grace to Turn Bad Things Into Good Things
John D. Duncan, Austin Brothers Publishing, Fort Worth, Texas, USA, 2015
I Can’t Believe I Walked In That!

This is John Duncan’s third book in his “Sacred” trilogy.  In the first one, Sacred Space, he shared with us how to find a) the silence we need in order to survive in this crazy world, b) the speech that we need to be able to converse with God, and c) the ear we must cultivate to hear God. In his second book, Sacred Grit, he takes us to a training ground for the Christian life if we plan to finish well.
In Sacred Dung, he is basically telling us: There are good things and there are bad things. Good things happen to good people and bad people. And more importantly, bad things also happen to bad people; and most importantly, they happen to good people, too.  But for the Christian who has been prepared in the Sacred Space, and trained and equipped with Sacred Grit – dealing with the Sacred Dung is possible, beneficial, and is exactly what God wants of us while we’re walking this earth.
To accomplish this, Duncan takes us through some teaching on Sacred Refuse, showing us the need to move away from focusing on the past and start looking to the future.  He shows us how to eradicate the darkness that has befallen us (or that we have fallen into) and start to shed light into the available crevices. He also points out that the party’s over if we cannot “dump the dung” – we may as well “Kiss life goodbye” and “Turn out the lights”. But he doesn’t just say that – he tells us where and how to start the dumping process.
When we come across dung in our lives, we must realize that it is in essence our wilderness, our desert.  We all hit one sooner or later. The author shows us how to move from loss to gain.
In the process, John Duncan helps each of us realize what many of us refuse to accept. With some wonderfully written examples, he convinces us that we cannot predict the future, neither can we control, nor force, life. Surprises happen.  Some are good but some are bad.
I’ve tried to refrain from giving away the author’s wonderful quotes, allowing readers to discover them for themselves, but I had to get this one in: “Sacred dung invites us into God’s light in the darkness, into His oasis of grace in the wilderness, and into His healing grace in the agony of the soul.”  We come out of the wilderness and away from the dung remarkably different and yes, better, people. The book is proof that no matter what, God is good – not just some of the time, but really “all the time” – even in our dung.  There, God does His best work on our lives.
In the latter part of the book, Duncan shows us how God turns hurt to healing sharing some of his own life with us, as well as the lives of others.  That alone is a great solace to any one of us.  But he takes the reader beyond that point of focus on his/her own hurt and healing. He talks about “stitches coming out” but “scars remaining”.  And for many, those scars are often hidden.  He says they’re “unseen, unknown, invisible” to others.  But we are to assume they are there and act accordingly towards others.  Here’s the way it should work – God graces us so that we can grace others.  God heals us, allowing us to use our experiences, to help others heal.
If you like great quotes, John has his own, but he also draws on some terrific and very applicable ones from the great poets and writers of history. And he also likes talking right to the reader – something that takes a little getting used to, but it works well for him.
Speaking of quotes, I just must leave you with this last one from the author near the end of Sacred Dung: “All you have to do in the dung is hold your nose and open your eyes to see God’s presence, protection, and power; to see His strength as a refuge for you by faith, under grace, and in the hope of His joy.”
If you’ve stepped in the dung, or are doing so now, this book has the potential of helping you dump it and staying out of it.  If you’ve never been there, keep living, you will be and this book can help you navigate your feet away from it when that time comes, for it will.

-- Ken B. Godevenos, Accord Resolution Services Inc., Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. 15/11/25

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