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God’s Top 10: Blowing the Lid off the Commandments

Morehouse Publishing
RRP: $32.95

Looking for brief comments and reflections on issues that may well surface during the lead up to the federal election?

Wanting some perspectives that are easy to read and encourage thought?

Do your lunch hour conversations cover a wide range of social justice issues into which you would like to drop some worthwhile contributions?

Here are 170 easy-to-read pages, with further reading suggestions that cover over 40 issues that we find on our personal agenda as well as in our family, church and community. Robertson skilfully links this wide range of issues with God’s Top 10 – for example Public Space and Racism are both addressed under the chapter ‘Whose is it, Anyway?’, and of course Advertising is considered under the tenth because it encourages violation of that Commandment.

The author reminds us that God gave commandments about how to live together in society, and that while they are usually thought of in terms of our personal lives, we can’t live our lives for long without running up against social structures and governmental systems – there is a wider picture.

While God’s Top 10 is written for the American scene following the 2004 presidential election to help keep political/social position and faith in responsible dialogue, not a great deal of adaptation is required for it to apply to our pre-election environment.

There are questions for us as individuals – Am I worshipping another god through my employer? Is my labour being used to support injustice?

In the chapter ‘No Graven Images’ congregations are invited to reflect on their ‘household goods’ that don’t allow God to live and move, and that keep Jesus sealed in the tomb of ‘the way we’ve always done it before’.

In the 11th chapter which considers Micah 6:8 congregations are asked to consider how much of their emphasis is on acts of mercy [providing food vouchers, financial assistance etc] , and how much is on acts of justice addressing the cultural or systemic issues that lead to people needing help.

Robertson observes that if we put the same amount of energy into acts of justice as we do to acts of mercy, then we really would make a difference.

God’s Top 10 not only blows the lid off the Commandments, it offers a fresh way for them to speak to us today.

Reviewed by Bob Warrick, a retired Uniting Church minister