Restoring Health: Body, Mind and Spirit by Ed A. Hird.
This book is part of the author’s focus on restoring health to the North American church by strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Paul’s letter to Titus is the biblical text for this project.
The book begins with a foreword by the respected theologian, J. I. Packer, and no fewer than eight pages of endorsements.
Dr. Hird has been the Rector for St. Simon’s Church in North Vancouver, Canada since 1987. St. Simon’s is a member of the Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada) and is a renewal-oriented church.
Paul had some harsh words to say about the people of Crete where Titus was serving: “one of themselves, a prophet of their own said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true” (Titus 1:12-13a; pp. 29-30). Dr. Hird expands on this assessment by drawing from Crete’s ancient history as a habitation for pirates.
Hird then makes a comparison between the cultures of ancient Crete and modern North America. He concludes that our North American culture has many characteristics of a culture of “pirates.” Using this thesis, he then demonstrates the relevance of Paul’s instructions to Titus for today: “If the Cretans can be delivered from piracy through Titus, there is hope for even North Americans” (49).
Those expecting an exegetical commentary of Titus will not find it in this book. Instead, as Hird walks with us through Titus, verse-by-verse, he provides basic explanations of the text. These explanations are liberally illustrated by the use of interesting and useful anecdotes, many drawn from his personal experiences.
Here are a couple of examples. Discussing the issue of drunkenness (1:7), Dr. Hird uses the life of Johnny Cash as an extended illustration of God’s power in battling addiction (37-40). Titus 1:10 becomes an opportunity to address the modern North American phenomena of yoga and labyrinth-praying as spiritually dark, deceptive, and dangerous practices (49-53).
The actual text is relatively short – fewer than 70 pages. A bibliography (3 pp.) and extensive endnotes (11 pp.) are provided.
Overall I found this book readable, enjoyable, and profitable.
My goal through living theology is to equip and encourage you to become more like Jesus Christ and to live all of life with God-honoring competence and joy.
To further that goal, I focus on providing you with practical resources for disciple-making and church health.
By ‘church health’ I do not mean ‘church’ as an institution. Rather I have in view communities of Christians – ‘Jesus communities’ – living out the values of the Kingdom of God in their ‘here and now’. The same goes for disciple-making – living and growing as followers of Jesus in all of life.
I became a follower of Jesus in my university years.
I had practised law for over 27 years when I accepted an invitation to pastor and teach within a Jesus community in Metro-Vancouver, Canada. More than 12 full and interesting years have passed. I’m an associate with Outreach Canada with a strong desire for the health of churches and the making of disciples – and I’m back practising law a couple of days a week. I’m also writing, speaking, and teaching in areas of practical theology with an emphasis on living theology.
Over the years I’ve completed an M.A. in Biblical Studies at Regent College (Vancouver), and a Doctor of Ministry. My doctoral thesis was at the intersection of leadership, conflict, and spiritual formation. I’ve taught in universities, colleges, churches, conferences, retreats, and seminars in North America, Europe, and Latin America.
One exciting project I’m working on is the re-discovery of Matthew as a practical and effective paradigm for making disciples. The research, field-testing, and development of this resource is still a work-in-progress.
Sharon and I have been married for 37+ years and have been blessed with four grown children, two sons-in-law, and two grandchildren – so far.
Disclosure: I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.