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I am so grateful to Eliana Ku for this wonderful review of Hope in Disarray: Piecing Our Lives Together in Faith. I hope you all get a chance to read my book. Please do review it on different platforms and on Amazon too.

Hope in Disarray: Book Review

Grace Ji-Sun Kim. Hope in Disarray: Piecing Our Lives Together in Faith. Cleveland, OH: The

Pilgrim Press, 2020. Xxiii + 131 pages. $16.95.

Grace Ji-Sun Kim throws out a multi-faceted reflection on what is Christian hope and how to seek God in the midst of an era of living with loss, isolation, and anger that runs deep in every part of human
life. However, it is not an abstract and metaphysical hope, rather it points out the intense anguish she has witnessed, as well as the world’s pain which we all endure. Kim presents Christian hope and spatiality that begins and is bestowed in a relationship with God, and speaks with the voice of social
justice. This book invites readers to intense contemplation on how to redefine and seek Christian hope and spirituality.

This book consists of three major themes: living in the church, culture, and relationship. Each theme has nine snapshots which includes spiritual and ethical discourses. Several questions at the end of the chapters lead readers to dwell on the meaning and practice of hope in the conversation with a community whose members sustain each other. The first theme deals with hope through the Church calendar from Advent to Pentecost. That theme guides readers to confirm God’s presence everywhere around us, and to see God, the Giver of life, in those who suffer the most. This theme lets readers face the intersectionality related to the oppression and offers readers a warning about Christians’ “judgment and self-righteousness” (4). This theme criticizes bourgeois thinking and material prosperity, gender injustice in churches, and addresses the issues of differences and the excluded. The church calendar does not ignore contemplation of sin, evil, and rejection, but rather embraces such suffering in the
redemptive action of the triune God. The wonder of the church calendar of celebrations is to help us find, in our misery and suffering, that there is resurrection and new life.

The nine discourses of the second theme focus on imagining a more ethical future and on challenging us to communal action to “examine and reimagine our current culture” (41). This part notes racism, sexism, prejudice, and stereotypes of intersectional oppression against minorities, including immigrants and indigenous citizens. Kim encourages us to redefine racial justice and equality as both are sometimes dysfunctional in our society.
         Also, Kim refutes the culture that has imposed shame on survivors. She calls for the church’s
involvement with survivors and urges a place of memory and truth-telling against their oppression. Kim also brings up the social hazard of public shootings, mentioning the countless lives that have been lost and the violence that has occurred in exchange for freer gun ownership. Kim includes damage being done to our ecology and the desire of humans to receive benefits from nature, noting how the poor are impacted by changes in climate and the economy. She realizes that climate change will exacerbate poverty, hunger, and disease, and will negatively impact politics, labor, resources, and refugees. In the face of these crises, Kim emphasizes the need to be responsible for our destiny, our actions, and our progress.

The power of the Spirit, she believes, can motivate us to act beyond fear with compassion and hope for the creatures of the earth and those who suffer. The third theme focuses on human-human and divine-human relationships. To build healthy relationships, Kim points out a sense of vulnerability. Vulnerability, according to her, is acknowledging participation in an imperfect world. Kim challenges the patriarchal culture and conventions that are fixed in gender roles regarding internalized oppression and argues that churches and societies need to create resources to support those who suffer abuse, including women and children. For the discourse on peace, Kim draws on the particular suffering of North and South Koreas as the only divided nation in the world. She notes that Christians need to practice the principles of faith as peacemakers in the face of destructive world events and divisive
leaders. This effort includes dealing with the bias against North Korea that has been politically manipulated.

       This book encourages readers to develop diverse ways of considering hope and to reexamine what we can accomplish by sharing each others narrative of suffering and pursuing solidarity. For Kim, hope is not about the world we dream of but about the world we live in and is a belief that is based on solidarity that we can nurture a better life for those suffering around us and for all.

Eliana Ah Rum Ku, Emanuel College, University of Toronto, ON, Canada

Vol. 46, No. 2 (2021), 63