Book Review: Futureville by Skye Jethani

Want to see the future? It is brighter than you think.

What we believe about tomorrow determines how we live today. As Christians debate how to faithfully engage with our rapidly changing world, our vision of the future has never been more important.

This is the ethos behind Futureville: discover your purpose for today by reimagining tomorrow. How you understand the future impacts how you live today.

Do you see a world which gradually gets better and better until it becomes all it’s meant to be? Or do you see a world getting worse – and one which we’ll eventually be snatched away from (rapture-style) leaving it to be destroyed?

Skye Jethani wants to lead us away from those views (which he dubs ‘evolution’ and ‘evacuation’) and promote a third – that of resurrection.  He looks at the results (or side effects) of the two previous views – this I found quite illuminating. I was particularly interested in what he had to say about the ‘evacuation’ view, which seems so dominant in many Christian circles (think Left Behind). He observes that we end up denigrating anything not perceived as directly ‘saving souls’ and lose our sense of vocation – not just a church based thing, says Jethani, but something for all of us, whatever our line of work – in the arts, the marketplace, the business sector… I loved what he said about the value of beauty and how sometimes making beautiful things is seen as ‘not useful’ – when beauty is a hallmark of God’s desire for us.

There’s lots to be found in this book, and actually, it could have been longer, with perhaps a fuller conclusion. The thing I disliked about it was the title! I understand, from reading the book, what ‘Futureville’ is supposed to convey, but it makes it feel as if the book will be shallow, very ‘5 steps to such-and-such’ when it’s far more thoughtful than that.

There is much I could comment on – our expectations (and misunderstandings) of young people ‘joining’ church, the idea of ‘building gardens’ here and now as a taster of the full reality to come – and the development of a real understanding of vocation and what it means for all of us. Having come to the end, I feel I need to re-read it and take notes, so I can remember all the things that struck me as I went along!

I enjoyed this book and find it hard to encapsulate in a review. If I had a criticism (aside from the title) it would be that the themes could have been developed further and woven together more tightly at the end – it has a good start, an interesting middle, but the end lacked something of the book’s previous strength, so that the conclusion felt like a quick round up.

However, it’s worth a look, even if the title puts you off.

I review for BookLook Bloggers

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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