Bound Together: How We are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choices by Chris Brauns
“The apparent unfairness of being lassoed in with the bad choices of others makes the [concept of the] rope decidedly unpopular. And yet, as ‘Bound Together’ winsomely explains, it is our only lifeline. We may dislike the rope, but our hands would be tied without it.” — Michael Wittmer [Forward]
I like and appreciate the use of metaphors. When I was a teacher, metaphors were useful tools in aiding my young students to better understand concept that were new to them. Metaphors are useful in teaching couples how to communicate with each other. Word pictures and metaphors go hand in hand in assisting adult communication within a workforce, in advertising, and to motivational speakers, for example. The Bible uses metaphors to help us understand key concepts, and Jesus used metaphors in His teachings. In his book Bound Together, Chris Brauns uses the metaphor of the rope to explain and explore a difficult idea for most to grasp and accept–how we as individuals are bound together in our various associations with each other.
Most of us do not have difficulty understanding this concept when discussing team sports. When one person scores a goal for his team and the team wins, they are all winners. And if one player misses a free throw in the last minutes of the game, the entire team loses those points. “The principle of the rope is simply the truth that we human beings are not strictly autonomous individuals. Rather, we are bound to one another in corporate relationships. To various degrees, we are represented by the choices, actions, and decisions of others, and they, likewise, are affected or represented by ours.” It is not a concept we particularly like but, as with gravity, can be witnessed in events over and over. We can’t deny that it exists.
Events in history illustrate this: when a ruler or leader moves in a certain direction, the entire nation moves along with him. There are both negative and positive examples of this everywhere we look. This principle is seen even in families, where patterns emerge over time. A wage earner’s good fortunes are passed on to the rest of the family, just as a loss of income can have unfortunate consequences. Since this concept of “corporate solidarity”, the principle of the rope, is basic to a biblical worldview, it is important to study it. The author does this effectively in this book.
In chapter two, the ultimate negative example of the rope principle is Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Adam represented all of humankind and through his actions brought sin and its consequences to everyone who has lived after him. “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19) Because we don’t like this idea, we find our individualistic selves arguing how unfair this is. Most would concur. The ripples cast by Adam’s stone did not diminish with time. We live in a corrupt world and innocent people suffer in it. But there is good news–the gospel. “If we are roped to Christ, we are so bound to him that nothing–not even the rope that ties us to Adam–can ever separate us from his love.”
In the remainder of Part 1, the author goes into more detail how Christ’s obedience overcomes Adam’s disobedience. Since Adam was the ultimate bad example of the principle, Jesus Christ is the ultimate good example of same. This leads to my favorite quote in the book. “The rope to Christ and the gospel is exceedingly stronger than the rope to Adam and sin. The good news is good more than the bad news is bad.” I love that saying, and I can visualize it on a t-shirt somewhere, or perhaps on a Facebook graphic. It reminds me that Adam was just a human being after all, while Jesus, though he took on the form of humanity for awhile, was and is always God. What he did on the cross was powerful.
Part two of the book gives the reader an opportunity to see how the rope principle applies to us in five areas:
- In our personal joy
- In marriage
- In hurting families
- In facing the fear of death
- In country and culture
These chapters work through what it actually means to be one in Christ, or as the book phrases it, to be roped together with Christ. The author uses biblical references, historical references and modern stories to help us understand how solidarity with Christ changes our hearts and minds and gives us victory in different challenging situations. Throughout the book, the author encourages the reader to take time to meditate on the truths he places before us. It is only when we are fully convinced that we are bound together with Christ that we can apply the principle of the rope to obtain joy personally, in our marriages, within our hurting families, facing death, and in working and living in a culture that is increasingly antagonistic to God’s ways.
I enjoyed Chris Bauns personable writing style, his humor, and the historical and biblical references he used in making some difficult concepts easy for his readers to understand. Besides the ten chapters of the body of the book, he includes a thorough gospel message in the Appendix, a section with suggestions for further reading, and references and notes broken down chapter by chapter. Pastors may want to include this book in their counseling tool kit. But anyone who wants to understand original sin and the relationship we have in Christ after our salvation would find this book helpful in unlocking some of the mysteries.
A complimentary review copy was provided to me by Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC) and Zondervan. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
“Encourage each other daily”
Find books that uplift, authors that inspire, and a whole community of
fellow Christians who are looking to encourage and be encouraged.
Join the Community today, and
be entered to win one of 169 prizes!