When I saw the range of topics The Dignity Revolution would cover in its attempt to build a thorough human dignity ethic—topics like racism, the unborn, immigration, justice systems, poverty, healthcare, sexuality, end of life, religious liberty, technology, and more—I didn’t think it could manage to go very “deep.” I was wrong. This is one of the most insightful, compelling, and convicting books I’ve ever read.
I could’ve easily pulled 10 quotes just from the first chapter (but I didn’t):
Human dignity must be at the heart of our Christian lives because it is at the heart of the gospel story. The gospel celebrates a God who both created humanity with purpose and who—when that humanity turned their back on their Creator—rescued humanity through his Son, the divine human Jesus, in order to recreate and repurpose them. Jesus cared enough about humanity to become a human. The Spirit cares enough about humanity to transform us as humans. (17)
Ironically, a view of wrongdoing that reduces it to the product of a person’s upbringing and environment is in itself deeply dehumanizing. It ends up claiming that we have no real choice, no real freedom. If my decisions can be explained sufficiently by factors outside of myself, I am a mere unwitting automaton, with no agency. The doctrine of sin says that I am responsible. I am free to choose. I am human. The tragedy is that, so often, I choose wrong. (37)
There is no situation in which we may ignore the fact that every person is an image-bearing person. No disease or disability lessens a person’s possession of the image of God. We can never reduce someone’s humanity to their utility—their usefulness to society. There are no exemptions, no asterisks, placed against the truth that man is made in God’s image and that this is where we derive our value. (42)
A gospel proclamation divorced from kingdom acts of mercy becomes an impoverished witness, a kind of fire insurance that doesn’t reflect Jesus’ radical, paradigm-shifting gospel of renewal. If we will not live out the kingdom, why would we expect anyone to listen to the news about its King? (55)
Those of us who live in the white-majority culture have the luxury of avoiding the injustices of the minority because those injustices do not wound us. Like the Levite, like the priest, we can train our eyes to look past the humanity of those crushed under the inhumanity of racism. (Perhaps it should not surprise us that in Jesus’ parable, it was a Samaritan—a member of a despised race—who saw the man and treated him with dignity.) (70)
God is present at the conception of every child. He is active in the creation of every child. No matter how small the human, God forms. God sees. God knows. (83)
Christians should resist the Darwinian idea that the flourishing of immigrants is an obstacle to our own flourishing. We should resist the temptation to diminish the dignity of immigrants. And we should not seek to protect our own living standards at the expense of their lives. (110)
If the kingdom of God is indeed good news for the poor, then Christians—particularly Christians who live in wealthy nations—have a moral responsibility to both give generously to help alleviate human suffering and to work hard to change systems that perpetuate poverty. Loving our neighbor as ourselves means seeking their flourishing. (140)
We are poor masters of our own fates. We are poor stewards of our own identities. We are poor objects of our worship. God is a better Father, a better Lord, a better King, a better God. (157)
The most important thing happening in the world is what happens when we gather together in community in worship of the risen Christ. Standing and declaring through song, through prayer, in the reading and preaching of the word—this holds the power to change communities and nations. When we gather, Jesus is there, in our midst. Platforms come and go. Political fortunes rise and fall. But the gospel will continue to move in the hearts of God’s people, as it has for two thousand years. (213)
Get this book. Read it with friends. Go and show the world what the Kingdom—and our King—is like.