Book review: Beloved Dust
Published on May 24, 2016
Beloved Dust: Drawing Close to God by Discovering the Truth About Yourself
by Jamin Goggin & Kyle Strobel (October 2014)
This book, Beloved Dust, was gifted to me at the end of last year but it took me a while to get around to reading it. I didn’t want to sit and read yet another book that told me what I should be doing that I am not and how to do what I am doing even better. However, knowing that the person who gave it to me usually suggests great books I decided to give it a go and carve out some space to read it. And, I was not disappointed. This book is not about giving a list of how-to’s but about who you are. It speaks not of doing but about being.
The authors, Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel are co-founders of Metamorpha Ministries. Jamin is pastor of spiritual formation and retreats at Saddleback Church and Kyle is assistant professor of spiritual theology and formation at Talbot School of Theology. With this expertise, the book is not soft on it’s theological foundations yet it is written in a straightforward way, which does not require a theology degree to understand.
Goggin and Strobel present the case that a significant issue with Christian life is that “humanity exchanged being with God for talking about him, as if he was not actually present”; that we have forgotten how to walk with him in the garden. Over 9 chapters Beloved Dust takes the reader on a journey encouraging you “to walk through the truth of yourself and the truth of God to embrace a deeper calling – the call to be holy… partaking in God’s life and being caught up in the love of God”. The book is rich in Biblical content and depth as the authors weave together Scripture, personal anecdotes, imagery and interpretation resulting in a smooth flowing text, which beckons you to read further, while also causing your heart and mind to linger a little on what you have read. I found that it was impossible to read this book without drawing nearer to God. While I started reading as a duty, it became a time of prayer and communion with my Father. Which, I guess in itself sees (at least in part) the fulfilment of the purpose of the book. This is a book about prayer; about living a life of honest, open, continual communion with God our Father.
The use of the imagery of “dust” lends itself to be both poetic and also confronting. While the truth that we are creatures made from dust calls us to humility, the authors suggest that it is from this place of humility that we can draw near to God, knowing that we are nothing without Him. Our brokenness living in a dusty world sees redemption as the Genesis declaration of “’to dust you shall return’ is now a victory cry of those who have died and been raised with the Son of God… Christ became dust and has redeemed us from the oppressive cycle of death that looms inevitably on the horizon”. Through Christ the door is open for us to return to the place of relationship with God as it was intended at creation. Through Christ we can once more enjoy living in God’s presence, following his example of prayer and reliance on the Father.
Beloved Dust reminds us that we are just that “Beloved Dust”; in all its simpleness and messiness yet profound wonderfulness. It would be a great book to read for believers who are hungry for a deeper, more real relationship with God.
Tamara Pilgrim is currently serving Girls Brigade Australia as a State Chaplain and works as Ministry and Operations Assistant for Rockingham Salvation Army. Tam loves pursuing the dream of seeing individuals and communities being transformed through Christ.