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The Colors of Hope: Becoming People of Mercy, Justice, and Love Paperback – May 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

It's time for a fresh vision of the Christian life as a creative adventure.

The Christian life should be guided by the intentional goal of blessing the lives of the friends, loved ones, and strangers in our midst. We are called to impact a culture that is overwhelmingly preoccupied with personal peace, prosperity, protection, and survival. Christians should be artists who paint with the colors of hope in a broken world, embodying Christ's redemptive presence in our personal lives, our work, and our relationships.

This inspiring and practical book offers tools for living out this vision in daily life, with special attention given to the challenges we face in staying focused on the mission of imparting hope to others even while dealing with our own personal issues. Anyone who wishes to have an impact on the world will cherish this unique book.

"Richard Dahlstrom brings a welcome call to a biblical faith that takes us beyond ourselves and the polarized debates in our society."--Tom Sine, author, The New Conspirators: Creating the Future One Mustard Seed at a Time

"Passionately, deftly, Dahlstrom urges us to embrace our calling as artisans of hope. This is the soothing voice and the relevant message that this noisy, weary world needs."--Karen Spears Zacharias, author, Will Jesus Buy Me a Double-Wide? 'Cause I Need More Room for My Plasma TV

"Dahlstrom reminds us that cynicism and hopelessness are not going to change the world. But neither will nebulous idealism. We have to become people of mercy, justice, and love. In short, we have to be 'artisans of hope.'"--Eugene Cho, pastor and founder, One Day's Wages

"Richard Dahlstrom, one of the brightest and best communicators Christianity has to offer right now, calls us out into fulfilling our role as creators--artists sent to splash the world with meaningful, gorgeous color."--Jordan Green, director, Burnside Writers Collective

Richard Dahlstrom is senior pastor of Bethany Community Church in Seattle, Washington; Bible college teacher with Torchbearers Missionary Fellowship; and a speaker at conferences throughout North America. His first book, O2: Breathing New Life into Faith, was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best Christian books of 2008. You can find more of his work at richarddahlstrom.com.

About the Author

Richard Dahlstrom is pastor of Bethany Community Church in Seattle, Washington, and is a conference and Bible college speaker. He is also the author of O2: Breathing New Life into Faith, which was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best Christian books of 2008.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (May 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801013569
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801013560
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #756,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

As Pastor of Bethany Community Church in Seattle, Richard teaches with vision of "making the invisible God visible" by calling people to acts of service and blessing. It's working, as a wilderness ministry, homeless shelter, and community meals that serve those living on the margins are all pieces of Bethany's life. "We're being the presence of Christ" he says, "and inviting everyone to join the adventure." Many have, making Bethany one of the fastest growing churches in America in 2009 according to Outreach Magazine.

As International Bible Teacher with Torchbearers Fellowship, Richard is passionate about helping people live their lives fully, as the beautiful adventure it's intended to be. He teaches in Europe, North American, Central America, and Asia, pouring his life into students from dozens of nations.

His first book "o2: Breathing New Life into Faith", is a study in the classic spiritual disciplines which enable vibrancy, health, and the capacity to live with grace and beauty. It was selected by Publisher's Weekly as one of the 10 best religious books of 2008. His next book, due for publication in 2011, will invite readers to awaken to their calling as "artisans of hope", uniquely endowed to bless the world by offering splashes of color in the midst of so much that is grey.

In the early hours of the morning, you'll find Richard having 'coffee with God', either outside amidst the fir trees, or in his home office, which contains a climbing wall. In the off hours, you'll mostly find him climbing, skiing, reading, or writing, either alone or with his wife.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The Colors of Hope is a manifesto that invites Christ followers to reclaim its mandate to be agents of redemption through our relationships, work, and hobbies. Richard's pastoral eye provides him with a unique vantage point that sets his book apart from the rest literature on Christian living. Here's three things I caught my eye in "Colors" that made me pause, think, and reconsider my perspective:

Those who wish to paint with hope must be observant. Dahlstrom writes about his friendship with a master painter and art teacher. One of the first tasks the painter needed to accomplish with her students was teaching them to see the detail of their subjects. It wasn't enough to notice a shadow, the students needed to see the rich gradient of shades that made up the shadow. In the same way, we need to be sure that we're actually seeing people as God sees them. Richard offered practical and wise ways to notice how we label, judge, and categorize others. For me, the book provided me with a fresh challenge to see and enjoy people for who they are.

You cannot be an effective "artisan of hope" without a strong theology of suffering. So much of what passes for books on missional living reads like the transcript of a Tony Robbins seminar. Lot's of "Rah, Rah" but light on realism. Richard acknowledges that one of the challenges of painting with hope is that life is difficult and challenges our own belief in the hope we aspire to depict. Dahlstrom writes:

"Apparently the deeper colors of pain and deprivation can spill onto the canvas of the faithful as easily as the colors of peace and contentment.
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I am going to take a break from my normal (less then serious) reviews to acknowledge The Colors of Hope.

If you are looking for a book that captures the spirit and essence of a healthy, authentic, missional and joy-filled Christian life, you have found it.

The book's continuous theme is that of an artist creating a unique expression on a canvas...the canvas is the life you have been given and Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly are the primary colors used to make create a masterpiece. What results from this art is beauty, adventure, truth, meaning and hope.

In a Christian culture unbalanced by music, preaching and (afterlife only) evangelism...this book offers a refreshing reminder that God's Kingdom is near...it is now and it is full of color!

This is not an overly scholarly debate of Micah 6:8, instead the book follows a (biblical) model of story telling to convey its premises'... using real life narratives to underscore the message. Richard's deep knowledge of scripture and its themes, and his open recounting of his own story keep the book authentic, applicable and sharp. I found the section on Justice to be particularly powerful.

I have already given this book as a gift and wholeheartedly recommend it to both those who have a faith in Christ and those who are seeking truth. The Colors of Hope is very approachable but firm in its conclusion that we are made in God's (creative) image and are loved infinitely and are therefore able to be a blessing to others.

Looking forward to more from Richard Dahlstrom!!!
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Format: Paperback
If you are content and happy with where you are in your journey of faith, and if you prefer that your happy little boat not be rocked, steer clear of this book. For some reason, God has decided to give Richard Dahlstrom a remarkable life, or at least a deeper-than-usual sensitivity to the remarkable aspects of a normal life, characterized by full-frontal confrontations with what the apostle James referred to as "faith without deeds."

For years, like many of us who have been Christians for most of our lives, Richard was marching along happily in God's army, about the business of saving sinners, when he discovered the things that seem to matter most to God (judging by the attention they are given in scripture), and how the things God seems to prioritize are often not the same things his followers prioritize, if you consider how we spend our time, money, and words.

Using the analogy of art - specifically, visual art - Richard explores what the Lord wants from his people, according to Micah 6:8 (incidentally, a governing passage in my life). Referring to these as the "primary colors," he explores what it looks like to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

With a refreshing sense of his own fallibility coupled with a zeal for sucking every last bit of watermelon off the rind of life, Richard strikes me as a middle-aged man who never quite got the memo that he's reaching the age where he should start slowing down and letting the next generation pick up the slack. Far from it, as I learned on Easter Sunday. Richard is too busy building wells in Africa, teaching theology classes in India (and many other places), and challenging his flock at Bethany to live remarkable lives for the sake of setting the captives amongst us free.
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