Our Good Crisis: Overcoming Moral Chaos with the Beatitudes, By Jonathan K. Dodson
Our Good Crisis
  • Length: 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 in
  • Published: March 17, 2020
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4600
  • ISBN: 9780830846009

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We live in an age of crisis.

Financial crisis, political crisis, environmental crisis—the list goes on. We're confronted with calamity every time we read the headlines. But behind each of these lurks another kind of crisis, one we find harder to define: a moral crisis—a crisis of goodness. Behind financial crisis is unrestrained greed; behind political crisis is the lust for power.

To properly address the crises that plague our world, we must be formed as people of moral goodness. We must cultivate virtue. But the cultural headwinds are strong: outrage and fragility, persecution and affluence, injustice and impurity.

In this wise and practical book, Pastor Jonathan Dodson takes us back to the Beatitudes, the centerpiece of Jesus' famous Sermon on the Mount. Dodson examines each of the Beatitudes in the context of the new morality that buffets our society today, presenting a compelling portrait of the truly good life, both personal and social.

Jesus' vision of the good is stunning: heaven meets earth, mercy triumphs over judgment, peace transcends outrage, grace upends self-righteousness. Here is an account, not of dos and don'ts, but of genuine moral flourishing.

"Pastor Jonathan Dodson poignantly unpacks the perennial truths of the greatest sermon of all time, revealing its ancient wisdom for our morally confused times. Replete with real-world examples, both historical and contemporary, this book offers a compelling countercultural solution to our moral crisis grounded in Jesus' upside-down kingdom."

Allen Yeh, associate professor of intercultural studies and missiology, Biola University

"Jonathan has written an important book for followers of Jesus in our divided and hostile culture. Brimming with theological insight, genuine hope, and a beautiful way forward for these confusing times, I believe this book will greatly improve our credibility as disciples in the world."

Jon Tyson, lead pastor at Church of the City New York, author of The Burden Is Light

"The Beatitudes can be intimidating to Christians, and more so the more we know what they mean. This book provides fresh and honest insight into the beauty and glory of these words of the kingdom. Whatever crisis you may face now or in the future, I pray this book will reframe for you what it means to be 'blessed.'"

Russell Moore, president, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

"I can't think of a more encouraging and challenging way to spend our time than to dwell on these famous words of Jesus. Jonathan Dodson will help you understand their revolutionary meaning and also apply Jesus' teaching for our cultural moment."

Collin Hansen, editorial director of The Gospel Coalition, author of Blind Spots: Becoming a Courageous, Compassionate, and Commissioned Church

"Our Good Crisis is a compass, drawing the reader back to our true north, to God himself. As we walk across the ever-changing landscape of our age, Dodson reminds us of the never-changing goodness of the Beatitudes. God in heaven is the source of virtue, of all that's good, of the very remedy needed for the crises we see in the world and in ourselves. This meditation on the Beatitudes will nourish your soul and exhort you to walk with Jesus, living out his kingdom here on earth, by the power of his Spirit."

Jen Oshman, author of Enough About Me: Find Lasting Joy in the Age of Self

"Our Good Crisis is exactly the kind of Christian book we need more of—one that examines the text of Scripture carefully while listening to the anxieties of our age with sympathy. By applying this approach to the Beatitudes, the opening lines of the Sermon on the Mount, Jonathan Dodson achieves something wonderful. He encourages believers to live faithfully amid our moral and technological complexities, and he helps doubters imagine what it would be like to take Christ's ancient wisdom seriously today."

John Dickson, author and historian, senior lecturer in public Christianity, Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia

"A keen look beneath the frenzied surface of our modern world to see what lurks there—how people think, both about themselves and their world. It is these attitudes that are here brought face-to-face with the truth of the Beatitudes. This book is direct and helpful."

David F. Wells, Distinguished Senior Research Professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

"Reflecting on secular and nonsecular thinkers, Jonathan does an amazing job of pointing us to the message that brings about true human flourishing. This book will challenge and encourage you to boldly live out your faith. This is a must read!"

Ivan Valdez, member at City Life Church, Austin

"It's easy enough to see the impending crises brought about by our technical, data-driven age; it's harder to believe that these difficulties present us with an opportunity for self-reflection, and yes, even spiritual growth. In Our Good Crisis, Jonathan K. Dodson guides us back to the ancient wisdom of the Sermon on the Mount, showing readers how the Beatitudes can lead us to blessing even in—especially in—the modern age. Confronting everything from our propensity to outrage to our fixation with self to our comfort addictions, Our Good Crisis reveals Jesus' words to be as good news to us today as they were to those who first heard them."

Hannah Anderson, author of All That's Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment

"We are in an age where the performance of the self is more important than the reality of the self, creating what Dodson calls a crisis of the good. Jesus' words, then, in Matthew 5 can feel alien to us—otherworldly. They demand that the inner self be the chief concern, rather than how the world sees us. Near the end of his book Jonathan Dodson writes, 'Each Beatitude inspires and challenges us at once.' That's true and it's also true of Dodson's book. Each chapter is both compelling and exposing."

John Starke, lead pastor of Apostles Church Uptown, New York City, and author of The Possibility of Prayer

Read an Excerpt


1. Flourishing in an Age of Crisis
2. Poor in Spirit in the Age of the Big Me
3. Mourning in an Age of Distraction
4. Meekness in an Age of Hubris
5. Righteousness in an Age of Values
6. Mercy in an Age of Tolerance
7. Purity in an Age of Self-Expression
8. Peacemaking in an Age of Outrage
9. Persecuted in an Age of Comfort


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Jonathan K. Dodson

Jonathan K. Dodson (MDiv, ThM) is the founding pastor of City Life Church in Austin, Texas, and founder of Gospel-Centered Discipleship. He is the author of several books, including The Unbelievable Gospel, Raised?, and Here in Spirit.