To most people living in today's world, the Ten Commandments represent archaic rules dictated by a taskmaster God, meant for a society long gone. Many see them as irrelevant, even unattainable, today. But what if we're not that different from those who gathered around Moses as he handed down God's Ten Words to his people? What if they were never meant to be a set of rules, but instead a promise of a covenant relationship?
In Ten, Sean Gladding invites you into the story of John, a pastor who spends his mornings in a local coffee shop, as he engages the viewpoints of regular people who wonder at the relevance and meaning of those Ten Words today. Sit in on their lively, heart-felt conversations as they tackle each Word over a cup of coffee and realize the hope of God's promises to his chosen people—yesterday, today and forever.
"Integrity is a lost art form—or better still, it is a lost life guide. Maybe biblical integrity is as much about loving our culture, world and neighbor as it is about personal holiness. Sean Gladding has taken his love for God and love of the other and invited each of us into a deeper spiritual devotion through the pages of Ten."
"Gladding brilliantly exposes how fragile we are in the face of cultural, political, psychological and spiritual forces that militate against our freedom and set us back on our journey toward becoming fully human. This creative and timely work upends the myth that the Ten Commandments are onerously restrictive, and reveals what God intended the Law to be—a pathway to the joy that is our birthright."
"Ten is a book for people interested in finding a better way to live. I love the Ten Words and this fresh look at the ancient biblical text of the Ten Commandments. But mostly, I love Sean's perspective. It reminds me of something I tend to forget: Whether we worship in a meeting room with a Big Book or in a congregation that studies the Bible, we humans are more alike than we are different. We are at our best when we are encouraging one another to live well. I give it a ten."
"Sean Gladding has done it again. In this immensely readable book, the goodness of God and the relevance of Scripture shine through. Sean draws us into a community of honest conversation by masterfully weaving together believable characters, biblical stories, theology and cultural reflection. As the story of Pastor John's Monday-morning coffee-shop group unfolds, the reader is helped to see that the Ten Commandments are an invitation to live in true freedom. I hope this book will be read and discussed widely, both inside and outside the church."
"Sean Gladding reveals to us a grand biblical narrative refracted through ordinary people's stories. Like light reflected in broken shards of glass, the purity of God's vision for a peaceful, generous, restful, faithful world is described through the struggles and anxieties of everyday folk. You've never heard the Ten Commandments taught quite like this."
"I have read Ten with great interest. Two things in particular struck me. First the way Sean shows how the 'rules' are in the service of a relationship. And second, the way Sean weaves the commandments into real life situations with real people. The latter is a special pastoral gift."
"This is a book I'd be confident in suggesting to the wide variety of folks I serve. In fact, I'm fairly certain that Gladding didn't have clergy in mind as the primary audience for this book. It would serve well as a book to be shared by adults or older teens. Though one would need to figure out how to schedule each chapter, reading and reflecting on this test would make for an interesting Lenten discipline. I am grateful to Gladding for the book, and commend it wholeheartedly."
"Ten is worthwhile reading for anyone, but especially intriguing for a couples group, or either a high school or college-age group study. Gladding helps us see these 'Words of Life' as far more than 'rules' eclipsed and made void on the cross. Candid. Incisive. Interesting. Valuable."
"Sit in on this lively, heartfelt and heart-rending conversation about the Ten Words of God - those commandment etched in so much stone, causing so much turmoil and yet inviting us into a world we dream about, a life we had given up believing is possible."
Introduction: The Ten Commandments - Who Cares?
1 From Envy to Contentment: The Tenth Word
2 From Deception to Truth Telling: The Ninth Word
3 From Theft to Generosity: The Eighth Word
4 From Betrayal to Fidelity: The Seventh Word
5 From Violence to Peace: The Sixth Word
6 From Obligation to Respect: The Fifth Word
7 From Striving to Rest: The Fourth Word
8 From Blasphemy to Reverence: The Third Word
9 From Idolatry to Worship: The Second Word
10 God: The First Word
About the Author