Are we more interested in keeping up with Jesus or “keeping up with the times?” That is just one of the provocative questions posed by Leonard Sweet in his book, Rings of Fire. Len joined Carmen for a conversation about the book and the realities Christians must learn to live into differently in the volcanic times.

Sweet shares in the book,

“I live on a small, horseshoe-shaped island called Orcas, which floats precariously on a 25,000-mile horseshoe-shaped arc of volcanoes. That connection of trenches, belts, plates, and subduction zones that encircle the Pacific basin is called the Ring of Fire. It boasts 75 to 80 percent of the world’s volcanoes (452 active and dormant). Of the twenty-five largest eruptions in the last 11,700 years, twenty-two are located here. Moving fault lines on the Ring of Fire generate earthquakes and eruptions multiple times a day. Most are too small to be felt or observed. But sometimes the earth rocks and blows. The volcano that erupted in Hawaii in 2018 created rivers of fire that, when they hit the ocean, provoked dangerous chemical reactions, including a steam cloud of “laze” filled with shards of glass and toxic chemicals. As if the lava, acid rain, volcanic smog, sulfur dioxide, lahar, caldera, explosions, eruption plumes, debris avalanches, and fissures weren’t enough, now Hawaii residents had to deal with the laze.”

He then acknowledges, “The world is now one global Ring of Fire.”

He says,

“Everyone is asking questions like ‘What is going on out there?’ ‘How in the world did that happen?’ ‘Why are we so polarized?’ These are global questions, symptoms of structural shifts in society that impact the whole world. We are living on the other side of a cultural tsunami.”

And, this is our day. How then shall we live?

“Rings of Fire” shows how a Christian can walk – by faith – in uncharted, newly formed, volcanic islands of opportunity. But it is a very different life and a very different walk then we’ve ever walked before. It is a walk fixed on the future and less upon the past.

Sweet says we must all be prophets now – in the spirit of the Men of Issachar. He calls “for the cultivation of semiotic awareness and a prophetic role for all disciples wherein the prophetic is walked out in pragmatism.

Walking by faith in tumultuous times