Collin Hansen, Blind Spots: Becoming a Courageous, Compassionate, and Commissioned Church, (Wheaton:Crossway, 2015), pp. 128 $9.58 (Amazon)
I recently took a brief break from my Tim Keller/C.S. Lewis reading spree. My goal this year is to read as much Keller and Lewis as I possibly can. I have currently read six books from each author. I am moving next to Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters after finishing Keller’s The Prodigal God. During my short week long break, I was able to reread The Two Towers in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Collin Hansen’s newest book, Blind Spots.
Blind Spots is a short read (only 118 pages), but incredibly significant. As a proven author and successful editor with The Gospel Coalition and Christianity Today, Hansen knows how to spot good writing. But even more than that, Hansen is a gifted writer. With wit, humility, and conviction, he brings a work in Blind Spots that the 21st century Christian desperately needs in our evolving culture.
While I have radically been impacted by my reading of Keller and Lewis this year, Hansen convicted and challenged me in ways that remind me of Keller and Lewis with fresh practical relevance. Hansen’s work is a field guide for diversely gifted Christians to better understand where they are blind, so they will more accurately attack the real enemy, instead of bombarding their brothers and sisters.
I left this book realizing where I am woefully blind, seeing where I have tragically failed, and moving me to repent and ask forgiveness from those I have unnecessarily hurt with my blind blows. As Hansen so poetically says, “You find problems at the end of your pointed fingers and solutions in the mirror. In reality the finger pointed toward the mirror tells you where to search first for the problem” (26). I have pointed my blame shifting finger at many who are merely gifted differently from me. I have at times been an “only-issue” Christian, which is much more than a “single-issue” Christian. I have blasted those who were not as passionate about the issues that I am passionate about. In the process I have belittled God’s grace and glory in the diversity of his church and the gifts he bestows upon his children.
In my desire to impact the church and world for Christ, my blindness has caused me to do more harm than good. Hansen observes three kinds of particularly disposed Christians–courageous, compassionate, and commissioned. He outlines the strengths and weaknesses of each group. And in the process of showing the benefits and pitfalls of each tribe, he teaches us how to deal with our blind spots. Blind Spots is an example of convictional kindness and unified love for those who differ from us.
Many Christians struggle to define one another. One day scrolling through your Twitter feed will show you how hostile Christians can be to one another. Courageous Christians sound off on the theological “lightweights” who are expressing more compassion. Compassionate Christians denounce those courageous theologians as creedal professors who care more about winning an ideological debate than caring for the poor and outcast. Still yet, the commissioned Christians are content to find the best possible way to attract people to Jesus, which can attract disdain from other camps of Christians.
Blind Spots has opened my mind and eyes, and slowed my judgments. One paragraph in particular sums up the heart of the book well.
If the Spirit has gifted me with courage, then that same Spirit may have gifted you with compassion. Or perhaps he has gifted you with particular zeal to fulfill the Great Commission. I can’t look down on you for being different, nor can I envy you for having the gift I want. God has a plan to unify us in our diversity (106).
Unity in diversity. Now that is worth some pondering. That is the way of the kingdom. That is what we must strive for. Unity in diversity. This is the way we impact a world lost in moral confusion searching for truth in all the wrong places, and craving self-envisioned identities that again and again fail. The church will be a sanctuary for all such seeking when we carry out this original vision of unity in diversity. This was what Christ redeemed us to, and this is what the world will one day be–a paradise of diverse unity, with all blindness consumed in the light of the glory of Christ.
Hansen calls us to this end. He calls for a vision first championed by Jesus, and then carried out by the early church. If you find yourself battling other Christians often, especially over petty or secondary matters, Blind Spots is for you. I cannot commend this book enough to you. If you are allergic to repentance, steer clear of this book. But, if you have a desire to see Christ glorified in you and in the church, read this book and receive its message with humility. When you do, your eyes will be opened to the blind spots in your own life so you can better unite with those God has diversely and graciously gifted to accomplish his purposes in this world.
Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church in East Bernstadt, KY. He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God. Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their son, Jude Adoniram.