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This Beautiful Mess: Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom of God
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This Beautiful Mess: Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom of God

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  634 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
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When Jesus announced, “the kingdom of God is at hand,” what did He mean? Uncover the reality of the kingdom of God and what it might look like if followers of Christ practiced its in-breaking presence. What happens when we view life through the lens of the kingdom? How does the beauty of Jesus’ reign break into the mess of our broken lives and world? What i
Paperback, 188 pages
Published September 30th 2006 by Multnomah Books (first published February 17th 2005)
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John Walker
Sep 28, 2013 John Walker rated it really liked it
I've lived in Portland all of my life. It's one of the most progressive cities in the US--a sort of European colony tossed in the middle of the Pacific Northwest.

As is the case with Europe, Portland is a proudly post-Christian society. Cheerfully deemed, "The place where churches go to die". Or, if you prefer something less morbid, "the church graveyard". Clearly, Christianity does not fair well here.

Yet, it is from this context that Rick McKinley writes an incredibly hopeful little book: This
Mar 14, 2008 Dean rated it really liked it
Every Christian needs to read this book, not because it's so revolutionary (although it is), but because it's so easy to read and understand. Every Christian needs to read this book because every Christian needs to understand in plain, simple language that the "kingdom of heaven" is not a divine blessing on the American church! Period. End of discussion. Nothing else to talk about. Done.

I read this book and marveled at how what an amazing grasp of the obvious message of the gospels it portrayed.
Jun 18, 2007 Steven rated it really liked it
I know you've done it, I've done it, and we have all done it. You've been driving on you way to work, sometimes eating on a hamburger or sub sandwich, when suddenly you pass by a extremely tan, ashy-skinned homeless man sitting patiently on an overstuffed backpack with his wrinkled thumb sticking up. As you pass by, you keep your head straight on the road, never looking directly at him, acting as if you don't see him there. Further on down the road you feel sorry for the man, and think of the wa ...more
Oct 08, 2013 Virginia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Beautiful Mess, Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom of God by Rick McKinley is a very timely book. It is a lot like Radical by David Platt, God’s At War by Kyle Idleman. All excellent books.

How do we practice the presence of the kingdom of God? Can we truly practice and experience this presence?

Mr. McKinley maintains it is possible. But it will take a radical type of obedience and view of the kingdom.

What happens when we view our lives (and ourselves!) through the lens of God’s kingdom?
Jun 01, 2012 Ryan rated it really liked it
What is the Kingdom of God? What does it mean to live in it? Jesus spent a lot of time talking about it, but we don't often today. The Kingdom of God is not about some earthly empire infused with elements of Christendom, and it's not simply another place we are whisked off to when we die. The Kingdom is both now and not yet, and it's available to us. It's subversive, radical, earthy and mysterious--and much, much more. Jesus describes it as a mustard seed, a treasure in a field, a pearl, etc. An ...more
Nikole Hahn
Aug 31, 2013 Nikole Hahn rated it liked it
This Beautiful Mess by Rick McKinley mixes art with his purpose of changing our thinking from living as we wait for the Kingdom to living in the Kingdom. However, I left this book with mixed feelings.

The book begins very slowly. I put it down several times because I expected more meat, less dessert. It reads like many of the blogs I read online—beautiful, poetic, and Rick McKinley is quite a writer. The book is separated into parts. Some of the chapters include excerpts or what looks like poetry
BONDing over BOOKS
Apr 24, 2014 BONDing over BOOKS rated it really liked it
Have you ever asked yourself where is God in your life? Have you had that conversation while you sat in the pew on a Sunday or watched your favorite televangelist? In your search for the answer to this and many other questions, you may accidentally stumble on several resources.

The key is to ask questions, seek, understand and learn from those answers. THIS BEAUTIFUL MESS - Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom of God by Rick Mckinley is a book with questions and answers. It is a book about awar
Stacie Wyatt
May 03, 2014 Stacie Wyatt rated it it was amazing
I read This Beautiful Mess: Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom of God in exchange for honest review from Blogging for Books.

The book discusses looking at our lives through the kingdom of God. Jesus has a vision for the church (his followers), but his followers did not immediately follow the vision (p. 1).

McKinley discusses on Page 27, how the Jews were expecting a king to save them from oppression and bring freedom. Yet, Jesus came as a baby to a virgin. He did not start his ministry right
Jason Isaacs
Everything is upside down in Jesus’ economy. He began His Kingdom and today He is restoring all things. He does so in His time, His ways, and usually through our brokenness. The last will be first; the meek will inherit the earth; God’s strength is seen most clearly through our weakness. A holy God pursues us in love, and He chooses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. As Rick McKinley describes “The story I see is of a God who created a universe through and for His Son, Jesus, and ...more
Jul 18, 2013 Zach rated it it was amazing
This Beautiful Mess by Rick McKinley looks at the tension between the Kingdom of God being present and active yet also being futuristic. It is, as the book title says, a beautiful mess. There is beauty in creation that God has created and that we are called to engage with as the Kingdom is seen all through nature. There is beauty in relationships as people cultivate a genuine love for each other. There is beauty in meeting people where their needs are, and when people willing sacrifice their tal ...more
Cameron Rebarchek
Oct 25, 2013 Cameron Rebarchek rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-life
I honestly had never heard of this book before, and, apparently, this was the updated and revised edition. I know they say not to judge a book by its cover, but I’m guilty. Looking at this cover, I was intrigued. The book is an incredibly fun and easy read. McKinley’s poetic writing makes the heavy question, “What is the Kingdom of God?” manageable. The book itself is divided into three parts (Discovering the Kingdom, Re-Visioning Life in the Kingdom, and Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom) ...more
Mar 22, 2009 Katie rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Gave me lots of things to think about, and ideally (if it were not a library book) I would read it over again slowly to take in some of those ideas a little more. Others have said it is too short but for me, if anything, it was just a tad longer than it should have been--the part at the end about the environment seemed kind of forced and tacked-on, like someone mentioned to McKinley that "green is in" so he'd better address that topic too. It is best read as a meditat ...more
Angela Barthauer
Oct 06, 2013 Angela Barthauer rated it it was amazing
Rick McKinley's This Beautiful Mess is just the book I didn't know I was looking for. What does a life of Kingdom living look like as lived out daily in our personal journey and with other believers? McKinley gives profound insight not only into how to live out a Kingdom-focused life, but raises some reasons as to why we have fallen short and are content to repeatedly do so.

Jesus said, 'Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.' He invited His followers to not just dream of the eternal hereafter
Beyond the Pages
Nov 19, 2013 Beyond the Pages rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Beautiful Mess by Rick McKinley is a noteworthy read. It is simple, clear and direct in its communication of how to practice the presence of the kingdom of God.

What attracted me to this book, in all frankness, was first and foremost the title. The words drew me. I could immediately relate to the strange wording. It made me think about the peculiar stance that one must take in the disordered (or possibly ordered) chaos that goes along with living in the world, while striving not to be a part
Liz Terek
Aug 05, 2013 Liz Terek rated it it was amazing

Beautiful Mess sounds like an oxymoron. Rick McKinley walks us through Jesus’ explanations of the Kingdom of God & how He starts with our messes & ends with beauty.
As we revisit specific Scriptures such as the Beatitudes, we begin to see that Jesus’ view of the Kingdom & religion’s view don’t always mesh. Seek solace in remembering that Jesus never expects us to be perfect. Thankfully, much time is spent explaining ‘The Kingdom of God’ in great detail.
One particularly powerful por
Deena Shoemaker
I’m just going to be upfront about this; this book did nothing for me. I wanted so much to say it did, but it didn't.

And now that I've just rained all over everyone’s parade;
The book was basic. It gave me nothing new, no fresh vision of an old truth, no “AHA!” moment. It felt more like I was listening to a professor review for a test on information I’d already heard a hundred times and studied all night.

That’s not to say the book is useless or unhelpful, because it very much could be useful an
Aug 20, 2013 christianchicklit rated it liked it
The Kingdom of God is not just experienced in heaven (as many believe), His kingdom is the way things really are….and it’s already happening all around us. We live in His Kingdom, and the book makes the valid point that many of us do not live like it is His Kingdom. We live as if Jesus is our Savior but not as our King, a very important distinction. I love this quote from McKinley “When I became a Christ follower, the sad truth is that I transferred Christ into my kingdom, into the context of my ...more
Oct 03, 2013 Richard rated it it was amazing
As a re-release, this book ties in with the new artistic way of talking about faith.

Rick McKinley is the founding pastor of Imago Dei - the church Donald Miller made famous. McKinley lays out his cards on explaining the Kingdom of God and how to put the kingdom into practice.

This book reads like a Miller book as well as works by other postmodern Christians. It's divided into three parts; part one is discovering the kingdom which talks about how Jesus referred to the kingdom and altering how we,
Henk-Jan van der Klis
Jul 30, 2013 Henk-Jan van der Klis rated it really liked it
Oregon Imago Dei church pastor Rick McKinley lets you rediscover the nature of the Kingdom of God. Sharp as a razor blade as he pinpoints weaknesses in our western version of institutionalized Christianity. Unable to share our faith with neighbors, reluctant to devote our money to kingdom matters (which actually isn’t your local church building or programs), stuck in one of two camps, either concentrating on personal salvation or doing good. The Kingdom of God is near you, already visible in the ...more
Nov 28, 2015 Annika rated it it was amazing
For the sake of honesty, I must admit that I might be slightly biased in my love of this book since it comes from a pastor in Portland and I love and am encouraged by the impact his church has had so close to my home. Many of the other authors I read this year, especially Bell, Wright, and Wytsma, wrote about how Christians should be living and working with God to bring the Kingdom to earth, to participate in the already/not yet Kingdom. This book could be described as an account of how one chur ...more
Aug 10, 2013 Teela rated it it was amazing
Rick McKinley's book, This Beautiful Mess, is a book that addresses practicing the Kingdom of God right now. After reading how McKinley and his church Imago Deo Community got very honest before God, and said yes to Jesus's invitation to repent, and then to see what God did next really got me excited . McKinley really brought this point about living in the kingdom home when he told the story about the guy on the airplane, that was sitting next to a man in a fluffy robe, who after dialoguing with ...more
K. Osborn
Aug 29, 2013 K. Osborn rated it really liked it
Is it okay to admit when a book is over your head and the concepts were a bit too...theological?

While I was excited to read about author Rick McKinley's concepts of the Kingdom of God being "already" being present, but "not yet"...I realized that even that quote confused me a bit.

The reader is invited to explore the possibility that we already live in the kingdom and that the idea that we, as sinners, are continuously working to get there is defunct. In saying that, our role here on Earth become
Feb 17, 2010 Jeremy rated it liked it
Shelves: christian-life
This is a great big picture account of the theology and practical implications of the kingdom of God. At times it feels a bit like the author is being a bit condescending, as he makes wholesale disparaging comments about theologians, christian authors, and others while saying "This is what I've figured out, hopefully you can get it too".

That being said, I think this is a very accessible book for the young Christian and can be a great catalyst to a greater understanding of what the Church is tru
Stephanie Ziegler
I am giving this book a neutral review rating. This author is another theologian who is giving his version of what the kingdom of God means in relation to the present time. I am not agreeing or disagreeing with what the author is saying, but I have heard it all before.

As for the writing, I got lost as he jumped from one metaphor to another just to get a simple point across. And what is with the random poems at the end of the chapters? Another why to confuse the reader into believing the author'
Feb 09, 2015 Jeremy rated it it was amazing
This book may be one of the best expressions of the journey Kristina and I have been on over the last few years...discovering what it really means to live in the Kingdom of God today! However, Rick's words did not just bring clarity to what we have been working through, it also encouraged and challenged me to continually be looking for practical ways to demonstrate God's love today and not to just "close the curtains" and hide until the day of the Lord's return.

This book is a definite recommenda
Feb 26, 2011 Eric rated it liked it
What if Jesus said "repent" in a completely different way? For example, imagine that He is looking you in the eye right now and speaks the word.
"Repent," He says. He is smiling, confident.
His eyes tell you that He knows you well. His tone of voice hints that one day you'll see that repenting was the best choice you ever made. His body language exudes so much positive energy that you get the sense He might have come halfway around the world just to tell you the news - "Repent."

From This
Didn't form a cohesive message from chapter to chapter, and the times I didn't want him to talk about what his church was doing he did, and the times I was curious as to how they carried something out he didn't mention it. What I will most take with me is the idea of collaborating your neighbors to share an item like a lawn mower to facilitate community on your street and by using the money saved for a service project.
May 03, 2010 Curtis rated it it was amazing
This book is all about the Kingdom of God, which I am growing to love more and more every day. This book is full of beautiful things, but also hard things to read… especially if you apply them to your life. Don’t read this book to just read it, but let it impact the way you see the world. Take some time to read through it, soak it in, let your life be transformed by the Kingdom of God. Highly recommended, top 5 in my list.
Jan 20, 2009 Juan rated it liked it
Pastor Rick presents some really fresh and powerful thoughts on
the kingdom of God. It makes you really admire what his church, Imago Dei, is doing in and around their community. That being said, i did notice(being the grammar nerd that i am) several typos and sometimes sub par writing. In a few chapters, the writing is both illuminating and poignant but in others not so much. All in all it is a decent read.
Mar 06, 2007 Mike rated it liked it
The author happens to be Donald Miller's pastor, and he writes about how the inbreaking of the kingdom of God is like a beautiful mess. There are very good stories that help folks understand what God's kingdom can look like here and now, but I think it is too easy of a book to read that people may not meditate on the truths that the stories convey. But a decent book, and worth my time. I've read it probably 1.5 times through already.
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