Many people would be surprised to hear that a playful attitude towards God and the world lies at the heart of Christian faith. Traditionally Christians have focused on the serious responsibilities of service, sacrifice, and commitment. But the prophets say that the future kingdom is full of people laughing and playing, which has implications for Christians who are called to live out the future kingdom in the present. Play is not trivial or secondary to work and service--only a playful way of living does justice to the seriousness of life! Play is the essential and ultimate form of relationship with God, which is why Jesus told people to learn from children. Indeed, a playful attitude is an important part of all significant relationships. This book explores grace, faith, love, worship, redemption, and the kingdom from the perspective of a playful attitude. It describes how to create a ""play ethic"" to match the ""work ethic"" and discusses play as a virtue, Aquinas's warning against the sin of not playing enough, and Bonhoeffer's claim that in a world of pain it is only the Christian who can truly play. ""In The God Who Plays, Brian Edgar presents a wonderful gift to God's overly serious people . . . The chapter headings are inviting, the writing clear and even playful. Brian clearly had fun writing this book. And the imaginative invitations to play with God, concluding each chapter, are irresistible. Enjoy."" --Gordon Preece, Director, Ethos: EA Centre for Christianity and Society ""Who would expect a theologically robust and illuminating argument for play as central to Christian life and theology? Brian Edgar provides this and more--an original, nuanced, and engaging book that challenges our assumptions and invites us to delight in, and to take seriously, the playful dimensions of spirituality, discipleship, relationships, and God's kingdom."" --Christine D. Pohl, Professor, Asbury Theological Seminary ""Play, it has been said, is the serious business of childhood and of heaven. What's more, as Brian Edgar convincingly shows, all things, such as work, spirituality, theology, worship, are meant to be infused with play. Indeed, play is rooted in the nature of God, in the perichoresis and playfulness of the Trinity. But not only is his book a profound theological reflection about play; above all, it is a joyful invitation to play and to join with The God who Plays."" --Stephen Seamands, Professor, Asbury Theological Seminary ""In this compelling book, Brian Edgar manages to lighten the spirit and lift the heart while offering profound stimulation for the Christian mind. All such ends, he argues, are proper to authentic theology, and are well summed up in the concept of 'play'. While hardly the most common focus of theological scholarship, Edgar expertly mines Scripture, ecclesial tradition, and saintly experience to demonstrate that play is, in fact, essential rather than peripheral to discipleship, worship, mission, and redemption."" --David Hilborn, Principal, St John's College, Bramcote, Nottingham Brian Edgar is Professor of Theological Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is married to Barbara, has two daughters, and lives in Australia while frequently travelling to the USA to teach. He is the author of God is Friendship: A Theology of Spirituality, Community and Society (2013) and The Message of the Trinity (2004). n
The God Who Plays was published by Cascade Books in December 2017. The ISBN for The God Who Plays is 9781532607639.