A Better Freedom
When Michael Card first started attending an African American church, he was struck by how the congregation worshiped Jesus as "Master." He soon learned that during slavery, calling Jesus "Master" was a subtle way of saying that their earthly masters were not their true Master. This insight led Card on a journey of discovery, as he wondered, "What did it mean for African American slaves to acknowledge Jesus as Master? What did Paul, Peter, Jude and James mean when they acknowledged themselves as Christ's slaves? What would it mean for you and me to take upon ourselves the title 'slave of Christ'?"
A Better Freedom explores the biblical imagery of slavery as a metaphor for Christian discipleship. Michael Card shows how the early church saw Greco-Roman slavery as a window into understanding Jesus both as the Savior who took on the form of a slave, but also the true Lord and Master who sets us free from our own slavery to sin.
Come, let yourself be captured by the Master. And discover how you can be truly set free.
"When I read any book by Michael Card, I know the ideas have been thoroughly wrested, personally, academically, biblically and poetically from every source. Like many of the contextual references in the Bible, slavery can be difficult for me to understand as having anything to do with my Christianity. But for Paul it was the metaphor of choice to describe his new freedom. A Better Freedom explores this kingdom mystery of what it means to be truly free."
"I am thrilled that Michael Card has taken on the challenge of writing about the slave-master relationship as it relates to us (Christians) as slaves and Christ our Master. Historically from the African American perspective, being slaves has had a negative connotation. Michael's book deals with that, but at the same time points us to a biblical reality: if we saw ourselves as slaves to Christ our Master, how much more we could do as members of his body! What a wonderful body of Christ we would be if each of us saw Christ as our Master. It is time to trade in our old paradigms and accept the wonderful reality that we are all slaves to Christ and he is our Master! All those who read Michael's book will be challenged to rethink who we are in Christ!"
"This is an unusual, rigorous but conversational Bible study tuned to a vivid presentation of Roman and African American slavery. Its storybook character, under Michael Card's genial historical insight and gentle spirit, issues a compelling picture of our calling to be faithful slaves today of the merciful Master, Jesus Christ."
"This is Mike Card at his best. Through his prophetic voice as an artist he has once again done a great service. In a world filled with confining, imprisoning self-indulgence, Card recaptures and challenges us to hear the biblical word for servant as it should be. To be a servant is to be Christ's slave. It is simple and complex—easy to say, profound to follow. It, the gospel, is a better freedom."
"Michael's impression on my life came early and has lasted long. I commend his words, faith, joy and wisdom."
"Michael Card is both a wonderful artist and a serious scholar. Such a marriage of two souls with one pen in his delicate but honest hand is glorious. Every sentence in A Better Freedom is a learning experience and an act of worship. At the end of every paragraph one runs into an altar and a gallery. Christ is both honored and reverenced. I read and reflected, I contemplated my own freedom, and realized that only when I pursue spiritual submission do I secure my place in God's affirmation. 'Well done, thou good and perfect slave' is the sign posted above the shortest way to glory."
"Personal illustrations make this book understandable, and thorough research gives it a solid foundation. This book challenges mature Christians in their walks with God, while teaching truths young Christians can understand."
"Again Michael Card has brought us a book rich in nuggets of Christian thought. It is full of ideas for meditation."
I. Introduction: Beginning a Journey
1. "My Master"
2. A Better Freedom
3. One Word, Three Worlds
Part II: Becoming Slaves of Christ
4. "I, Paul, a Slave of Christ"
5. My Son, Onesimus
6. Eye-Slaves and People-Pleasers
7. Your Father's Name
8. "Don't Worry About It"
9. Freed From and Freed To
Part III. Encountering Christ the Slave
10. Christ the Slave
11. Slaves Who Waited for the Way
12. Parables of Slavery
13. The Servant Savior
14. The Death of a Slave
15. Breakfast With a Wounded Slave
16. "Capture Me, for I Am Fleeing"
Coda by Sara Groves
Appendix A: Comparison of the Three Worlds of Slavery
Appendix B: A Lexicon of Slavery
Appendix C: A Letter Written on Behalf of a Runaway Slave
Appendix D: A List of Possible Slave Names in the New Testament
Appendix E: The Facts of Modern Slavery
About the Author