Reviews - What do customers think about Beyond Identity: Finding Yourself in the Image and Character of God?
Freedom in finding your identity Mar 2, 2006
Having read the other reviews, I felt compelled to respond. I spent some time with Dick Keyes at the L'Bri House in Worchester, MA in the 80s. The book had not yet been published, but the thoughts were there, and I was able to listen to his lectures/teachings on this series and then interact with him along with the other students there, over tea or after a meal around the dinner table.
These were precious times, and I am sure he would invite any reading his book to continue the discussion...
I was most impressed with his treatment of Colossians, and our identity in Christ. I had/have a tendency to beat myself up b/c of my shortcomings and sin (past and present). His commentary on our identity was liberating for me, realizing that I indeed could never earn God's favor, and that He was not in fact asking me to try.
If you find yourself being pulled toward legalism, and yet you feel more like the tax-gatherer in Luke 18.9-14, than the Pharisee who was "praying to himself," then this book will be of benefit to you.
Yes, it does have a tendency to be more theoretical than practical, but I sense that that has more to do with the personality of the writer than his degree, or lack thereof, of wisdom. The assumption is that the application will be made after careful contemplation, as was the case with me...
Have your identity examined Jan 31, 2005
We live in a world filled with people hoping, to a greater or lesser extent, to "discover themselves". The great majority are unsuccessful in this quest, stooping to identity models that lay far below what is proper for humans and failing to include the existence and activity of God. Keyes addresses this quest for identity, and after presenting a survey of inadequate identity models, turns to the nature of personal identity formed by Christ's redemption for an extended look.
Keyes' thesis is that life in Christ, lived in the restorative environment of His redemption, is the milieu in which one can find an enduring and satisfying identity. Beyond Identity does an effective job of sketching just how this redeemed identity looks, and how it far outshines the feeble alternatives. The book is divided broadly into three parts: an exploration of the identity problem-of how a "human being needs to feel that he exists in terms of something", then a brief examination of non-Christian (and insufficient) appropriations of identity, and finally, in what constitutes the bulk of the book, a depiction of human identity as part of Christian existence.
Keyes' reasoning is explicitly and unapologetically Christian from the outset, courteous toward other viewpoints, but in no way ambitious to proselytize his hearers as he goes, or even keep them alongside the reasoning. This approach proves quite refreshing: he is able to distill his propositions and enjoy freedom in saying what he wants. Unbelievers are welcome to come along for the ride, but the book is directed to Christians, and so proves most useful to them.
Regarding non-Christian models for describing one's identity, Keyes includes all that we see around us in friends and neighbors: I am what I own, I am who likes me, I am my work, I am my heroes, and so on. This section proves a satisfying read, Keyes depictions are accurate, and these models show themselves as hopelessly inadequate and impoverished under his scrutiny. They fail to acknowledge man's fall from God, and can thereby never hope to address what is really missing from the broken identity: God's approval and satisfaction.
Since a sturdy identity model can only arise from man's creator, the key to restoration and a right self-view is to conform one's understanding to what God declares is true of all who trust in Christ. One therefore "finds oneself" by turning to Christ and joining yourself to Him.
The weakness in Beyond Identity is simply that it runs too long. Keyes excellent reflection runs the first 130 pages or so and nicely establishes his thesis, readying the reader for a similarly thoughtful remedy. But he proceeds thereafter into a disappointing set of "oughts" and "shoulds", describing our obligation to resist anger, to repair our marriages, to be reconciled to difficult people, and so on. These are all fine goals, but the Christian's practical dilemma (and spiritual conflict) is always the same: how do I accomplish this ethical goal through my worship for Christ? The difficulty is not what should I do, but how can I do it? Successful moral reform can only arise from the worship that springs from union with Christ, which union is grasped by faith.
Beyond Identity Jan 14, 2004
I agree that Dick Keyes may be one of the wisest men on earth. But what does that say really? If your definition of wise includes having any common sense, then this book is not for you. Wise is as wise does and who wants to be wise anyways? How did this guy get where he is??? Blah, Blah, Blah. This book is all talk, no walk.
Deep waters May 30, 2001
Dick Keyes (pronounced Kai's) was one of several guest speakers at a conference I attended outside of Vancouver in the summer of 2000. After attending each speaker's initial lecture I was convinced that Dick Keyes was the wisest man on earth. Now that I've finished reading his book, Beyond Identity, I am convinced of it. Mr. Keyes' ability to wrestle with apparetly every element of the deep things of the human experience and then write his observations with such clarity and genuine help is amazing. It is like being lost in the jungle of the inner mind and discovering a genuinely lovable guide who walks you out quickly, and takes the time to make sure you're learning the way in case you travel back without him someday.