Seeing Singles as People (Review)

When I first heard about One by One: Welcoming the Singles in Your Church by Gina Dalfonzo, I thought it would be a book with a “how-to” bent. I know that in many churches, the response to the sexual revolution over the last several decades has been to focus on the nuclear family to the neglect of people in other stages of life (forgetting that the church itself is spoken about using “family” language in the New Testament). I thought it might be nice to get a few tips on avoiding the temptation for churches to neglect people who are not married.

9780801072932But it is not a how-to book, and for that reason I had the hardest time getting into it. It comes in three sections: The first, called “Stigmas, Stereotypes, and Shame,” states the problem: single people are too often seen in American churches as problems, pariahs, or projects. In the second, called “How We Got Here,” Dalfonzo gives a history lesson that begins in the ’90s with the courtship craze started (or at least fueled) by Joshua Harris’s book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. In the third, called “Where Do We Go from Here?” Dalfonzo paints a picture of what churches could look like if they did really welcome single people for who they are, rather than as potential married people.

As I mentioned, I had trouble getting into it, probably because in the first section does a bit of preaching to the choir. People who pick up a book like this are likely to be sympathetic readers, so stating the problem of how singles are often treated in the church over three chapters and 70 pages seemed excessive.

Nevertheless, I’m glad that I kept going. I enjoyed her take on the courtship craze in part 2, and I note that even Joshua Harris has been reevaluating the ideas in his famous book (he has been working on a documentary film called I Survived I Kissed Dating Goodbye, which he talks about here).

Also, one nugget in particular from the third section of the book has stuck with me. Dalfonzo wrote, “I really believe that a large part of the reason married churchgoers are often thrown for a loop by the singles is that, deep down, we are completely wedded to the idea that we should be able to control our own lives” (170). How can it be, the thinking goes, that you could really want something and not be able to get it? You must not be trying that hard. In this scenario, dependence on God as the source of life and giver of gifts goes out the window.

I think Dalfonzo is onto something there regarding how the American ideal of individual autonomy has played out in the area of how married Christians can treat single ones. This idea that we are atomistic individuals who ought to be able to control our own lives is a pernicious lie (not a uniquely American one, but one that is particularly influential here), and to counter it we need to believe the truth: that we are dependent on God for all things; and that the church he has started (including the singles in it!) is our true family.

Note: Thanks to the publisher for a review copy of this book. I was not asked to give a positive review.

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Character Is King (Review)

Education in general, and education in leadership in particular, has increasingly become focused on the acquisition of skills. Since we as a society cannot agree on what is good or true or beautiful, when we want to teach something the only definition of success we can agree on is that we should become, as the title of a recent book by Charles Duhigg tells us, Smarter Faster Better (or in the words of Daft Punk, “Harder Better Faster Stronger“). Education is little more than an indoctrination into what the French philosopher Jacques Ellul called “technique.”

people-of-a-certain-character-cover_thumbnailThis sort of thinking is also present in churches, although biblical qualifications for leadership have a bit to do with skills (“able to teach,” 1 Tim 3:2; 2 Tim 2:24) but much more to do with character (“above reproach,” “self-controlled,” “not quarrelsome,” “not a lover of money,” 1 Tim 3:2–3). My friend Jeremy Rios, who until recently pastored at Burnaby Alliance Church and is now pursuing a PhD at the University of St. Andrews, wrote People of a Certain Character: Mentored Leadership for Servants in the Kingdom as a leadership training manual with the goal of helping to restore the church to a more character-focused vision of leadership.

At just 106 pages, it is a brief book that almost might be called a booklet. Rios has consciously kept the book short so that it can be profitably read in groups of Christian leaders. The real purpose is not to read it alone for the purpose of review (as I have just done) but to work through it slowly, reflectively, alongside others with whom you are ministering. In each of twelve chapters, Rios asks a question that aims to get at the heart of a Christian leader’s character:

  • Do you know that you are loved by God?
  • Do you have a conviction of holiness?
  • Are you filled, and being filled, with the Holy Spirit?
  • Are you aware that God is in charge of your ministry?
  • Do you have a right relationship with Mammon?
  • Are you willing to submit?
  • Do you know how to connect with the Lord devotionally?
  • Do you know how to listen for the Lord’s interruptions?
  • Do you know how to share the gospel?
  • Do you know how to minister in the power of the Lord?
  • Do you know how to care for others?
  • Do you know how to restore yourself?

Each chapter begins with a passage of Scripture, continues with a meditation on that Scripture, then concludes with discussion questions and a suggested spiritual practice to help readers grow in that area. For example, the spiritual practice connected with “Are you willing to submit?” is fasting. The book ends with a concluding word on the importance of mentoring for growth in Christian character, using the apostle Paul and his mentoring of Timothy as a primary example.

As I read the book, I thought there were many other questions that could have been asked to help people gauge where they are in terms of their character, but these are a good baseline. The intent, as I see it, is not to be exhaustive, but to prompt honest reflection and growth. It is similar to books on spiritual disciplines: when you read Richard Foster, or Dallas Willard, or someone else, you find that their lists of spiritual disciplines overlap but are not entirely the same. The point is not to establish a complete list of disciplines for people to practice, but to suggest ways in which we might use our bodies and habits to invest in our relationship with God.

I think this book will be a valuable resource for leadership development in the church. As I mentioned above, resources on leadership often focus on the “how” to the detriment of the “who”—what kind of character should you have as a leader? While I do think resources that teach leadership skills have their place, there is a greater need in our current environment for books like People of a Certain Character.

Note: While the author is a friend, a copy of this book was provided to me with no expectation as to the nature of the review. Check out Jeremy’s explanation of why he wrote the book here.

As Kingfishers Catch Fire (Review)

Eugene Peterson has long been one of my heroes. As I was studying to be a pastor, I would sometimes become anxious, thinking that I would have to become an über-extroverted CEO to keep up with contemporary expectations for what a pastor should be. I would be filled with dread and second-guessing until I went back and read some of Peterson’s writing on pastoring (like The Contemplative Pastor), and I would be reassured that I was not crazy to think that someone with my personality could do it, even in America.

Since then, I haven’t followed the path I thought I would. I love and am committed to the local church, but so far I haven’t ended up serving as a pastor. Peterson is still a hero, though, and I still turn to his writings for guidance not just on how to be a pastor in today’s world, but how to be a Christian—or even a human—as well.

9781601429674In mid-May this year, Waterbrook will publish As Kingfishers Catch Fire: A Conversation on the Ways of God Formed by the Words of God, a collection of Peterson’s sermons from when he served Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland. It’s the second of his books whose title comes from a single poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins (the first being Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places). In the preface, he writes that the goal of all his pastoral work, including the sermons he preached, was congruence:

The Christian life is the lifelong practice of attending to the details of congruence—congruence between ends and means, congruence between what we do and the way we do it, congruence between what is written in Scripture and our living out what is written, congruence between a ship and its prow, congruence between preaching and living, congruence between the sermon and what is lived in both preacher and congregation, the congruence of the Word made flesh in Jesus with what is lived in our flesh. (xviii)

There are forty-nine sermons in this collection from the twenty-nine years Peterson was a pastor. They are divided into seven parts, with seven sermons each. Each part is focused on the books associated with a biblical figure: Moses, David, Isaiah, Solomon, Peter, Paul, and John. There is an introduction to each of these parts that sets the passages the sermons are based on in their biblical context. Peterson states outright that this is not a “best of” collection; rather, they are a representative sample.

Something is always lost when sermons are printed in a book, and no doubt that is the case here. But at the same time, getting a taste of these sermons is better than nothing, and I for one am grateful to have them. Each sermon is between five and six pages long, which is a good length to take one at a time as devotional reading.

Note: Thanks to the publisher for a review copy of this book. I was not asked to give a positive review.

The Life of the Church (Review)

Moody Publishers has recently published three books on the church from Joe Thorn: The Heart of the Church: The Gospel’s History, Message, and Meaning, The Character of the Church: The Marks of God’s Obedient People, and The Life of the Church: The Table, Pulpit, and SquareThey are intended, respectively, to answer the questions: What does the church believe? What makes a church a church? and What should a church do?

Since I’m always interested in people’s visions of what the church ought to be and do, and I’m on my own church’s leadership team, I decided to pick up the third book to see what Thorn had to say.

9780802414694The book itself is short, almost a booklet (it’s 109 pages). It has a cool design that features the colors black and green, and Thorn himself seems like a cool guy (he has tattoos and wears shirts with epaulets). According to the book, the mission of the church is to follow Christ and make disciples in three environments: the table, pulpit, and square. The “table” is Thorn’s way of talking about a church’s inward community; “pulpit” represents the church’s worship gatherings; and “square” stands for the public square, i.e., the church’s activities in the surrounding community of participation, restoration, conversation, and multiplication.

These three images make up a clever heuristic for thinking about what the church is supposed to do. I’m sure it will stick with me, and that I’ll continue to find this book useful. Finally, while there are many things in the book that churches from any denomination would agree with, when you read between the lines a bit it does seem clear that Thorn is writing from within the Reformed Baptist tradition. Readers of any denomination could benefit from this book, but those who share Thorn’s tradition will be the most “at home” in it.

Note: Thanks to Moody Publishers for a review copy of this book. I was not asked to give a positive review.

What Draws Young People to Churches: A Review

It happens all across America: churches start out doing well, but they stop paying attention and pretty soon everyone is over 40. Or 50. Or 60. The congregation decides they need to do something to draw young people, but they don’t know what to do. So they look for some kind of silver bullet like starting a new program or hiring a new staff member, but it doesn’t work.

If this sounds like your experience, Brad Griffin, Kara Powell, and Jake Mulder of the Fuller Youth Institute are here to help. They conducted a study of churches that have found ways to grow young instead of old, and the resulting book, Growing Young: 6 Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church, spells out the core commitments of those churches.

9780801019258Those core commitments are:

  1. Unlock keychain leadership. They have leaders who will share their authority with young people, inviting them to grow in their responsibilities.
  2. Empathize with today’s young people. Older members remember what it was like to be young, and they also try to understand the challenges young people today face that they didn’t. Then they do all they can to help young people work through the challenges of finding identity, belonging, and purpose.
  3. Take Jesus’ message seriously. They proclaim Jesus as “the centerpiece of the story of God” and seek “to live out his message in everyday relationships” (129). In other words, these churches are theologically robust; they don’t preach the moralistic therapeutic deism that distracts people in our culture.
  4. Fuel a warm community. They didn’t just create programs for young people to connect in their church; their entire church gave young people an authentic and welcoming feeling. Structures were not enough for these churches. The people were also warm and inviting.
  5. Prioritize young people (and families) everywhere. Churches can make the first four commitments and still grow old. Churches that grew young also made young people and families a priority. They committed resources and attention to them throughout the life of the congregation, including in their worship gatherings, staffing, and budget.
  6. Be the best neighbors. These churches were not antagonistic toward culture, but sought out ways to both live faithfully and serve their neighbors. This is difficult, since the values of those outside the church and those inside it often conflict, but churches that grow young never stop asking, “Who is my neighbor?” and committing to serve them.

When I got this book in the mail, it was thicker than I thought it would be. It is packed with the authors’ research findings, as well as stories from the churches they studied (side note: one of the churches they studied was the District Church in Washington, DC, one of whose pastors is my friend Aaron Graham. It was especially fun and interesting for me to read stories about what they are doing there.) Each chapter ends with ideas for action, as well as reflection questions to help you and your church’s leaders think about where your church is now and how it could change.

This book is particularly relevant for pastors and church leadership teams. Youth pastors and student ministry volunteers can and will benefit from it too, but part of the message of the book is that churches who do well at engaging young people don’t limit that engagement to a youth program or young adult ministry. The entire church needs to prioritize young people, and the “keys” (i.e., authority) to do that come from the lead pastor and leadership team.

Note: Thanks to the publisher, Baker Books, for a review copy of this book. I was not asked to give a positive review.

The Church as Salad Bowl: A Review

What is the church supposed to look like? Is it the club of similar people that many of us know, or is it an outpost of God’s kingdom that consists of a group of people who would never get along if it weren’t for God’s grace? Prolific New Testament scholar Scot McKnight has written a book exploring this question (I call him prolific because I was about to call this book his “latest,” but it came out in February so now I’m not so sure).

The book, A Fellowship of Differents: Showing God’s Design for Life Together, draws on the letters of the Apostle Paul (and the analogy of a salad bowl) to argue that the local church should be a diverse group of people who become a new kind of family that is only made possible by grace and love. He writes, “A good salad is a fellowship of different tastes, all mixed together with the olive oil accentuating the taste of each.” The church is supposed to transcend difference, while honoring difference at the same time.

McKnight further argues that the church shapes discipleship. That is, for ordinary Christians, what they  experience at church is what the Christian life is for them. This means that there should be diversity in church. There should be different races, genders, socioeconomic groups, cultures, styles, histories, ages, marital statuses. For churches to achieve this diversity, McKnight writes, the Christian life in those churches needs to be characterized by six themes: grace, love, table fellowship, holiness, newness, and flourishing.

I mentioned above that McKnight is a New Testament scholar, but over the years he has learned to write for a popular audience, not just seminary graduates like me. It is a testament to how successful he has been at this transformation that at various times in the book I wanted to share it with people in my church, as well as people who regard themselves as spiritual but aren’t part of a church. Sometimes I would come across an analogy in the book and think, “Well, that’s corny.” But then I had to remind myself: “Snooty overeducated types like me aren’t the main audience for this book.”

The classic exploration of life in Christian community is Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together. This book won’t replace that one, but I think it can supplement it for our time. I hope this book does find a large audience among people who love the church, are frustrated by the church, or don’t see the need for a church, and I hope they’re inspired by what God intended the church to be.

Note: Thanks to the publisher for a review copy of this book. I was not asked to give a positive review.

How to Be Mission-Oriented Elders: A Review

When I read my friend James Matichuk’s review of Eldership and the Mission of God: Equipping Teams for Faithful Church Leadership, I wanted to get my hands on it as well. While, unlike James, I am not a pastor, I am on my church’s leadership team, and wanted to read something that would help me reflect on what it means to function faithfully in that position. I also was looking for something that I could recommend to the rest of the team, and after reading it I found that this book fits the bill.

Eldership and the Mission of God is written by Bob Hyatt and J.R. Briggs, two pastors of missional churches who had met through their involvement in the Ecclesia Network. I had read Briggs’s previous book, Fail, and liked it. While I had not read anything Hyatt had written, I knew that he was the founding pastor of the Evergreen Community in Portland.

The book deliberately looks at church leadership through a missional lens. Briggs and Hyatt write in the introduction:

This book is not an exhaustive academic or theological treatise on biblical eldership. It is for church leaders and practitioners who want their faith communities to possess an ethos that is undeniably anchored in God’s mission. Good books have been written on eldership that approach the topic from a theological perspective. This book, however, seeks to do something few—if any—have done before: explore eldership through a missiological lens and discuss its practical implications within local congregations.

They see elders as tasked with constructing “floating docks” (see the picture on the cover) that can remain anchored in God’s mission while adapting to the current cultural water levels. The book includes chapters on the nuts and bolts of eldership, such as how to select elders, what the qualifications of an elder are, and what the roles of elders are in leading the church and making decisions, but this emphasis on mission runs throughout the book.

Briggs and Hyatt do not disqualify women as elders (they even include a chapter at the end called “What about Women Elders?” in which they make a brief case for this and include references for further exploration), so churches that do not permit women to be elders might not be able to endorse this book fully. Nevertheless, I would recommend this book to any pastor or church leader who is interested in exploring what eldership in their church would look like if it were primarily shaped by mission.

Note: Thanks to InterVarsity Press for a review copy of this book. I was not asked to give a positive review.

ReFrame ReView: Living Out of the Christian Story

Many Christians are wondering how their faith can possibly relate to their everyday life. Often we see our faith as private—something that we do in our spare time or on the weekends, not something that shapes how we work and play every day. Even if we do bring faith into our everyday lives, it can seem tacked on. It is as if faith is limited to certain activities, and not something that comes out of the core of who we are.Screenshot 2014-11-13 20.50.55

To help us learn how faith relates to all of life, the folks at the Regent College Marketplace Institute (RCMI) have released ReFrame, a video course that explores what it means to follow Christ today. ReFrame seeks to explore how, in the words of Colossians 1:17, “in [Christ] all things hold together.” The introduction to each video in the course includes the following words, spoken by presenter Mark Mayhew:

The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ reframes everything, bringing hope, life, and meaning to every part of human culture. And yet many of us can’t see how our faith shapes much of everyday life and experience. What are God’s purposes for us? What does it mean to be made in the image of God? How do we live in the world but not of the world? We’re exploring, “How does the biblical story reframe our story?”

The course comes in ten episodes, each about 40 minutes long. Each episode includes a TED-style talk as well as brief interviews with various people like Eugene Peterson, Scot McKnight, Ruth Padilla DeBorst, Andy Crouch, Loren Wilkinson, J. I. Packer, Krish Kandiah, Soong-Chan Rah, and Katherine Leary Alsdorf. Since ReFrame is a product of the RCMI, it is not surprising that most of these have a connection to Regent College, whether they have been professors or taught summer school courses. I was very excited about this because of my own connection to Regent (I attended there 2004–08 and graduated with an MDiv), but I think this will be exciting to a much broader audience than just Regent nerds like myself.

The ten episodes are as follows; I’ve included the speakers in the list so you can see what an all-star cast it is:

1. The ReFraming Story (Speaker: Paul Williams)

2. Cultural Stories (Speaker: Sarah Williams)

3. Creation & Fall (Speaker: Iain Provan)

4. Israel’s Calling (Speaker: Phil Long)

5. Jesus the King (Speaker: Rikk Watts)

6. New Heavens & New Earth (Speaker: Rikk Watts)

7. The Church & the Spirit (Speaker: Bruce Hindmarsh)

8. Strangers & Exiles (Speaker: Paul Williams)

9. Ambassadors (Speaker: Paul Williams)

10. Joyful Living (Speaker: Polly Long)

In addition to the talks and brief interviews, each episode also features the story of (usually one) person who is trying to live out his or her Christian faith in a particular area. For example, Strangers & Exiles features the stories of teacher George Sanker, physicist Jennifer Wiseman, and car dealer Don Flow. Here is a promo for the series, and as you can see, the production value is great:

In addition to the videos, ReFrame comes with a Leader’s Guide and Participant’s Guide. Each session is intended to take about two hours, including the watching of the 40-minute video. The Leader’s Guide looks very similar to the Participant’s Guide, but includes notes for leaders next to the main text. Here is a page from the Participant’s Guide:

Participant Guide Sample

Here is the same page from the Leader’s Guide:

Leader Guide Sample

If you have been following this blog for a while, you know that back in 2009 I reviewed a video series called The Truth Project that was billed as a “Christian worldview experience.” I anticipate that, since the two may be seen to have similar goals and I have seen both, I might be asked which one I would prefer. I would definitely say ReFrame, not least because it has a better flow from being built around a story rather than topics. Also, while The Truth Project is very well done in many ways, there are a few spots where it has trouble differentiating between a Christian worldview and the worldview of culturally conservative Baby Boomers (for example, in its treatment of American history). As such, while much of the series is very valuable, I believe that it is unlikely to have much lasting cachet outside that demographic.

I wish that I could go through every episode of ReFrame in detail, but I don’t have the space or time to do that here. Perhaps if I go through the course with my small group or a larger group from my church (which I definitely want to do), I’ll be able to sit down and write an episode-by-episode review. In the meantime, if you want to get a closer look for yourself, you can watch episodes one and five in their entirety at this link.

I highly, highly recommend this course for group study, whether it is as a small group or as a church. I pray that God will use ReFrame to powerfully influence Christians around the world to live more fully out of, and show others how to live more fully out of, the most compelling and beautiful story there is.

Note: Thanks to the Regent College Marketplace Institute for a copy of ReFrame for the purpose of review, with no expectation as to the nature of the review.

Evangelii Gaudium Is Not All about Economics: A Review

Around this time last year, there was a flurry of media coverage about Pope Francis’s first major writing of his pontificate, the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”). While he had previously released an encyclical, Lumen Fidei (“The Light of Faith”), that was largely the work of his predecessor, Benedict XVI. When Evangelii Gaudium released, many saw it as an indication of what was important to this new pope.

Unfortunately, much of the media attention that Evangelii Gaudium garnered tended to focus on the same 16 paragraphs (the ones numbered 52–60 and 202–208) of a 288-paragraph document (I read a nice hardcover version of it, but the entire text is available online here).  Those paragraphs contained Francis’s critique of economic practices that dehumanize both the poor and the rich. Many on the American right hated it, many on the American left loved it, and media watchers told us who got it right and who got it wrong. It was another distressing example of how ideologies distort people’s perceptions of reality. Interestingly enough, Francis saw it coming:

In today’s world of instant communication and occasionally biased media coverage, the message we preach runs a greater risk of being distorted or reduced to some of its secondary aspects. In this way certain issues which are part of the Church’s moral teaching are taken out of the context which gives them their meaning. The biggest problem is when the message we preach then seems identified with those secondary aspects which, important as they are, do not in and of themselves convey the heart of Christ’s message. We need to be realistic and not assume that our audience understands the full background to what we are saying, or is capable of relating what we say to the very heart of the Gospel which gives it meaning, beauty or attractiveness. (34)

So what is Evangelii Gaudium really about? Thankfully, Francis doesn’t keep it a secret:

Here I have chosen to present some guidelines which can encourage and guide the whole Church in a new phase of evangelization, one marked by enthusiasm and vitality. … I have decided, among other themes, to discuss at length the following questions:

a) the reform of the Church in her missionary outreach;
b) the temptations faced by pastoral workers;
c) the Church, understood as the entire People of God which evangelizes;
d) the homily and its preparation;
e) the inclusion of the poor in society;
f) peace and dialogue within society;
g) the spiritual motivations for mission (17)

It is, as the title indicates, about preaching the gospel with joy. The other subjects that are treated in the document (missions, church structure, preaching, and, yes, economics) are all dealt with through that lens. I encourage anyone with an interest in Pope Francis, whether they are Catholic or not, to spend some time with this document. It is simple and straightforward, and often quite devotional. Though I am not a Catholic, I was warmed and encouraged by it.

Note: Thanks to the publisher for a review copy of this book. I was not asked to give a positive review.

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood? A Review

Environmentalism is part of the culture here in the Pacific Northwest. One aspect of environmentalism is the encouragement to “buy local”—many people here love local businesses, and if given a choice will prefer to patronize them over a national chain.

In light of this cultural preference for the local, it is not surprising that this part of the country is home to the Parish Collective, a group that seeks to root churches and nonprofits in local neighborhoods and connect like-minded people across regions. Three leaders of the Parish Collective (Paul Sparks, Tim Soerens, and Dwight J. Friesen) have now written a book called The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches Are Transforming Mission, Discipleship and Community. I decided I had to read it when I saw this promo video, filmed in my very own neighborhood:

Those of you who know Bellingham will recognize that the coffee shop featured here is the Lettered Streets Coffeehouse. And those of you who have been to my house will recognize that I live about two blocks from Sean Hall. 

The book comes in three parts. The authors ask in the first part, “Why do we need a new parish?” They argue that “individualism and living above place have fragmented the Western church” (15). In the second part, they ask, “What is the new parish?” Here they argue for a “faithful presence” that integrates community, formation, and mission in all dimensions of public life. In the third part, they ask, “How do we practice the new parish?” They devote one chapter each to the practices of presencing, rooting, linking, and leading.

The biggest difference I can see between the new parish model and the old parish model is the recognition of pluralism: most places have a variety of churches, with different histories and different beliefs. The old parish model deals with this by saying that other churches are not really part of the One True Church. The new parish seems a lot messier. The authors talk some about this in their chapter on “Rooting,” but I would like to have heard a bit more in this book about how to navigate that reality. What happens if you and another church in your neighborhood have different ideas about a central doctrine like the Trinity? Or a hot-button issue in the church like women serving as pastors? Or a hot-button social issue like gay marriage? Dealing with such specific issues likely just did not fit into the scope of this book, but nevertheless that was what I was most curious about when I finished.

Overall, this book struck a chord in me. Like the authors, I have seen and experienced the effects of fragmentation and long for an integrated life. Those times when I have lived “above place,” I have felt depressed or anxious. I want to know people and be known by them. I want to know the history of where I live. I want to be able to walk places, and not be forced to drive everywhere (thankfully, the place where I live now is walkable, but that has not always been the case). I want my church community to do life together in our place, and invite others into that life together. This book helped me to think through these issues, and for that I am thankful.

Note: Thanks to InterVarsity Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.