As you may have guessed, I get lots of books from publishers hoping I will give them some attention on this blog. What has happened, of course, is that this blog has become media and I have become an editor of an online magazine. I am, I guess, a “Blogitor of a Blog-e-zine.” We give every book a fair shot but we can’t possibly mention every one nor would I commend each book I’m sent. So today I want to mention three books that I think can be of use to anyone who wants to be missional. These are three good, personal, story-laced books.
Because this blog is a conversation among all sorts of people, I’d like to hear some of what is going on in your local community and with your community of faith when it comes to missional living. Maybe some personal stories of awaking to the needs of others in your neighborhood.
If you are in need of ideas or encouragement, or even a kick in the behinder-binder, maybe these books will help you.
When I recommend books I know that not everyone should buy each book, and I have no intent of breaking your piggy bank. The books we recommend are for those with an interest in that topic.
Top billing for me goes for Will and Lisa Samson’s book Justice in the Burbs, which has the subtitle of “Being the Hands of Jesus Wherever You Live.” This new emersion series book who tell their story of shifting from “busy insignificance” to acting out the reality that we all participate in a justice system and we can help with issues like homelessness, hunger and illiteracy — even if we live in the suburbs! Each of our actions reflects the kind of world we choose to live in. Any book whose first sentence, in italics, is “We failed” is probably going to get your attention. It got mine.
Some of us might be more interested in ecology. J. Matthew Sleeth’s book, Serve God Save the Planet, might be the book for you. J. Matthew Sleeth was a medical doctor with plenty of income and nice life-style, but he saw too much, heard too much, and touched too much to continue. The Sleeths sold their big home and have given away more than half of what they owned in order to “serve God in such a way that they would help save the planet.” Sleeth attributes his change to seeing how Jesus lived in the pages of the Gospels. One quotation, and it would be easy to give many more: “If we had continued in the lifestyle of our grandparents, we would not have the problems we currently face…. Our generation consumes five times more energy than my grandfather’s.”
And yet a third really good book is by Trevor Hudson, a new author for me. His book is called A Mile in My Shoes. This little book from Upper Room Books is about cultivating compassion. This book, I’m suggesting, might be for those who need a gentle reminder that the gospel is bigger than our personal soul and that following Jesus is bigger than what most of are doing. This book follows the new pattern: developing spiritual disciplines that lead to a missional life instead of simply to a spiritual life. A South African, Hudson takes on a pilgrimage — uncomfortable, real, and significant. This book is rooted in an eight-day experiential program that enabled South African youth to get to a deeper level of following Jesus.
These three books can move us from a “busy insignificance” to “daily significance.”