I read Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove’s newest book, The Wisdom of Stability: Rooting Faith in a Mobile Culture
, because I was asked to blurb it. Here is what I said to Paraclete: I like this book but I don’t think I should blurb it. Why? I can’t say I’m committed to stability in the way this book advocates. But I like the book, and I will keep a copy close at hand.
Kris and I have lived in this house for almost 23 years; we’ve not really thought of moving. Our kids went to grade school and junior high and high school here; they “come home” to the same place they grew up — and their rooms, while now adjusted for guests, are still there. Our backyard is not big, but it’s ours and we know every inch. We planted every flower we’ve got, and we have raised decorative grasses … and when we go into our backyard there’s a sense of stability.
On neighbors … we’re the oldest neighbors when it comes to staying put (and age, too). We’ve had fifteen different neighbors since we’ve lived here. Some of them are staying put and we don’t see that they’ve got plans to move on. We mow one another’s lawns and help out with snow blowing.
But I can’t say Kris and I are here still because we’ve made some kind of resolute commitment to stability, but that is just what Wilson-Hartgrove is arguing: instead of moving, he advocates staying put and digging roots and forming community and neighborhood and digging deep, and that identity and life’s chapters are shaped out of such stability and depth and location and vocation.
Put differently, what happens to us when we are so mobile that we lose a sense of stable location? Good question.
Of course, he’s young and he speaks more from commitment and resolution than decades of stability in one place. But he’s at Rutba House in Durham NC and works at a church there and so he knows whereof he speaks; his age set is the most mobile group in the USA. And he wants to reset the default setting from mobility to stability.
Which is the case: goodness knows how easy it is for many of us to move on or always think of what’s next — over there instead of right here.
Packed with stories and theological insights and biblical wisdom and practical outworkings, this book is a one-of-a-kind conversation about stability.