7 Ways to Destroy a Friendship

For those of you who are reading Jesus Now and want to let your friends know about it, there is now a list of quotes from the book that you can publish on Twitter and Facebook.

Just go to the book landing page – JesusNow.tv – and scroll to the bottom.

Also, we redid the 7 Aspects of Christ’s Present-Day Ministry episode since the original recording was poor. Now the podcast includes a short excerpt from an interview I did for Jesus Now that’s much clearer. The phone call from the distraught man who was kicked out of a lunch buffet still appears at the end.

That said, we’ve just released the 99th episode of the “Christ is All” podcast. The topic — 7 Ways to Destroy a Friendship.

Listen to the episode in the following ways:[Continue Reading…]

Losing a Friend

One of my closest friends, a man about 20 years my senior and who I’ve known and admired since I was in my 20s, has been stricken with Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s been escalating for over a year. And now it’s gotten to the place where he doesn’t remember our last phone conversation.

This is a man who I owe a great debt to in my Christian life and ministry. He’s the first one who exposed me to God’s heart for the poor and the oppressed, something I’ve been totally focused on for the last three years.

My friend isn’t on the Internet, for he has no computer. (I bought him two computers over the years, but one died and the other he sold.)

He’s never written a book, he has no blog or email address, and he is largely unknown. Yet he’s the smartest and wisest man I’ve ever met. A hidden gem in Christ.

One sad memory is burned in my brain. Last year, I treated my friend to dinner at an upscale steak restaurant called Charley’s steakhouse.

We finished our meal and he went off to the restroom. I waited, and when he didn’t return, I started searching for him.[Continue Reading…]

Slow Church

I recently interviewed the authors of the new book, Slow Church. From the title, I thought this would be a book on radical ecclesiology, dealing with things like church leadership, structure, the clergy-laity dichotomy, the purpose of the church meetings, every-member functioning in the gatherings, expressing Jesus Christ corporately, etc. But it really doesn’t explore those themes. Thus it’s not a book in the same genre as Reimagining Church or The Normal Christian Church Life or Paul’s Idea of Community or 0-58.

What it does do, however, is decry the “industrialized, fast-food approach” to Christianity. Hence, the book is more a discussion on certain values that Christians (they use the word “church” to describe believers in general as well as local communities) should embrace. Some of the chapter titles are ethics, patience, work, Sabbath, gratitude, hospitality, etc. These virtues should be operating in every believer’s life as well as in the local asssemblies of which they are part, say the authors. Christianity shouldn’t be relegated to the privacy of one’s own home. My take on the book is that it’s more missional (focusing on outward witness) than it is ecclesiological. The authors are dead right — modern Christianity is way too fast(food) paced! Slowness is a virtue, just as stillness is.

The book reminded me very much of The New Parish, as it seems to be coming from the same perspective and made many of the same points.

Here’s my interview with Pattison and Smith, the authors, two really nice guys who write very well.[Continue Reading…]

60 People Who Shaped the Church

In 60 People Who Shaped the Church, Alton Gansky chooses 60 significant figures through history who have shaped the formation of the Christian faith in some way.

baker

The strength of Ganksy’s book is that each chapter is very short (only 3 to 6 pages long) and he tell stories. Gansky, an author of 24 novels and 8 non-fiction books, tells the story of 60 “sinners, saints, rogues, and heroes” throughout Christian history in a simple to read survey.

He begins with Peter (one of Jesus’ first disciples) and ends with Billy Graham.

All told, the 60 men and women are given mini-biographies arranged in chronological order. This is a broad overview of the Christian historical past through the lives of some who impacted the church. The author begins each chapter with a quote referencing the individual.[Continue Reading…]

The New Parish

The New Parish is a new book by Tim Soerens, Paul Sparks, and Dwight Friesen. As someone who has written a great deal on ecclesiology myself, InterVarsity Press sent me a copy of the book. Instead of writing a review, I thought it would be better to interview all three authors.

If you have any questions for me about the book, feel free to ask them in the comments. I’m not sure if the authors will be fielding questions here or not as I know they are extremely busy promoting the book.

The-New-Parish-300x125

Instead of asking, “what is your book about,” I’m going to ask the question that’s behind that question. And that unspoken question is, “how are readers going to benefit from reading your book?”

Tim Soerens: I like that question because while the book is obviously about “The New Parish,” but what is undergirds the hopes of the book is the idea of faithful presence. The idea that God is calling us in each moment into what it means for us to relate faithfully to God, to the person in front of us, and to the context in which we find ourselves. The New Parish is about how faithful presence in a local and communal context, just might set the stage for a re-imagined way of being the Church. And this of course gets to the book’s benefits.

I’ve been hearing in the last few weeks since the book has come out is that it’s giving folks language and even imagination for longings they’ve had for how to be the church in their every day lives. In other words it’s putting language to longings that I think a whole lot of Christ’s followers intuitively feel, but wrestle with how to communicate.[Continue Reading…]