Top 10 Missionally Helpful Books in 2014

00 There were a plethora of good books I worked through this year. The stack of books on my desk were a bit larger than normal because I was in the middle of research for my own project Subterranean. Outside of research, I often find myself reading from a missional-pastoral angle. So I picked 10 books this year that helped me coach, counsel or gently cajole others to enter deeply into community, for the mission of God. 1. A Thicker Jesus by Glen H. Stassen Sadly, Glen Stassen passed away this year but he had a significant influence on me. Both Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King Jr., were been able to practice truth against power at great personal cost, while others readily capitulated to injustice. In this magnum opus, Stassen spingboards of their work to argue that such a robust Christianity stems from believing in a “thicker” Jesus, who is Lord over all of life. Belief in this thicker Jesus results in “incarnational discipleship”. We must break away from idealism, individualism and cynicism to engage in the flawed messiness of our world. 2. The New Parish by Paul Sparks, Tim Soerens and Dwight Friesen I was able to hang with Paul Sparks in my own city […]

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn in Community

00 No one likes to grieve. So when Jesus tells an eager gathering of disciples “Blessed are those who mourn,” I’m not sure church growth gurus would see that as the strongest recruitment strategy. Mourning in the Jewish imagination is not a foreign emotion. Mourning has deeply historical connotations for the Hebrew People of God. The Drama of God’s People The majority of the time mourning is spoken of in the Old Testament, it is intrinsically connected to the feeling that God is absent. There are passages like Lamentations 1 – “Zion’s roads mourn, for no one comes to her, all her gateways are desolate, her young women grieve, bitter anguish is her voice. Her children have gone into exile with no one to hear their cries. The Lord has left us in grief.” The writer of Psalm 22 says “My God, My God why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far from my cries of anguish? I cry out by day but you do not answer me?”There are 400 years of silence between the Old and New Testament, in which we have no record of any prophetic utterances. This silence in between the Testaments, displays the overwhelming scope of grief that the People of […]