One of my favorite things is going to a book store to look for a specific book, and then stumbling upon a book I never knew existed. That happened a few days ago when I found An Emergent Manifest of Hope. Of course, I immediately bought it. I am just over 100 pages into it, and am enjoying it so far. If you have read this book, I would love to hear your thoughts on it.
Thomas Malcolm Olson’s “Jailhouse Faith: A Community of Jesus in an Unlikely Place” especially made me think. I am very interested in the importance of accountability for growth in the Christian life, and I was fascinated to read about Olson’s experience in prison ministry. He seemed to find that people in prison were more aware of their need for accountability than were people who were outside the walls of prison. Why is it so hard for us to humble ourselves enough to admit that we need help? Why do we have so much trouble being honest with others about what is going on with our faith?
This quote alone may have been worth the price of the book:
It would be good for Christianity if churches imitated penitentiaries and encouraged their parishoners to act more like prisoners. (It took me three decades of being a Christian to come up with that one, which explains why I make my living as an addictions counselor instead of a church growth consultant.) But I think I’m on to something. Every person needs one safe place where he or she is able to stop pretending, a place of ruthless honesty and unconditional love where no one is allowed to fly underneath the radar (95).
Amen to that! Do you have a safe place where you are able to just be real, to be completely vulnerable to someone else. Where you know that they are not standing in judgment of you, but they are standing with you, praying for you, seeking your good in all of the seasons of the soul? In my life, this kind of place has helped me grow in my faith more than any other.
Andrew Conard said:
revkev – Thanks for your initial thoughts about the book. I have read just a few excerpts, but do not own the book. I think that the quote that you picked out is great. It seems as if there are few places in the world where ruthless honesty is expected or even experienced. I am seeking a way to have that place in my life currently. I would love to hear your take on the entire book.
kevin watson said:
andrew – I hope you are able to find one of those places in your own life.
I am planning on posting about An Emergent Manifesto of Hope a few more times. This morning I read a chapter by Sally Morgenthaler titled “Leadership in a Flattened World: Grassroots Culture and the Demise of the CEO Model.” She raised some pretty strong critiques of mega churches, especially that have top down leadership models. I found myself wondering where churches like Resurrection would fit into her critique. Based on my (very limited) experience at COR I would guess that it would not quite fit the picture she is painting.
Anyway, if you ever get a chance to read that chapter, I would be interested in your reaction.