Read Me.   Read Me.

I have received a bunch of amazon gift certificates so I’ve bought about 6 new books in the last two weeks.  Soon I’ll list a bunch of them here. But I just wanted to take a quick post to recommend a book that I just started reading called “Linking Arms, Linking LIves: How Urban-Suburban Partnerships Can Transform Communities.” 

My friend JR Rozko recommended it and when he recommends a book, I usually do what he says.  Most of you also know that I love talking about the suburban church and the challenges that we face in this context to live out a whole Gospel. This book is right up my alley.  I have spoke with a number of urban pastors who look skeptically on partnerships with Suburban churches, and for good reason.  Many times they have been burned by well intentioned suburban churches. 

This book approaches this topic.  I have to be up front and say that I have only read the interaction (heck, I only got the book today). But, here are a few quotes from the authors in the intro to whet your appetite: 

First a quote from one of the authors, Ron Sider:

“I am convinced that effective urban-suburban partnerships are essential for both communities.  Good urban programs urgently need outside resources. And rural and suburban congregations ned to learn only what inner-city churches can teach.

It is not, however, only our mutual ned for each other that moves me. I believe a biblcal theology of the church demands such partnership. At the heart of the gospel is the claim that the messianic kingdom long predicated by teh prophets has broken decisively into history in the person and work of Jesus.  Jesus’s new community, the body of Christ, is called to be the visible expression of that new social order in which all the sinful dividing walls between Jew and Gentile, black and white, rich and poor, male and female are not being overcome by the power of the Spirit.”

Another quote from co-author John Perkins,

“If the church today applies the economic sharing and mutual caring between rich and poor believers that was recorded in Acts 4, I believe we would be on our way to being Jesus’s prayer that we be one in heart and purpose.”

And another quote from Perkins,

The point is that American Christians are better at responding to crises than they are at addressing the long-term poverty problem in our land. Partnerships that cross urban-suburban divide can help us with blind spots such as this as we learn from one another the deep-seated needs of our poor communities.  We need real partnerships-committed people working together who dare to tackle places like Mississippi Delta [which is one of the poorest areas of our nation].

All in all it looks like a good book.  The only question I have up front is whether it addresses the issue that there is poverty in suburbia too, because there is.  Of course, I am a believer in the Acts example of Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and ends of the earth idea.  This requires me to be at least aware of the needs in the city and the suburbs.  This book seems to be focusing on the former which is a need.  At The Well we translate that passage in Acts to being a community of hope in Feasterville, Bucks County, Philadelphia and the World.  

If this book is good, I’ll look forward to discussing it with some of my city brothers and sisters…