I have re/read a few beauties lately. I find reading a good book twice is a valuable practice as you see so much more the second time around.
While on holidays I re-read HughMackay’s Winter Close, the story of a street in Sydney and how the neighbours interact, as told thru the eyes of Tom one of the residents. Mackay is great in that he really pays attention to how relationships form in suburbia and the different ways we see one another. He writes a lot about ‘intimacy’ and the fact that it is a rare commodity in the burbs. If you’re serious about mission in suburbia then this is a book you must read.
After that I got stuck into Christianity Rediscovered by Vincent Donovan, an old classic that I was also reading for the second time. (Yes – it is yours Phil and I loved it so much I have ordered my own off Amazon!) Its the true story of a Roman Catholic missionary who went to the Masai people. The book begins with the missionary lamenting the fact that despite many hospitals, schools and community development initiatives they haven’t seen too many folks convert to Christianity.
He decides that maybe it would be easiest if he just goes and tells them about Jesus… (how novel) so he does and the results are often very positive. The real rub of the book comes in the way he goes about entrusting the churches to the new believers and allowing them to indigenize the gospel. For anyone exploring issues of contextualisation this is a great read.
And finally I have just finished Dave Goetz’s Death by Suburb. Its not a hard read at all, but it does contain some gems on how we ought to live in the burbs and remain faithful followers of Jesus. I have recommended that as a team we work thru it in the new year as I believe it will spark a lot of great discussion. Goetz identifies what he calls 8 environmental toxins in the burbs and recommends 8 spiritual practices to overcome these. It is simple and by no means an indepth exploration of suburban discipleship, but its a book that busy suburbanites might actually read!