God Next Door

This book by Simon Holt was one of my top reads of 2007, but the commentary on it has sat in my draft tray until now.

Actually I just this minute picked it up and was about to re-read it, when I thought I ought to give it a mention here.

Mid last year I went into hospital for a sleep study and took it with me, knowing I wouldn’t be able to move for several hours. I read the whole thing in about 2 or 3 hours and found it inspiring and encouraging in its approach to living as the people of God in the local neighbourhood.

Much of what Simon writes about relates to the suburban context and asks what it means for us to fulfil the two commands to love God and neighbour within that setting.


I am looking forward to re-reading it as it was one of those books I felt a deep sense of resonance with.

I honestly can’t remember much of its specific content but that’s not unusual for me! Most books leave me with a feeling of either being glad to move on or wishing to return – much like a holiday destination. You know the best holiday destinations are the ones you cherish and would like to return to frequently, with friends if possible!

Here are some thoughts from the Allelon review that give you a feel of where the book heads:

Simon raises a lot of questions about churches and their preoccupations … This book doesn’t bash existing churches. It respects the challenges they face. At the same time it is a quiet plea for churches to rediscover neighborhood not as objects of outreach programs or social service good deeds but as the real, flesh and bone place were God takes up residence and meets us all. This is a plea for the rediscovery of the local, the next-doorness of Christian life in a culture that spins us apart in a thousand different directions so that we come home we want to close the gate, move the backyard and escape whatever might be happening on the street.

I had passed this one on to Danelle as I thought it would be just her thing, but it hasn’t made it to the top of her pile yet, so I have pinched it back for some holiday reading!

If you live in the suburbs, and haven’t read it then I’d be making it a top pick for this year.

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