Good to be back

Well, it’s been a little while since I’ve had some time to post here. After looking over my blog posts for the past few months, I’m realizing it’s time for me to put some of my own things on here. Enough book reviews already! Hopefully, it is helpful to see these books reviewed. It’s impossible to read everything that’s out there – even on a given topic it’s hard to read all that’s there on that, so I find it helpful to share what we’re reading. However, let’s not get carried away. I’m going to work at actually shortening my reviews (imagine that!) and offering more frequent personal musings reflecting on what I’ve read collectively (as Gary Holloway quipped this past weekend at a conference I attended, “Everything I know I read in a book.”). So you can judge how “mine” this stuff actually is.

I’ll begin my aspirations towards shorter book reviews here with a quick note about Justice in the Burbs. Simply put, this book is great! It’s a realistic, down-to-earth, practical quick-hitter on the topic of awakening your social conscience. Mary Beth and I have been having lots of deep discussions looking at the status and direction of our life. Our social consciences have been awakened and the Samson’s hit us right between the eyes with this book.

The way that the book is put together is probably its best strength. Lisa Samson is a novelist by trade and she created a story following a typical suburban couple through the process of awakening their social conscience. This aspect of the book makes it especially easy to relate to. Following each section of fiction, Will follows with a short, but pointed, teaching section looking at the issues the fictional couple is faced with. Finally, at the end of each chapter, there is a devotional contribution from several different authors looking at the issues raised from yet another angle.

All throughout the book I found myself saying, “Yeah, that’s what I’ve been saying.” They manage to deal with a difficult and convicting issue in a gentle yet poignant manner. Anyone interested in simplifying your life and seeking practical easy-to-implement answers to questions like, “How do I serve the poor in my suburban context?” and “How can I live justly in an area that seems to have everything anyone could want?” would do well to read this book.

There is much I could say about this book . . . but, hey, I said I would shorten it up. This book definitely takes a real and critical look at the American culture and a Christian’s responsibility of living in a land of plenty . . . offers much good fodder for discussion.

Along those lines, Mary Beth and I are committed to living more justly in our setting. I think it began with a commitment to simply by getting rid of some of our stuff. However, upon doing that, we realize just how complex things really are. As a result, what began as a simple process of getting rid of some things has turned into a complicated venture to simplify in many manners. Seeking God’s vision and direction in all of this is complicated and challenging.

I’ve befriended a guy in jail that we have begun discussing allowing to move in with us in a few months. Now, it’s all on the table, and the real discussion has begun. Pray for us as we venture into the difficult, yet exciting and rewarding journey into justice.

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