I just ordered some new music from Amazon.com and decided to find out what “My amazon.com” had to offer. As if knowing I was in the mood to find some new books, I came across these two promising reads.
Dear Church by Sarah Cunningham
Based on the back cover and on reviews I think this book has the potential to (A.) put into words the frustrations of a generation and (B.) Put these frustrations in the hands of older generations without things becoming too personal.
Cunningham faces the challenge of any person in a supposed minority who feels overlooked and mistreated: how to convey hurt feelings, challenges, and righteous anger without sounding like a negative whiner.
One reviewer illustrates my point as he says something like, “Gosh, I think I understand what you’re saying, but I have a problem with how negative you are and how you criticize the church.”
What else is she supposed to do? Women get a bum wrap in this area especially when they’re excluded from ministry and try to address it. Men are apt to say something patronizing like, “You’re entitled to your opinion, but your anger and emotions with this matter just display why women are not fit to be leaders . . .” Must . . . not . . . slap . . . him . . .
We need to create a space for the disenfranchised to express their frustrations and wounds without being scolded as negative. It took me years to get over the negative effects of church. I’m glad someone is writing about the challenges facing a new generation, and I hope the rest of the church takes her seriously.
Organic Community by Joe Meyers
The ETREK class I took with Joe Meyers on The Search to Belong was by far the most practical class I’ve ever taken in seminary or college. I use his principles just about every day. Eat that Dr. Phil.
Joe has this uncanny ability to cut through all of our vision statements, good intentions, and off-target practices in order to find what truly matters: belonging in community. Whether with God or with other people, Joe is certainly on to something.
One of my favorite lessons from class involved a pastor whose staff was not working well together. Joe said to him, “The problem is that your staff is not working together.” The pastor said, “Right.” Joe said, “No, you don’t understand. Your staff is not working together.” Joe repeated himself ten times until the pastor said, “Oh, I get it. We are physically not together when we work.”
Another useful lesson I learned from Joe regards the inclination of some people to sprint, while others like to run marathons–figuratively speaking of course, I am talking about America here. For example, some people want to give a lot of money all at once, while others want to give their money over a short period of time.
I see the same come into play with volunteers. Some volunteers want to spend all of their time on big events, while others want to do a job for a few hours each week.
The book is not released yet, but I have a feeling that anything Joe writes will be a winner.