3 Important Books, with a little Cheese

Three books I’ve read this summer have something in common.

They begin by listening.

Linda Mercadente’s 2014 Belief Without Borders listens to SBNR’s – Spiritual But Not Religious people. It’s beautifully written and worthwhile for every person in church ministry.

Rob Lee’s Stained Glass Millennials listens to … you guessed it. Rob weaves his voice with other Millennial Christian leaders and liberates you from the normal drone of Boomers like me talking about “those Millennials.” The book doesn’t sugar coat the bad news, but it doesn’t soft-pedal the hope either.

Jan Hendrick Prenger’s Muslim Insider Christ Followers challenges Christians to hear the voices of Muslims who follow Jesus but don’t want to be called Christians. (In light of the high number of identified Christians who seem only remotely interested in following Jesus, that’s understandable.)

In a recent article (also well worth your time) called “Cheesy and the Church,” Linda Mercadente tells it true (emphasis mine):

… remember that engagement, no matter how well-intentioned, won’t be effective until we understand this emerging context. There are some preliminary steps we need to take on this journey: We must do some close observation, including serious consideration of popular culture. We need to practice compassionate listening to the concerns and goals of SBNRs. And, most important, we need the willingness to engage the very real theological issues SBNRs express. In doing these things, we will position ourselves to appreciate the opportunities and needs in the emerging meta-modernist ethos.

“Compassionate listening” is as close as our ears and hearts, if we will just dedicate them to that purpose. These three books (and Linda’s excellent article) will help you do so. Highly recommended.