Each month, we ask a featured contributor to the Arkansas United Methodist to tell us what they’re reading, and why we should be reading it as well. This month’s contributor is the Rev. Dr. Michelle Morris, Lead Equipper for the Center for Vitality. Each of the books reviewed this month deals with the tension between relating to the world and holding to tradition.
Sticking Points: How to Get Four Generations Working Together
by Haydn Shaw
Shaw tackles the difficult reality that there are four generations in the workplace right now: Traditionalists, Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. The old way of waiting your turn to change things is no longer working, as each generation asserts its identity. In the church, which has five generations, this means evaluating our mechanisms of functioning (like meetings, dress code, and committees) in order to reach new people for Jesus, while still valuing all five populations. Shaw gives practical ways to lead people to work together regardless of their specific perspectives.
Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now
by Walter Brueggemann
Using his trademark style of contextualizing biblical texts, Brueggemann recovers Sabbath as a resistant practice that allows us to more fully focus on God, other people, and creation. Sabbath was a gift given to the Hebrew people immediately after they escaped Pharaoh’s system of non-stop production which fed Pharaoh’s relentless consumption and wealth accumulation. Brueggemann then applies this description to our own 24/7 world that commodifies time as money. He challenges us to reclaim that holy practice of rest for God’s distinct people despite what the culture around us defines as good.
How to Be a Perfect Christian: Your Comprehensive Guide to Flawless Spiritual Living
by Babylon Bee
If you are unfamiliar with Babylon Bee, you are missing out on some of the sharpest satire on the hypocrisies of Christianity. While their quick wit is aimed at the non-denominational megachurch, this humorous book reflects on how much we accommodate culture in an effort to fill seats. Are we sacrificing theological depth for the sake of the show? Are we creating environments in which people make church all about themselves rather than God? Behind the satirical questions of looking for a church whose name sounds like a nice retirement home are deep questions on the nature of discipleship and the purpose of church. Their humor encourages us to recover God at the center of worship and to grow in our own discipleship in intentional ways.