Helpful resources for cell leaders during the Summer Term of 2019
by Nadia Bolz-Weber
In Accidental Saints, readers are invited into a surprising encounter with what Nadia calls “a religious but not-so-spiritual life.” Tattooed, angry, and profane, this unlikely priest stubbornly, sometimes hilariously, resists the God she feels called to serve. But God keeps showing up in the least likely of people―a church-loving agnostic, a drag queen, and a gun-toting member of the NRA.
As she lives and worships alongside these “accidental saints,” Nadia is swept into first-hand encounters with grace―a gift that often feels less like being wrapped in a warm blanket and more like being hit by a blunt instrument. But by this grace, people are transformed in ways they couldn't have been on their own.
In a time when many have become disillusioned with Christianity, Accidental Saints demonstrates what happens when ordinary people share bread and wine, struggle with scripture together, and tell each other the truth about their real lives. This unforgettable account of their faltering steps toward wholeness will ring true for believer and skeptic alike.
Assimilate or go home
by D.L. Mayfield
From childhood, D.L. Mayfield longed to be a missionary, so she was thrilled when the opportunity arose to work with a group of Somali Bantu refugees in her hometown of Portland, OR. As the days, months, and years went by, her hopeful enthusiasm began to wear off, her faith became challenged, and the real work of learning to love and serve her neighbors grew harder, deeper, and more complex. She writes: "The more I failed to communicate the love of God to my refugee friends, the more I experienced it for myself. The more overwhelmed I felt as I became involved in the myriads of problems facing my friends who experience poverty in America, the less pressure I felt to attain success or wealth or prestige. And the more my world started to expand at the edges of my periphery, the more it became clear that life was more beautiful and more terrible than I had been told."
In this collection of stunning and surprising essays, Mayfield invites readers to reconsider their concepts of justice, love, and reimagine being a citizen of this world and the upside-down kingdom of God.
Community and Growth
by Jean Vanier
Contemporary society is the product of the disintegration of more or less natural or familial groupings. Community and Growth – now regarded as one of today’s great classics – is a unique book. It is no dry and systematic treatise, but rather a brilliant series of starting points for reflection on the nature and meaning of community.
Friendship in the margins
by Chris Heuertz and Christine Pohl
In our anonymous and dehumanized world, the simple practice of friendship is radically countercultural. But sometimes Christians inadvertently marginalize and objectify the very ones they most want to serve. Chris Heuertz, international director of Word Made Flesh, and theologian and ethicist Christine Pohl show how friendship is a Christian vocation that can bring reconciliation and healing to our broken world. They contend that unlikely friendships are at the center of an alternative paradigm for mission, where people are not objectified as potential converts but encountered in a relationship of mutuality and reciprocity. When we befriend those on the margins of society by practicing hospitality and welcome, we create communities where righteousness and justice can be lived out. Heuertz and Pohl's reflections offer fresh insight into Christian mission and what it means to be the church in the world today.
by Samuel Wells
Drawing on the Gospels, Acts, and personal insights gleaned from more than two decades in ministry, he shows how ‘being with’ others includes experiences of presence, attention, mystery, delight, participation, partnership, enjoyment and glory.
His vivid narratives and wise reflections will help Christian readers better understand how to be with all kinds of people outside the church, including: Seekers, Being with Those of Other Faiths, Being with the Hostile, Being with Neighbours, Being with Government, Being with the Excluded.
by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
In Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, renowned Christian minister, professor, and author of The Cost of Discipleship recounts his unique fellowship in an underground seminary during the Nazi years in Germany. Giving practical advice on how life together in Christ can be sustained in families and groups, Life Together is bread for all who are hungry for the real life of Christian fellowship.
by Christine D. Pohl
Although hospitality was central to Christian identity and practice in earlier centuries, our generation knows little about its life-giving character. Making Room revisits the Christian foundations of welcoming strangers and explores the necessity, difficulty, and blessing of hospitality today.
Combining rich biblical and historical research with extensive exposure to contemporary Christian communities -- the Catholic Worker, L'Abri, L'Arche, and others -- this book shows how understanding the key features of hospitality can better equip us to faithfully carry out the practical call of the gospel.
by Daniel Homan and Lonni Pratt
Sharing monastic wisdom as well as stories from their own lives, Father Daniel Homan and Lonni Collins Pratt encourage us to embrace the true meaning of hospitality, by welcoming the stranger - not only into our homes, but into our hearts. Daniel Homan, O.S.B., a Benedictine monk for over 40 years, and Lonni Collins Pratt have collaborated on three previous books, including the best selling "Benedict's Way: An Ancient Monk's Insights for a Balanced Life".
by Dr Muthuraj Swamy
Global in scope, but homing in on the role ordinary people play in conflict and division, Reconciliation enables Christians to engage confidently in a ministry bequeathed to us by Christ himself.
The book issues a vibrant call to the church to support and strengthen relationships amongst church members; to cross borders to build connections with different denominations, and to maintain open attitudes towards our neighbours from other religions and ideologies.
Forty biblically-based meditations introduce topics such as Impediments to reconciliation, risking the self, humility and self-criticism, radical openness to the other and peace with justice.
by Alan Scott
Alan Scott, a leader in the Vineyard Movement, draws upon his years of experience to share inspiring stories of cities transformed by scattered servants. He shares practical ways for church leaders to move beyond the building walls and take the kingdom to those who need it most. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Scott argues that every believer, not just the leaders, can fill their city, workplace, and family with the beauty and power of Christ.
Strangers at my door
by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
His first followers knew that Jesus could be found with the fatherless, the widows, and the hungry and homeless. He said that he himself was a stranger, and commended those who welcomed him. If he really meant these things, what would happen if you opened your door to every person who came with a need?
Jonathan and Leah Wilson-Hartgrove decided to find out. The author and his wife moved to the Walltown neighborhood in Durham, North Carolina, where they have been answering the door to anyone who knocks. When they began, they had little idea what might happen, but they counted on God to show up.
You will never view Jesus and the people he cares about the same way again.
The 3D Gospel
by Jayson Georges
To enhance your ministry among the nations, learn how the Bible speaks to cultures of guilt, shame, and fear. Western theology emphasizes forgiveness of sins, but people in the Majority World seek honor or spiritual power. In today’s globalized world, Christians need a three-dimensional gospel of God's innocence, honor, and power. Is your gospel 3D?
Nomad Podcast: Missionaries, Mystics and Mother God
Edwina Gateley is a mystic, and a social activist. Her life has been a rhythm of extended periods of prayer and solitude (including 9 months of silence in a caravan in a forest!) and activism (including establishing a mission agency that has sent hundreds of people into missions work around the world, and working with prostitutes on the streets of Chicago).
Through both her radical activism and deep contemplation Edwina’s understanding and experience of God and Church has been radically challenged and reshaped.
This is a must listen for anyone wrestling with questions around what Church and mission are, and how we describe and relate to God.
nomad podcast: on charismatics and contemplation
For many of us, the charismatic movement has been a mixed bag of bonkers and blessing. The danger is, of course, that we throw the blessed baby out with the bonkers bathwater! Especially for those of us who have been through some kind of deconstruction, we can easily end up rationalising away anything mystical.
So we asked Brad Jersak to help us think all this through. Brad is a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church and is deeply contemplative. But he’s also a charismatic. So we ask him what the charismatic and contemplative traditions can learn from each other, and whether contemplation can help take some of the crazy out of the charismatic.
Nomad Devotional: Spiritual Practices
This month we asked the former Dean of Duke Divinity School Elaine Heath to reflect on the spiritual practices she sees as vital for Christians today, and the spiritual practice that has had a particularly deep impact in her own life. David Blower then responds with music and a couple of new songs.