I find that holidays are times for reading. There are a couple I want to recommend. This is the first.
Are you willing to be challenged about cross cultural issues?
For ten years Nigel and Lisa Measures have been leading a cross-cultural and multiracial church, Khanyisa Community Church, in a township outside Cape Town, an area which, in the days of apartheid, was a hot bed of political and physical strife. But they have lived there for even longer and are thus well qualified as white people from a British culture to address some of the deep-rooted issues which should challenge all of us about the gospel and its application. How should it be outworked out among rich and poor, black and white, multi-racially? What are our inner attitudes when we fellowship with people with whom we have little in common and who hold different traditions and worldviews? Is it possible to build a multicultural and multiracial church? What does that look like?
In writing God’s Stump (Jesus came from the stump of Jesse) Nigel (with one chapter by Lisa) challenges us to face hard questions. Indeed, this is not a book to read if you are not willing to look inward and have your pre-conceptions disturbed. But the issues he addresses are very important for our generation. What is your attitude to the Poor? – not in theory but when you are confronted by someone whose lifestyle is very different from your own and, let’s be honest, not very attractive? Are you able to see in that person someone made in the image of God whom He wants to see become an ‘oak of righteousness’ and released into missional activity through the church? And what about the person of a different race, speaking an unintelligible (to you) language? Are you prepared to make the effort to get to know him or her, and look for all the things you can learn? Or are you going to hide behind a so-called educated, know-it-all and sometimes ‘superior’ attitude?
To help you grapple with some of the issues Nigel ends the book with provocative questions related to each chapter. This makes the book very useful as a book to study as a group. This will help you discuss some of the challenging issues in a context of relative emotional ‘safety’ in, perhaps, a small group in your church. He has also thoroughly cross-referenced the text both to scripture and other authors.
I whole-heartedly recommend this book to any who are or want to be engaged with the poor, or who are seeking to build multiracial churches. For those who have never given these matters serious thought, perhaps you should, so this is a book for you too. Have the courage to be challenged and read it!
Available from Christian bookshops or Newfrontiers Resources