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Loving The Local Community
by Robert Cotton
Publisher:SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
This is a book for anyone with an interest in the Fresh Expression movement, in counter-cultural Christianity - and it's a book for those with no involvement in these things as well, because it's a book that deals with discipleship and church from a new stance whilst being firmly rooted in the established Anglican church.
It addresses the diversity of what church can be, of what we within the church are called to be and should do, but it does so not stridently or argumentatively but gently and encouragingly, starting with us as we are, with the places we find ourselves and asks us to look beyond those, to look at how gentle shifts and small actions can really change things from the outside in and inside out. How church growth is not at all about building bigger better congregations but rather about growing actively out into our communities, ministering to the least and growing those within our boundaries to be confident assured disciples, disseminators in words and action of the gospel - actors on the stage of local community.
It is beautiful in it's simple proclamation, and profound in it's gentle stories of change and encouragement. Told with interspersions from real life moments and experiences, and reflections on the past, art, history, hymnology, biblical studies and theology amongst other subjects, that mould with the reality of today’s modernity.
Reimagining Discipleship is a book that will speak to many, because it talks of a place we all know and a feeling probably at the heart of most churches though not formally acknowledged. The words flow off the page in a lyrical considered way that really feels as if the author is personally speaking to you, neither too academic or too simply glossed, there is instead a considered passion to them that reflects I think the authors desire for us to be reached and changed, 'to find the courage to be in this moment the mouthpiece of our faith... not changing what is believed by others, but adding some specific personal details so that others are touched over again by the excitement of God' Pg149.
Reviewer: Melanie Carroll (29/10/12)