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Geography of Grace: Doing Theology From Below

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How do we make sense of God's love among the urban poor, and among the rest of us who are hungry for good news in the hard and sometimes forgotten places of our own lives? Rocke and Van Dyke invite us to discover for ourselves the unexpected nature of grace among those who have been labeled the least, last and lost-and their inextricable link to the forgotten and disturbin How do we make sense of God's love among the urban poor, and among the rest of us who are hungry for good news in the hard and sometimes forgotten places of our own lives? Rocke and Van Dyke invite us to discover for ourselves the unexpected nature of grace among those who have been labeled the least, last and lost-and their inextricable link to the forgotten and disturbing stories in the Bible. Graphic but never gratuitous, Rocke and Van Dyke are lyrical, poetic, irreverent, and playful. They are as rigorous in their study of applied theology as they are accessible in their storytelling. The authors share their own discovery of that which has been "hidden since the foundations of the earth," and they do it by standing with those who have stood alone, finding joy in being counted among the transgressors. They offer a new kind of orthodoxy that is as old as the gospel itself. Far from a dogmatic theology, the burden of this book is uncommonly light, but it is not without its demands. If you are up for a life-changing adventure, then get ready to "assume the risks." "In this challenging book, graceful writing meets grace-full theology. The wounds of the world cry out in poetry and poignancy; the call to care crushes complacency; places below rise to expose suffering and healing in the depths; darkness shines upon light, transforming Word and world in reading, hearing and doing." Phyllis Trible, Author of Texts of Terror "This is a beautiful book and a true book, proving again that they are the same thing! You will get to the essentials quickly here, and in a way that will change you both painlessly and painfully." Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M. Author and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation


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How do we make sense of God's love among the urban poor, and among the rest of us who are hungry for good news in the hard and sometimes forgotten places of our own lives? Rocke and Van Dyke invite us to discover for ourselves the unexpected nature of grace among those who have been labeled the least, last and lost-and their inextricable link to the forgotten and disturbin How do we make sense of God's love among the urban poor, and among the rest of us who are hungry for good news in the hard and sometimes forgotten places of our own lives? Rocke and Van Dyke invite us to discover for ourselves the unexpected nature of grace among those who have been labeled the least, last and lost-and their inextricable link to the forgotten and disturbing stories in the Bible. Graphic but never gratuitous, Rocke and Van Dyke are lyrical, poetic, irreverent, and playful. They are as rigorous in their study of applied theology as they are accessible in their storytelling. The authors share their own discovery of that which has been "hidden since the foundations of the earth," and they do it by standing with those who have stood alone, finding joy in being counted among the transgressors. They offer a new kind of orthodoxy that is as old as the gospel itself. Far from a dogmatic theology, the burden of this book is uncommonly light, but it is not without its demands. If you are up for a life-changing adventure, then get ready to "assume the risks." "In this challenging book, graceful writing meets grace-full theology. The wounds of the world cry out in poetry and poignancy; the call to care crushes complacency; places below rise to expose suffering and healing in the depths; darkness shines upon light, transforming Word and world in reading, hearing and doing." Phyllis Trible, Author of Texts of Terror "This is a beautiful book and a true book, proving again that they are the same thing! You will get to the essentials quickly here, and in a way that will change you both painlessly and painfully." Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M. Author and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation

30 review for Geography of Grace: Doing Theology From Below

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Geography of Grace posits that grace like water flows downhill. The stories of finding God in the hardest, poorest, and most oppressed places gripped me. I am trying to process what this stirring in my soul means for me. Why has this book wrecked me? For one thing, I must repent for the insulated life I have sought. I remember discussing with Abba Basil Irenaeus the hallmark of new monasticism: setting up in the abandon places of the empire. I remarked that didn’t seem like a mark of our order a Geography of Grace posits that grace like water flows downhill. The stories of finding God in the hardest, poorest, and most oppressed places gripped me. I am trying to process what this stirring in my soul means for me. Why has this book wrecked me? For one thing, I must repent for the insulated life I have sought. I remember discussing with Abba Basil Irenaeus the hallmark of new monasticism: setting up in the abandon places of the empire. I remarked that didn’t seem like a mark of our order as we valued beautiful things. Wow. How uncomfortable that statement makes me now. Since feeling the call to move to Detroit, I have been drawn more and more to the scarred and desolate places in spite of my aesthetics. Father, may I find true beauty in your face and grace in those places. I think another thing that stirs in me is facing how to act in the face of these things. The authors talk about asking beautiful questions and asset based ministry. I think I am left struggling with how do I put these things into my context? How do I engage, even find, the depressed places where grace is pooling? Certainly my developing relationships with some of the homeless and struggling in the neighborhood provides some of that. I found reading Geography of Grace timely. With the transitions at Courage Church I found myself longing to be in ministry in a more traditional way, a leader in the church gathered. I have been confused why God would persistently and increasingly shut me out of that familiar kind of ministry for the last few years. The authors’ experience ministering as part of the church scattered gives me a window into where God is positioning me. How do I live missionally? What exactly is our mission? The authors encourage me to resist the easy answers to that question, and instead look for where grace is flowing, like a cartographer mapping the contours of terrain. I am suddenly reminded that the authors have a process for mapping the hurt, the hope and the heart. Sacramental Discernment Street Psalms members pray with their “eyes open,” learning to map the geography of God’s grace in a particular place. Our mapping process includes three basic exercises that pay attention to the hurt and the hope of a particular city/community as well as the heart of God. The three exercises include: Mapping the Hurt: e.g. “Moment of Blessing” – a public liturgy for victims of violent homicide. Mapping the Hope: e.g. “Signs of Hope Tours” – Identify, visit and encourage key ministries/business/organizations that are signs of hope serving high-risk youth and families. Mapping the Heart: e.g. “Prayer Table” – Our communities host and participate in an open and inclusive table for leaders to pray for the city. In this I am reminded of the way the Spirit directed me down the street in time to participate in the prayer vigil for Noodlez a young man gunned down during the Cinco de Mayo parade last year. Also my drive to be a part of the various expressions of faith and encourage what is going on in my neighborhood seems to be mapping the hope for our community. I have also felt recently a desire to step up my prayer game. It seems my Beloved is eager to reveal his heart to me. Take me to the depths, outside my comfort zone – into the waves and chaos of the sea of humanity.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Beth Peninger

    This is another book of my dear friend's class reading list. And it was g.o.o.d. Wow. Authors Rocke and Van Dyke team up to propose a new (the the mainstream evangelical church that is) thought about where God's grace is seen and experienced first before anywhere else. I literally have no idea how to review this book adequately. It was such a powerful read, were I highlighting it most of the book would be highlighter yellow. I love how the authors used examples not commonly used or perhaps thoug This is another book of my dear friend's class reading list. And it was g.o.o.d. Wow. Authors Rocke and Van Dyke team up to propose a new (the the mainstream evangelical church that is) thought about where God's grace is seen and experienced first before anywhere else. I literally have no idea how to review this book adequately. It was such a powerful read, were I highlighting it most of the book would be highlighter yellow. I love how the authors used examples not commonly used or perhaps thought of to model their theory of grace. They used the story of the unnamed concubine in Judges 19, the movies 8 Mile and Little Miss Sunshine, and the story of Hagar. They gave fresh insight into the story of the prodigal son, the Holy Spirit, the name Yahweh, and a couple of other stories contained in the Bible. They made the case for reading God's word from an anthropological point of view rather than a theological point of view. It was such an excellent read. I cannot recommend it enough.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Drick

    The authors are founders of the Street Psalms Network, a collection of grassroots urban ministries around the world. They offer a bottom-up theology using poetry, innovative Biblical interpretation and many stories of hope and shalom in seemingly desperate places around the world. A real inspiration and eye-opener

  4. 5 out of 5

    JJ Vancil

    This is one of the more insightful books on doing ministry in hard places. The theology is rich, the practical implications are encouraging, and the challenges are convicting. I am more prepared to do the work that God has called me to do and more love with Jesus. This book challenges pre-conceived assumptions and invites to reader to be a part of the work that God is already doing among the least, the last & the lost.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Maria Ramirez dodson

    This is a great book. It is very DENSE. Full of great information, stories, and theology.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tom Fite

  7. 4 out of 5

    Peter

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Hofing

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gerhard

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joel Watson

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bill Cummings

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tim Hoiland

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marie Whitehead

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jb

  16. 5 out of 5

    Robert Murray

  17. 5 out of 5

    Scott Vander

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

  19. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gregory

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  22. 4 out of 5

    Paul Sparks

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ruben

  24. 5 out of 5

    Julia Melnick

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

  26. 5 out of 5

    Keith Flaming

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nich VanderMeulen

  29. 4 out of 5

    Geffory Crowell

  30. 4 out of 5

    AlishaReadsAllDay

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