This book is an excellent way to get a sense of the foundations of who we are and our life together. Our pastor John Alexander was working on it when he died in 2001. After some editing work by various community members and our friend Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, it was published in 2012.
[From the back cover] What modern church doesn’t call itself a “community”? Yet for how many is it real? How many churches form disciples intimately connected enough to call themselves Christ’s “body”? How many form disciples who know the relational arts that create a robust unity? How many form disciples practiced in the ways of sacrificial love?
Pastor John Alexander, a thirty-year veteran of living in Christian communities, yearns for all the wonder and promise of the New Testament vision of church to come true. After struggling with Scripture in live-together church communities, he shares the Scriptural practices and wisdom that make for an authentic, sustainable, and joyful life together. For any person or church wanting to move beyond the cliché of “community” to the radical vision of the New Testament, this book is an invaluable guide.
For a complete review, please click here.
Sojourner Pastor Jack Bernard (who died in 2002) relates how he despaired of trying to live the spiritual life, and how despairing of his own efforts sparked the beginnings of a real trust and faith. The first half of the book relates that story, and the second half deals with practical issues such as money, prayer, discernment, and scripture. This is a great guide to a serious discipleship, while taking the context of the church seriously.
“Rather than portraying sainthood as the anomaly reserved for superchistians, Bernard brings the calling to be set apart for God before all of us in a simple and mystical invitation. As Jesus was dying on the cross, the veil of the temple was split open, setting all that was sacred free into the world—so Bernard’s book mystically makes the road to sainthood accessible to ordinary radicals who long for more of God.” –Shane Claiborne, author of “The Irresistible Revolution” and founding member of The Simple Way.
For a complete book review by Tim Otto click here.
Another book by Sojourner’s late pastor John Alexander takes readers on an exuberant ride through Western intellectual history. He surveys our culture’s bankruptcy—its shallow boringness—and urges us toward the adventure of following Jesus in the way of self-sacrificial love. He argues that in the end, the church must prove its story through its life together. His prose is witty, playful, and profound. He is obviously having fun, and his style is almost as convincing as his argument.
“In a joyful style that only the joy of the gospel can produce, Alexander helps us thread our way through the wilderness of modernity—this is, from Plato to Rembrandt to Woody Allen to Schwarzenegger—by reminding us of God’s story for our lives. What a profoundly entertaining book.” –Stanley Hauerwas, The Divinity School, Duke University
If the church is more than just a building, what could it mean to live in it—to inhabit it as a way of life? From their location in new monastic communities, Stock, Otto (Sojourners), and Wilson-Hartgrove ask what the church can learn from St. Benedict’s vows of conversion, obedience, and stability about how to live as the people of God in the world. In storytelling and serious engagement with Scripture, old wisdom breathes life into a new monasticism. But like all monastic wisdom, these reflections are not just for monks. They speak directly to the challenge of being the church in America today and the good news Christ offers for the whole world.
“Protestants looking for a richer, thicker, more robust and enchanted way of living into the Christian story should not ignore this invitation into the rhythms and cadences of Benedictine spirituality. Indeed, only one kind of person should avoid this book: the reader who does not wish to be changed.” –Lauren F. Winner, author of Girl Meets God and Real Sex.