Saturday, August 30, 2014

Barefoot Tribe... a way to love Jesus and change the world.


The Barefoot Tribe: A Manifesto for a New Kind of Church


Barefoot Tribe is like a very encouraging kick in the pants. It's timely, it's bold, and it will broaden your focus as you serve Christ. 
This book is fruitful reading for any Christian, but those under thirty may resonate with it the most. (However, maybe not... two of my neighbors are marching for social justice next month, and they're in their sixties.) 

I dislike sweeping generalizations, but there a few obvious truths about modern youth~ 

1. The world really is our classroom/playground/neighborhood today. We get the news about slavery and war and famine and plague from all over the globe, and we're empathetic to international pain and ready to act if only somebody will point the way.*
And you don't need to be Billy Graham or a billionaire to lead us... you just need a heart in line with God, hands ready to help, and a way to spread the word. 

2. We live in a consuming nation, but individually we're increasingly aware of our consumption habits, and we want to change them for the better.
We realize that there's something wrong with our plenty when poverty still stalks and kills. 

3. We are accustom to diversity, and we know that common humanity and true Christianity demand that we stop dividing into ever-narrowing denominations. Some of us are ready to abandon the word "Church"for now, because the original meaning- so alive and vital- has been exchanged for a shallow one. That's where the word "Tribe" comes in handy. It's a word that gets attention, and shakes up Christian stereotypes. 

*Case in point: Ebola. I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about how an African hospital lost their staff to the disease because of a lack of basic medical gear, by which I mean plastic gloves. Dear God, what a tragedy! The same day the WSJ featured their WSJ Life magazine, in which luxury clothing, cars, watches, and vacation destinations paraded across the pages. While a nurse dies because she didn't have protective gear when she cared for a deathly ill patient, a six-figure necklace is being sold somewhere.

This book covers a lot of ground, and in each case the ultimate goal is oh-so-worthy.
The Barefoot Tribe vows to make art that beautifies the world, promote sustainability, love like Jesus, put down the weapons, tend the earth and the environment, be abolitionists right now, and end the pandemics that should not be claiming lives. 
Oh yes. This is good stuff here, folks. Lets read it, Talk about it. And then find ways to live it. 

I think Palmer Chinchen asks a great question near the end of the book, and I want to use it as a barometer for my own life.
If we had to close our doors (as a church) and move away, would people miss us? Would our city miss us because of all the ways we had served them, worked with them, and blessed them? Or would they not notice our absence, or would they be glad to see us go?

What a good question. 

Thank you Howard Books for my review copy of Barefoot Tribe. 


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