"The Irresistible Community- An Invitation to Life Together" uses several vivid images to convey its message, beginning with the image of people coming together at a table. We gather at a table for many reasons. We may be debating something, in deep disagreement with each other but ultimately committed to finding a unifying solution. We may be celebrating and laughing, delighted with each other's company and partaking of some good victuals. We may be mourning, dealing with life's hard times, leaning heavily on the trusted friends who are present with us.
If we view a community as a group of people who come together at a table, then obviously it must be one multi-purpose table! As Bill examines the "Kitchen Table," the "Conference Table," the "Operating Table," and a few other tables, we learn ways we can serve those who have come to that particular table at this particular time.
Which leads us to the second image, the towel image. Jesus used that lowly-yet-essential household item to clean his disciples feet, and in that act of humble love and care, he marked them as his friends and changed their hearts forever. We've been given "towels" too, Bill says. They've got our name on 'em, and we'd better bend down and use 'em. We've got to love our own towel (our life and ministry, whatever shape that takes) and not covet someone else's, and we certainly shouldn't shove our towel (proof of how hard we're working) in anyone's face.
Which leads us to the last section, which puts it all together. That last thing is truth, a rich and full-bodied understanding of God's ways, so that our ways will become more like His. This transforms tables into healing places and towel-skills into evidence of love.
The whole book is extremely practical, exploring support and accountability and what it means to tell our stories and receive the stories of others. There's definitely something for each of us to learn here, either a whole new subject or a refresher course.
I thank Baker Books for providing me with a review copy.