Tag Archives: Beyond Homelessness

Books too good to keep for myself

Sometimes books are so good and so important that I can’t see not sharing my copy with a friend. This is what happened this year with two books I received in on review.

 

Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith In A Culture Of Displacement

By Steven Bouma-Prediger, Brian J. Walsh

Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2008

ISBN 0802846920, 9780802846921

361 pages

 

The first book, Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith in a Culture of Displacement by Steven Bouma-Prediger and Brian J. Walsh is a close look at our sense of home and place in North America and the ramifications for the way interact with the environment and those people who society calls dis-placed, or homeless. The authors illustrate that that homeless have much to teach us about what a sense of home should be. Through personal involvement in homeless shelters and relationships developed over time they try to bridge the virtual gap between those who seem to have everything, living in condos and gated communities, and those living on park benches or in the woods. They show us how the disparities we perceive and that we allow to separate us, seen rightly, can point us back to a deeper soul sickness that we’re inclined to cover up with everything in reach. Our culture is displacing us all, moving us further and further from any sense of home, place, or rest.

Beyond Homelessness is packed with cross-disciplinary tools: socio-economic, theological, ecological, and hermeneutical. It offers a wealth of material for those who will take the time to work through it slowly, and preferably, with a group of people excited to act it out. I passed my book onto others who work regularly with homeless people and formerly homeless people who are learning about renewable energy. They’re doing the work already, but this book helps connect the dots creatively in new ways.

 

Being Consumed: Economics And Christian Desire

By William T. Cavanaugh

Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2008

ISBN 0802845614, 9780802845610

103 pages

 

The second book I shared was Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire by Bill Cavanaugh. This book has already seen a lot of attention in the theoblogging world. In my own writing I’ve picked up the topic of consumerism as it concerns Evangelicalism, so I wasn’t surprised by some of Cavanaugh’s other author source material like Naomi Klein, Vince Miller, and Tom Beaudoin. What Cavanaugh brings to the discussion that is unique and refreshing is the way he weaves the theological with the practical. He moves beyond the problem with what we’ve become to how we can think and act differently, citing specific local examples such as Church supported agriculture. There’s something about talking about faith and economics that immediately sounds elitist. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. Cavanaugh gives us just enough education to demonstrate the impact on our faith, and then he shows how our faith is meant to consume us, changing our desires in keeping with our transformation into the image of Christ. There is no better time to read and share this book in your church. (If you’re protestant like me, don’t be alarmed by Cavanaugh’s appropriation of the Eucharist. God’s work can be applied in all of the ways we celebrate Christ together.)

Being Consumed is applied Christianity, in a social area where we’re too often tempted to ignore God, the market. Maybe this hour of financial crisis is the best time to share the good news that there is another way. We need not be slaves to money. Jesus’ resurrection is for godless places like Wall Street as well.

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the Energy Fair and new reading

On Friday and Saturday I attended the Midwest Renewable Energy Association‘s annual Energy Fair in Custer, Wisconsin. In a nutshell, I came away feeling encouraged by the many exhibitors who have been walking the talk, living with less for decades. It would be easy to wonder what sort of new gizmos are going to change the way we live by making it easier for us to go off the grid. I learned that that is really the wrong question. Renewable Energy is really about a change in values. This is why many folks have been involved in teaching and working for infrastructural change for decades and the country overall hasn’t really come around. They understand and appreciate that we just have to learn to live with less. Mind you, most of these people are doing well for themselves. We were parked next to a Jaguar. They have business sense, and they’re combining it with personal responsibility. Imagine that!

In other news, I just received Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith in a Culture of Displacement by Steven Bouma-Prediger and Brian J. Walsh. It looks really, really good. It’s a discussion of place and displacement, treating both poverty and ecology in one assessment of our “culture of displacement.” I’ll give it a full review when I’m finished.

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