The Good and Beautiful Community: Following the Spirit, Extending Grace, Demonstrating Love - eBook  -     By: Dr. James Bryan Smith D.Min.
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The Good and Beautiful Community: Following the Spirit, Extending Grace, Demonstrating Love - eBook

InterVarsity Press / 2010 / ePub

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Product Information

Format: DRM Free ePub
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 9780830861255
ISBN-13: 9780830861255
Availability: In Stock
Series: The Apprentice

Publisher's Description

In this third book in the Apprentice Series, James Bryan Smith helps us know how to live in relationship with others as apprentices of Jesus. "Apprentices of Jesus are not part-time do-gooders," he writes. "They live in continuous contact with the kingdom of God, and are constantly men and women in whom Christ dwells. They do not sometimes tell the truth, sometimes live sacrificially or sometimes forgive. There are myriad opportunities for us to impact the world in which we live." Yet many times we've gotten it wrong, tending to emphasize personal faith over social justice or vice versa. In these pages Jim Smith shows us how to bring spiritual formation and community engagement together, and then once again offers spiritual practices that root new, true narratives about God and the world in our souls. His insight and humility as a fellow learner with us will lead us to live in authentic ways as a good and beautiful community of Christ-followers, shining the light of the Spirit into every relationship.

Author Bio

James Bryan Smith (M.Div., Yale University Divinity School, D.Min., Fuller Seminary) is a theology professor at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, and a writer and speaker in the area of Christian spiritual formation. He also serves as the director of the Apprentice Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation at Friends University. A founding member of Richard J. Foster's spiritual renewal ministry, Renovar Smith is an ordained United Methodist Church minister and has served in various capacities in local churches. Smith is also the editor of (with Richard Foster), and .

Product Reviews

4.3 Stars Out Of 5
4.3 out of 5
4.7 out Of 5
(4.7 out of 5)
4.3 out Of 5
(4.3 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
4.3 out Of 5
(4.3 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
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  1. California
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Good for small groups, less so for the individual
    November 13, 2013
    Dr Nicholson
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 3
    This review, by Dr. Nicholson, has been provided courtesy of Desert Bible Institute

    Dr. James Bryan Smith has written a good book for small group instruction as the third installment of his Apprentice series. The Good and Beautiful Community does a respectable job of looking at the importance of serving as one church under Christ and developing a faith community. All the ideas that Dr. Smith shares are both biblical and clearly from the heart. He obviously has a love for both God and God's people. Additionally, all his arguments are intelligent and well thought out.

    There are several reasons that this book will work well for a small group. The author has broken each idea down into small, manageable sections that could easily be read and discussed. He also has specific tasks for each member to do between the hearing of the current session and the next session. His ideas are organized and clear and he uses very little advanced vocabulary that would confuse the novice or lay-reader.

    All of that said, I didn't particularly enjoy the book. While there were a number of "nuggets" of wisdom that were useful, there wasn't a solid through-point that tied it all together. I'm not saying there wasn't a theme; because, there was. It just had the feel that these were several individual lessons strung together under one umbrella of "community" rather than a steady building of one thought. Again, this might work well for a group with expanses of time between readings, but becomes tiresome to the individual reader.

    Another issue was Smith's use of diction. Admittedly, I have not listened to his first two books, but it seems that he is trying to create his own, relevant terminology by using catch words and catch phrases of his own devising. The problem is they aren't all that catchy. His attempt to create a common vocabulary is clunky and occasionally is too vague to accomplish his purposes. This seems to be a matter of personal preference and style; however, since many of his quotes and examples from other authors have this same aesthetically displeasing discordance.

    Lastly, it seems that most of his examples seem to be limited to himself, his seminars, and Dallas Willard. While none of these are bad, it does lend a lack of scope to that he is saying. A more wide-ranging and balanced sense of research would not only level out some of the biases of the book but also allow the reader to experience other viewpoints on community so that they would have a fuller understanding of the importance of faith community.

    I have to assume that it was the author's style more than Maurice England's reading that made listening to this audio version challenging. England, as usual, read with crisp diction and a steady pace. While it was a smidgen more "announcer" than it was narrator, I thought it was good considering the challenges the book presented. I was left with the impression, at the end of this book, like it was good and I would be happy to endorse it to a novice study group, but I would be hesitant to recommend it as an individual read especially if the reader was going to listen straight through rather than utilizing the week-by-week structure established in the book. It seems likely the author realized this since he gave similar caveats in the introduction of the book - only with a more positive spin.

    Dr. Nicholson reviews academic, Christian living, and fiction books for a variety of publishers in an array of formats. He is never paid for any of his reviews. He writes these strictly as a courtesy to his students at Desert bible Institute and for any other readers that might find his insights valuable. For more reviews or information, visit Dr. Nicholson's blog at

    A copy of the book was generously offered to Dr. Nicholson by in exchange for this unbiased review.
  2. Anchorage
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    October 22, 2013
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Easy to use in a group with shared leadership. Very applicable. A little different perspective. Challenging.
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    February 7, 2013
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Spectacular book, of course you should study book #1 & #2 before this one. Challenging. Great to do with a group.
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