Not From Around Here: What Unites Us, What Divides Us, and How We Can Move Forward - eBookBrandon O'BrienMoody Publishers / 2019 / ePub$9.29 Retail:4.5 Stars Out Of 5 3 Reviews
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Vanessa B5 Stars Out Of 5Insightful, well written, witty at times, some good practical applications.October 14, 2019Vanessa BQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5An important topic and one that can easily be applied not just to contexts within American culture but globally as well. As a third culture kid, I perceive as important the authors encouragement to stay true to Christ and his values rather than submitting to the cultural pressures of place or space. This book helps highlight and identify damaging views or beliefs that are dictated by culture rather than by Christ, and has served as a source of enlightenment in some areas of thought for me. The importance of spending time in conversation with people of differing opinions is a challenge I agree is SO important, and often a lost art in today's culture where exchanges are less conversation and more confrontation.
I found the phenomenon that the author mentions, of finding similar root causes beneath surficially different/unrelated pastoral problems, interesting. Definitely an eye opening form of encouragement to dig deeper into the stories of people with whom at first we may seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum with.
A thought provoking read.
James5 Stars Out Of 5For Christians who love their heritage, but don't want to idolize itOctober 9, 2019JamesQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This book will be helpful for Christians who want their primary identity to be in Christ, neither divorced from or dependent on their regional heritage. As someone who moved from the east coast to the south to the mid-west and back to the south, there's a lot I have in common with Brandon. But there's a whole lot different in our stories as well. I didn't experience the rural life he did, and I haven't lived in a large city like he does now.
Brandon largely tells of his own story of a Christian journeying through his faith and different regions of the U.S. He's aware of his story's limitations (pg 149) but also the potential growth that comes from sharing it . He has an appreciation and love for each place he's lived: small town, rural, suburban, small city, urban.
I identified with the small town and suburban stories, but actually enjoyed the urban ones the most, because they were about places I haven't lived. I suspect that readers will benefit most from the stories about the area of the U.S. that they know the least.
Besides his own stories, there are other sections like Chapter 7 "Learning to Tell the Whole Truth," which is a wonderfully brief critique of regional stereotypes connected to the work of Chimamanda Adichie. And the last few chapters provide some practical ways forward.
It clocks in at 186 pages before the endnotes.
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher.
bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: Female4 Stars Out Of 5Teaching in a memoir contextSeptember 30, 2019bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: FemaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4O'Brien wrote this book to help people who claim to find their identity in Christ relate to one another, even if they are radically divided in their political, moral, racial, or other viewpoints.
He does this by telling his own story which is the majority of the book. He gives some facts and figures but concentrates on his own story hoping it will help readers understand rural and urban areas. He grew up in Bentonville, Arkansas (a dry county). He studied and worked in suburban Wheaton, Illinois (where Christians served beer and wine at every gathering). He is now in Manhatten. While I appreciate learning the best way to catch crawfish and the right way to board a Manhatten bus, I would have preferred stories from a variety of people, not just O'Brien.
O'Brien ultimately has good suggestions, even if it does take him a while to get to them. We should learn from each other, having intentional conversations leading toward seeing life from another person's point of view, he says. We need to remember the sinful nature of man and recognize our own bent to perceive people the way we want to. As Christians we are to be quick to repent for our wrong perceptions.
Dwelling in unity is a nice idea, O'Brien says, but is really hard work. (156) It is only through God's grace and our sacrifice, discomfort and humility it will happen. He suggests the spiritual practice of The Daily Examen as a good place to start and then prayer.
This is a good book for readers who like teaching in the context of story, O'Brien's story. I would have liked a variety of stories rather than an emphasis on his own. I did appreciate his admonition to readers in the end. If the Christian church in America wants to bear witness to the kingdom of God, we have to figure out how to have our identity in Christ be the foundation for our lives. All other identities, whether political or geographical or ethnic, must be secondary.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
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