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We can see evidence of injustice all around us, whether in continuing incidents of racial inequality or in the systemic forces that disenfranchise people and perpetuate poverty. In an age of hashtag and armchair activism, merely raising awareness about injustice is not enough. Author Michelle Warren and her family have chosen to live in communities where they are "proximate to the pain of the poor." Proximity changes our perspective, compels our response, and keeps us committed to the journey of pursuing justice for all. Move beyond awareness and experience the power of proximity.
Number of Pages: 144
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 2017
|Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)|
The Church As Movement: Starting and Sustaining Missional-Incarnational CommunitiesJ.R. Woodward, Dan White Jr.InterVarsity Press / 2016 / Trade Paperback$14.99 Retail:
$20.00Save 25% ($5.01)
"In Jesus, God leaves all the comforts of heaven, puts on skin, and moves into a broken worldborn a refugee, wandering as a homeless rabbi, executed as a criminal. In this book, Michelle Warren dares us to follow the suffering Christ by leaning into the suffering of our world. She calls us not to conform to the patterns of this world, which might otherwise convince us to move out of Jesus's neighborhood and avoid the streets of Jericho, where people still get beat up."
"The great Holocaust writer and survivor Elie Wiesel says that we are most universal when we are most particular. Michelle Warren takes us through her individual and particular journey in a way that powerfully reveals the core of the call to all of us, wherever we come from, to love mercy and do justice. A wonderful book for young Christiansand for all Christians who have begun to authentically wrestle with the demands of whole-gospel discipleship. Wise, funny, and well written. Read it!"
"Warren offers us a theology of testimonythat is, a theology that grows out of lived life. This is an account of a journey into a richer understanding of God and the mission to which he calls his people. But a testimony is more than a retelling. The Power of Proximity beckons us to join the pilgrimage to walk alongside the vulnerablea pilgrimage that will transform how we incarnate Christian faith."
"Michelle Warren is a faithful witness to the power of proximity. She writes like she liveswith great passion and purposeand shows us the path to justice by sharing her own story with vulnerability and insight. The Power of Proximity urges us to overcome our fears and courageously cross the deep dividing lines within our society. We are challenged not only to get close to those who are hurting on the Jericho road, but to transform the whole road!"
pastor2519West Point, UTAge: 55-65Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Their Pain, My Perspective , and Finally a ResponseJune 26, 2017pastor2519West Point, UTAge: 55-65Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Weve all been in situations where were in close proximity to someone who doesnt look like us. Some of the situations are temporary, and some much longer lasting. Some people are forced into situations, and some make a conscious decision to experience life at a different pace than they might otherwise be used to. Immediately missionaries come to mind. They leave family, friends and home to go to a faraway place.
And then there are people like Michelle Warren. Michelle and her husband made the decision to exchange lifestyles, but they didnt go to a different continent to do so. Instead they settled in an area of Colorado. The only thing is, Michelle and her husband dont look like most of their neighbors, and if they werent willing to study another language, they wouldnt even be able to communicate with some of them. Their journey to proximity is detailed in The Power of Proximity: Moving Beyond Awareness to Action, (IVP Books, July 2017)
I did more underlining in this book than I have in a long time, and have already used some of what I learned as part of a message for a chapel service at the local Rescue Mission. Justice is a primary theme, and reading this book helps us see that we have a part to play in seeing justice come about. Biblical, not legal justice, restoration of people, not just punishment for wrongs (p 28). Life among people who are struggling helps us to identify that need for restoration.
So, what is the deal with proximity? The simple answer is that it gets us close to the pain of an issue, changes our perspective, and most importantly requires a response. And as you can tell, from that 3 part answer, the simple answer is anything but simple.
Take a look at the communities that frame the lenses through which you see things. Do you live in one and work in another? Do you truly experience what others created in the image of God are living on a daily basis, or do you just brush shoulders with it during the short periods of time that you are in the vicinity, and then forget about it as you drive away? Michelle is truly experiencing it.
Part I Proximity Transforms Us helps the reader understand what is meant by proximity, including the fact that to truly understand a different culture, we need to do more than attend some conferences or read a few books. It enables us to look beyond the surface for the underlying causes, and the possible solutions to some of the issues. And as we are confronted with the brokenness of others, we are also confronted with our own brokenness, which tends to help us understand even better what others are living through.
Part II Proximity Compels Response is a little bit harder to read, simply because it forces the reader to decide what am I going to do about it? Its one thing to read about an issue, to see it from a distance, and perhaps send a check, or like on social media platforms. But when it becomes part of who you are, then a response is required. When proximity to the poor is a choice, you are privileged (108), and with privilege comes responsibility.
And with Part III Proximity for the Long Haul there are some pointers. We can choose to move past fear, we can recognize and pray for healing for our churches, we can continue with our choice to be proximate, even when it is more difficult than we expected. We can live by faith, and stand with those who are already boldly making a stand, making the statement that enough is enough. In God's Kingdom we are all created in His image, and as such we should be willing to stand by our brothers and sisters.
Earlier this year I was indirectly asked by a friend to choose a word for the year, a word which might shape and frame my actions and attitudes. The word I chose was justice, and this book is helping me with that effort. Michelle wears several different hats, but whichever one she is wearing at any given time is a reminder that proximity shapes us and has not only the potential to make our world a better place, but also the potential to mold us more closely to the Imago Dei in which we were created.
And even better, since I received my advance copy, a study guide is in the works.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher.
Highly recommended. 5/5