Jun 20, 12
Actually, 2.5 stars.
I was so looking forward to this book. A lifelong "burb" dweller, I have often chafed at the idea that the suburbs are a perfect haven where God is present, no one is hurting, and "others" are more in need of our grace, mercy and good works. I firmly believe that human pain is human pain, whether it comes from someone a million miles away or the family next door. Our job is to eradicate it, not to judge who is more "deserving" of our efforts.
The subtitle of this book is what drew me in: "Being the hands of Jesus wherever you live."
BUT... I was taken aback to see the the first 3/4 of this book seemed to berate suburbanites for their physical comfort (the authors even took to task garage door openers on page 58, and express thinly disguised disgust at parking lots full of high-end cars on page 56).
I was already on edge and on the defensive, and I was only in Chapter 3!
The next few chapters continued on in the same vein, talking about opening our eyes to suffering of those less economically well-off, and reminding us that the excuses of being too busy, or fearing for our personal safety, were merely excuses. Always a good reminder... but what happened to the idea of serving the Lord where we are?
Thank goodness, in Chapter 9 the promise made in the subtitle was fulfilled, and we were told to bloom where we're planted. We were given specific ideas for reaching out to our neighbors, and I was reminded that I don't really know the people next door or across the street. THIS was what I had been looking for! Not an excuse to continue my current comfortable life, but specific ideas as to how I could spread God's love HERE and NOW without selling my house, pulling my kids from school, and moving to an urban area (which was explored in earlier chapters).
I have to say, though, that the suggestion to "shower less" as a way to serve God was a total clunker. Just because I don't work on a farm or factory doesn't mean I don't need a daily cleansing. My 14-year-old son certainly would clear the house without a morning shower! (In addition to being a tad silly, it's suggestions like these that will turn people off from the rest of the valuable message).
I wish that the whole book had been more focused on being Jesus' hands and feet IN the suburbs, rather than suggesting we need to look elsewhere for people to help. In fact, this is almost two books -- one on doing good works external to where you live, and the last fourth on blooming where you're planted. I was looking for the latter.
If anyone knows of any books that focus on that topic, I'd love to hear. I'm still looking for ways to involve my kids in God's work.