My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Review: Preaching to a Divided Nation: A Seven-Step Model for Promoting Reconciliation and Unity

Preaching to a Divided Nation: A Seven-Step Model for Promoting Reconciliation and Unity Preaching to a Divided Nation: A Seven-Step Model for Promoting Reconciliation and Unity by Matthew D. Kim
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It seems that everywhere I go these days, I see a sharply divided [American] society; which is why I was very curious about a book designed to address this division (or at least how to preach to both sides). Most of what I found was fairly intuitive and somewhat generic vs something with more practical application. It beings with a focus on the reconciling mission of God through the incarnation of His son as found in the Scriptures. I doubt anybody would take an exceptions with this as it is pretty much the foundation of Christianity proper. Then we move into how we as a society classify and categorize our relationships and why that is so dangerous for Christian community (aka the four ‘isms). Again … interesting by not terribly controversial (or useful) … especially without any specific advice on how to get folks to actually acknowledge that they are actually doing that in an atmosphere that takes offense at any such suggestion (there are some example sermons in the appendix that are somewhat more helpful though). 

What you do get is an expanded version of learning tact … aka multiple intelligences that helps the preacher understand the audience … in other words, avoid conflict and develop empathy/humility. To be fair … each chapter does offer specific Questions for Reflect and Practical Next Steps that should help you do just that, but not specific examples of how to harness this toward a specific goal (so it remains generic enough to avoid triggering your audience but not how to change them). I guess that is not a huge surprise, given that Chapter 4 is all about not being concerned with results … that is the job of the Holy Spirit … the preacher is just the messenger. While I generally agree with that sentiment, there are problems with this approach … namely that it makes it easy to avoid the introspection needed to understand what went wrong and how to adapt or grow the gifts of the Holy Spirit used. Instead the focus here is on self-development … which is important, but more is needed …

Over all … the book can be summarized by telling us to look up [to God] for inspiration, look inside [yourself] to align with God’s mission, look outside to connect with the community before delivering your message of change/love. Then stand by for heavy rolls and don’t get discouraged … which pretty much seems like common sense to me?

- Chapter 1. The Theological Steps:The Sons of Pride and Prejudice
- Chapter 2. The Contextual Step: America’s Past and Present
- Chapter 3. The Personal Step: Facing Our Sin and Acknowledging Our Prejudices
- Chapter 4. The Positional Step: We Are Heralds, Not Heart-Changers
- Chapter 5. The Methodological Step: A Homiletic for Reconciliation and Unity
- Chapter 6. The Practical Step: Pre-Sermon, Mid-Sermon, and Post-Sermon Practices
- Chapter 7. The Categorical Step: Biblical Themes and Texts
Appendix A: Reflections on Critical Race Theory
Appendix B: Sample Homiletical Integrity Convenant
Appendix C: Essential and Nonessential Doctrines, and Gospel Implications
Appendix D: Sample Muti-church Prayer and Unity Service
Appendix E: Ministries Pursuing Reconciliation and Unity
Appendix F: Further Reading
Appendix G: Sample Sermons (on)
-> Classism
-> Ethnocentrism
-> Political Division
-> Reconciliation
-> Sexism
-> Unity

I was given this free advance review copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#PreachingtoaDividedNation #NetGalley

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.