A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community (2017)
Author(s): John Pavlovitz
Amazon UK: A Bigger Table
Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming
Genre(s): Advice – spiritual and practical, Contemporary Christian practice and experience, Memoir/autobiography, Spirituality, and Theology
Topic(s): Biblical studies, Discrimination against and hostility towards LGBT+ people, Inclusive Christianity, Journeys towards acceptance, Pastoral issues, and Spirituality
No one likes to eat alone; to approach a table filled with people, only to be told that despite the open chairs there isn’t room for you. The rejection stings. It leaves a mark. Yet this is exactly what the church has been saying to far too many people for far too long: “You’re not welcome here. Find someplace else to sit.” How can we extend unconditional welcome and acceptance in a world increasingly marked by bigotry, fear, and exclusion? Pastor John Pavlovitz invites readers to join him on the journey to find – or build – a church that is big enough for everyone. He speaks clearly into the heart of the issues the Christian community has been earnestly wrestling with: LGBT inclusion, gender equality, racial tensions, and global concerns. A Bigger Table asks if organized Christianity can find a new way of faithfully continuing the work Jesus began two thousand years ago, where everyone gets a seat. Pavlovitz shares moving personal stories and his careful observations as a pastor to set the table for a new, more loving conversation on these and other important matters of faith. He invites us to build the bigger table Jesus imagined, practising radical hospitality, total authenticity, messy diversity, and agenda-free community.
“This book sets out to break the shackles of confinement that a lot of churches find themselves in. There are people who are distressed by traditional religion, but yet feel a connection to God somehow, and might describe themselves as spiritual. The bigger table where anyone might meet one’s faith or even meet Jesus is at the fellowship of the table. There are four legs: radical hospitality, total authenticity, true diversity, and an agenda-free community. This means not pre-judging people, not hiding behind a false front, being really diverse (racial and sexual), and not being a church that secretly lays out a path for acceptance. We need to address the fear in ourselves and in other people to really be the church. All this can be messy, and the author doesn’t lay out a specific paradigm that one has to follow; maybe the Holy Spirit is the director.” — vpfluke
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