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A Fellowship of Differents: Showing the World God's Design for Life Together MP3 CD – Audiobook, Feb. 24 2015
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In this compelling audiobook, Scot McKnight shares his personal experience in the church as well as his study of the Apostle Paul to answer this significant question: What is the church supposed to be?
For most of us the church is a place we go to on Sunday to hear a sermon or to participate in worship or to partake in communion or fellowship with other Christians. Church is all contained within one or two hours on Sunday morning.
The church the Apostle Paul talks about is designed by God to be a fellowship of difference—how people differ socially—and differents—how people differ culturally. God did not design the church to be a two-hour experience on Sunday but a mixture of people from all across the map and spectrum: men and women, rich and poor, Caucasians or African Americans, and Mexican Americans, Latin Americans, Asian Americans, and Indian Americans, and a mixture of people with varying personalities and tastes. The church McKnight grew up in was a fellowship of sames and likes. There was almost no variety in his church. White folks, same beliefs about everything, same tastes in music and worship and sermons and lifestyle. Because of his experience, he writes incisively and compellingly.
The church is God’s world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God’s show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a family.
From the Publisher
Praise for A Fellowship of Differents
"Pour yourself a cup of coffee and settle into this timely, provocative, and challenging book on what it means to be the church."
—Lynn H. Cohick, professor of New Testament, Wheaton College
"Reading this book gave me a new vision for what my church is and what it could be."
—John Mark Comer, Pastor of Teaching and Vision, Bridgetown: A Jesus Church
"A Fellowship of Differents provides a hopeful and an applicable ecclesiology for the twenty-first century that provides insight into the burden and joy of being the church."
—Soong-Chan Rah, Milton B. Engebretson Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism; author of The Next Evangelicalism
"I enthusiastically recommend this book!"
—Rev. Dennis R. Edwards, PhD, senior pastor of The Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis; adjunct seminary instructor in biblical studies
About the Author
- Publisher : Zondervan on Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (Feb. 24 2015)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1501223232
- ISBN-13 : 978-1501223235
- Item weight : 99 g
- Dimensions : 16.51 x 1.59 x 13.97 cm
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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author Scot McKnight
Scot McKnight in A Fellowship of Differents: Showing the World God’s Design for Life Together, argues that our Christian lives are formed by our experiences in and with the church. And so, the shape of the church is of profound importance to understand and embrace because, like it or not, “churches determine the direction of our discipleship.”
McKnight obverses that far too often the church is organized around the principle of “likes” and becomes a gathering of those who are similar in theological persuasion, socio-economic status, race or some other organizing principle (missional, liturgical, contemporary, etc.). But he argues that this kind of homogenization, though definitely easier, short-circuits God's purpose for the church. The main image McKnight uses (surprisingly) is a salad bowl. As he walks the reader through some key texts in the New Testament, he argues that the church is a fellowship of difference and differents all tossed together in one, big, mixed-up, not-always-happy family.
And this, McKnight acknowledges, is hard work.
McKnight contends that “we often attend church for ourselves” which stops us from thinking of church as a communal commitment we make to each other, for the sake of others. This type of commitment can help us look past personal preferences and draws us to love those who are different around us. “We don’t love others for who they are now” he argues, “but for what God will make them in the kingdom.” This is not simply tolerance (which is meaningless word in our western culture), but a deep and foundational commitment to “transcend our differences while remaining different as we live with one another. Our difference is not eliminated, for difference is the vitality of our fellowship.”
McKnight calls the church to unity – not uniformity. Living together in the salad bowl has many challenges, but if we can allow for healthy “differents,” perhaps the church can play a wonderful part in showing the world God’s design for life together.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
McKnight builds his work upon biblical and theological scholarship and still writes in a very accessible way for everyone. It is not as creative and transformational as his "Blue Parakeet," but it is an essential message. Indeed, the book should have been unnecessary: what is more basic to Christian experience than that God brings all different kinds of folk together?
It is to this task that New Testament scholar and author Scot McKnight turns his attention in his latest book, A Fellowship of Differents: Showing the World God’s Design for Life Together. In this thematically arranged work, McKnight argues convincingly that our Christian lives are formed by our experiences in and with the church. Thus, the shape of the church is of profound importance to understand and embrace because, like it or not, “churches determine the direction of our discipleship.”
McKnight obverses that all too often the church is organized around the principle of “likes” and becomes a gathering of those who are similar in theological persuasion, socioeconomics, race or any other organizing principle (missional, liturgical, contemporary, etc.). But he argues that this kind of homogenization, though definitely easier, short-circuits the divine purpose of the church.
The main image McKnight employs – perhaps surprisingly – is a salad bowl. Looking at key texts in the New Testament, he argues that the church is a fellowship of difference and differents all tossed together in one, big, mixed-up, not-always-happy family. McKnight rightly acknowledges this kind of fellowship is hard work. He traces the necessary virtues and practices he sees laid out in Paul’s writings that must be present in the church both historically and today in order to achieve this kind of community.
He begins with the necessity of grace that is “both a place and a power” to transform hatred and divisive suspicion into love. This is not just a concept, but a series of commitments and actions undertaken by the “differents” inside the church. After all, “love is a great idea until the one you are called to love happens to be unlike you.”
McKnight contends that “we often attend church for ourselves” which prevents us from thinking of it as a rugged communal commitment we make to each other. This covenant has staying power, can help us look past personal preferences and draws us to love those who are different around us. “We don’t love others for who they are now” he argues, “but for what God will make them in the kingdom.”
This is no mere tolerance, however, but a deep and foundational commitment to “transcend our differences while remaining different as we live with one another. Our difference is not eliminated, for difference is the vitality of our fellowship.”
Overall, there is a clarion call to unity – not uniformity. Living together in the salad bowl has its challenges to be sure, but if we can allow for healthy “differents,” perhaps the church can play a wonderful part in showing the world God’s design for life together.
Top reviews from other countries
Community is not about conformity toward sameness. It is according to popular author, Scot McKnight, a "fellowship of differents." Using the metaphor of a salad bowl, McKnight argues passionately that the Church should look like a "salad" of different tastes, different ingredients, and different mixes. In fact, the Church is "God's world changing social experiment" for bringing all sorts of different people together. Differences are not to be despised but welcomed. Alternatives should be celebrated. This refers to not only gender or ethnicities but also status changes like widows and widowers.
I especially like McKnight's presentation of Pauline theology throughout the book that transcends the work of others I have examined to date. McKnight's research on the life of Paul and the house churches he established is clearly presented throughout the book to show how this is not a new idea but one marked by a counter-cultural way of relating to others which Paul and the early house churches were known for. In order to facilitate the fellowship of differences, McKnight proposes six ideas to keep different people together.
This book is a wonderful contribution to how a "third way" can be realized, to give a fresh breeze of hope for the weary and a renewed sense of purpose in accepting one another not simply because we are different, but because we are all in Christ. There is no single common denominator than to build the church on Christ.
Is this just an unfortunate slip-up? Or does the book focus ONLY on the Church in America? If that's the case, then I don't want to continue because it's not what I thought it was.
And the diversity he tackles is not just ethnic diversity, though that's his strongest argument. He challenges every Christian to examine their routines to see how we're trusting the routine more than we are God. Some thoughts are fleshed out better than others, but all-in-all, a great book.