I arrived home from Sentralized this year with a stack of books and a lot of extra motivation. My plan was to plow through the pile, riding the wave of inspiration that began in the sessions and conversations. I thought I'd kick off my book binge with the long-awaited winner of the Great Forge Write-Off, but Dwell: Life with God for the World by Barry Jones is not the kind of book you rush through.
I often hear the critique of the missional church movement that the move toward action abandons the internal spiritual life. In Dwell, Jones addresses this concern, arguing that both are necessary. He says that without mission, what we have is a "Narcissistic Spituality," focused only on our internal lives. On the other hand, mission without deep spiritual roots can become mere activism, leaning more toward what he calls he calls "Promethean Spirituality." Spiritual rhythms and disciplines should never take the place of an active, missional faith. But Jones makes a great case that they shouldn't be abandoned, either--they should fuel mission, and they should be our response to mission. In Dwell, Jones engages how we might rethink some common, essential rhythms: prayer, corporate worship, sabbath, feasting, and fasting. He places each one before us, richly wrapping it in scripture and story, and calls us to re-value it as an integral part of mission.
I took my time with Dwell, let it take root in me, over the course of almost two months. Forgive the kitchiness of this, but I moved into this book, hid away in it whenever I could during a very busy season. I'm Mom to one very rambunctious three-year-old and the keeper of not one, not two, but three volunteer roles (as well as one sporadic, occasionally-pays-the-bills freelance writing dream), so I'm not going to lie--my life spins around a little too quickly, a little too often. Spiritual disciplines are not my claim to fame, and I don't naturally move toward books that might shine a light on my deficiency in this area. But I came away from Dwell breathing more deeply, inspired that this life with God for the world was within reach, in spite of my compulsive over-scheduling and my harried, sometimes anxious heart. To say I'd recommend it is an understatement.
The Forge tribe champions everyday practitioners, and the heart of the Great Forge Write-Off was to give a voice to a missional thinker who had not previously been published. Dwell makes an important contribution to the missional conversation. We're so grateful for our fantastic partnership with Intervarsity Press who made this contest possible, and we couldn't be happier with the outcome.
About the Author
Kimberly Culbertson works with the communication team to steward the stories of our tribe, and loves coffee almost as much as she loves Jesus.