Resources - Books

Alexander, John F., The Secular Squeeze: Reclaiming Christian Depth in a Shallow World (Inter-Varsity Press, Downer's Grove, Illinois, 1993).This is a great book, not only for its lucid critique of the philosophical trends that distort the average person's view of life, but also for its powerful case for the need for Church to be a loving community. The author, himself a member of an intentional Christian Community, has done a great job in presenting a sensitive, thought provoking book that can help the sincere Christian in his/her quest to live a life of depth and integrity.

The Secular Squeeze was selling at Amazon.com
for around $14.00 as of 10/18/2001.

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Banks, Robert, Paul's Idea of Community: The Early House Churches in Their Cultural Setting (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 1994), An excellent study of the house churches Paul founded within the New Testament period, and a presentation of implications for Christian Community in the Church today.

Paul's Idea of Community was selling at Amazon.com
for around $10.36 as of 10/18/2001.

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Clapp, Rodney, A Peculiar People (Inter Varsity Press, Downer's Grove, Illinois, 1996). The book offers some great Biblical and sociological background for the Church as community - though he does “beg off” a bit in applying his exposition.

A Peculiar People was selling at Amazon.com
for around $12.00 as of 2/21/2000.

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Chittister (OSB), Joan Wisdom Distilled From the Daily: Living the Rule of the St. Benedict Today (HarperSanFrancisco, 1991)Although the focus of her reflections around community come from her life in the Benedictine order, and although at times I think she fails to see that the call of the Christian Community is to redeem the world by welcoming people into its redemptive environment rather than doing “redemptive” things in a world decidedly against redemption, the book is still excellent. Anyone who wishes to truly know the attitudes one must have in order for a group of people to be community will offer up a prayer of thanks for having found this book. If only the chapters on “Obedience” and “Stability” existed, the book would be great. Overall, the contents of the book live up to its title, the book is distilled wisdom worthy to be savored slowly, reflectively, prayerfully.

Wisdom Distilled From the Daily was selling
at Amazon.com for around $10.00 as of 3/2000.

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Clark, Steven B.,Building Christian Communities; Strategy for Renewing the Church(Lansing, Michigan, Covenant Books, 1992).This book clearly addresses a Roman Catholic audience, but this should not discount the tremendous insights the author has in delineating the differences between true Community and what often appears to be Community but is not. This book has a lot of wisdom about illustrating the difference between the structures which encourage true community and relationship building, and the task-oriented, program based structures which indirectly compromise meaningful relationships.

We are sorry, but we cannot provide you a link to acquire this book. You can get a copy, however, by contacting either The Word of Joy Foundation, Unit-One, Don Alejandro Roces Avenue, Laging Handa, Quezon City, Philippines. (Tel. No. 99-54-45) or Covenant Books, 1516 Jerome Street, Lansing, Michigan, 48912. (No price is listed for this item).

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Ellul, Jacques, The Presence of the Kingdom, (Seabury Press, New York, 1967), An excellent book from a brilliant Christian philosopher-sociologist. The work critiques the present way we think about God’s Kingdom, and calls the Church to adopt the more environmental, relational, and organic view [i.e., the Biblical perspective]. This book has the potential of being truly revolutionary … it is clear, that the author’s hope is that it would be!

The Presence of the Kingdom was selling at
Amazon.com for around $15.25 as of 2/21/2000.


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Each of the following books from Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon offer a great preliminary apologetic for seeing the Church as an alternate society, and as a demonstration of God’s reign and ethic, rather merely as a subculture, or a lobbying group for “moral values” that it often is. I very highly recommend both of these books.

Hauerwas, Stanley, Willimon, William, Resident Aliens,(Abingdon Press, 1989). From Editorial Reviews- Synopsisat Amazon: In this bold and visionary book, two leading Christian thinkers explore the alien status of Christians in today's world. A provocative Christian assessment of culture and ministry for people who know that something is wrong. …Two leading Christian thinkers explore the “alien” status of Christians in today's world, and offer a new vision of how the church can regain its vitality and stand firmly against the illusion, pretension, and eroding values of today's world.

Resident Aliens was selling at Amazon.com
for around $10.40 as of 2/21/2000.


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Stanley Hauerwas, William H. Willimon, Where Resident Aliens Live, (Abingdon Press, 1996). From Editorial Reviews-Synopsisat Amazon: A no-nonsense sequel to Resident Aliens, this book tells how to go about transforming a church into a gathering of “resident aliens.” It is an assessment of the world and culture in which we live, and an analysis of what is called for to retain a Christian stance within that culture.

Where Resident Aliens Live was selling at Amazon.com
for around $10.40 as of 10/23/2001.

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The following two excellent books by Howard Synder make a definitive apologetic for the Church being a multi-diverse Community, uniquely enabled by God to reflect His Kingdom something beyond the scope, ability or definition of any other Christian organization.

Snyder, Howard, Radical Renewal: The Problem of Wineskins, (Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 1975). From the 1975 edition: “Today’s evangelical churches have drifted farther than they realize from the biblical pattern they espouse–and the drift has been toward dullness and ineffectiveness. Snyder’s book exposes the dimensions of this drift and calls the churches back to love, power and simplicity.” Ray C. Stedman author of Body Life.

Radical Renewal was selling at Amazon.com
for around $10.36 as of 10/23/2001.

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Snyder, Howard, The Community of the King(Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 1975). From the back cover: “Howard Snyder probes the relationship between the kingdom of God and the church as we know it in our daily life. The church is a part of God’s dramatic plan to reconcile all things to himself, “things in heaven and things on earth.” The New Testament calls this reconciling work the kingdom of God.

The Community of the Kingwas selling at Amazon.com
for around $12.00 as of 2/22/2000.


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Janzen, David (And Others in Shalom Mission Communities), Fire, Salt, and Peace: Intentional Christian Communities Alive in North America (Shalom Mission Communities, Evanston, Illinois 60202). An introduction to the meaning and vision of intentional Christian Community along with a profile of several functioning intentional Christian Communities in the US and Canada. The book is a straightforward, unromantic look at specific groups trying to be an intentional, Christian community.

Fire, Salt, and Peace: was shown as “Out of Print” at
Amazon.com and was being offered “used” as of 10/23/2001.


I would like to purchase this book from the author
DJ-JANZEN@juno.com
(Mailing address: David Janzen, Reba Place Fellowship,
726 Monroe Street, Evanston, Illinois, 60202)


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Shelley, Bruce and Marshall, The Consumer Church: Can Evangelicals Win the World Without Losing Their Souls? This is an excellent analysis of the contemporary American Evangelical Church, and how the American culture has turned it away from a model that embraces discipleship and community. The book ends with a note of encouragement citing an instance of a particular Evangelical congregation that is trying to counter popular trends, by moving more into a relational model of Church.

Unfortunately this excellent book is out of print. When we discovered this, we bought a large quantity from a major bookseller so that we could make it available to others who share our concern for the state of the Church. Suggested donation: $7.00

I would like to place an order for:
The Consumer Church: Can Evangelicals
Win the World Without Losing Their Souls?

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Wells, David F., Losing Our Virtue: Why the Church Must Recover Its Moral Vision (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI, 1998) This book is not so much about community as what has happened through the Church’s failure to be an explicitly Christian environment. The book is sobering, insightful, and offers a prophetic x-ray of the life of the contemporary Church; a people who can no longer distinguish between right and wrong, holiness from profanity, sanity from foolishness. Although I cannot concur with the author’s suggestion that a mere return to Biblical [i.e. Reformation] mindset will counter the influences of the culture in the Church, I would agree that clear thinking is essential if we will ever recognize an alternative to the bog of self-indulgence that we trapped in.

Losing Our Virtue was selling at Amazon.com
for around $14.00 as of 10/23/2001.


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Webber, Robert E., Ancient-Future Faith (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1999). Although the book is certainly helpful in providing a historical background for the worship of the Ancient Church, and although its perspectives as to how the Church can address post-modern concerns make it worthwhile reading, the real value of the book is found in Part Six: A Classical Post Modern Mission (chapters 17-19). These chapters powerfully express the Church’s call to manifest the Kingdom rather than just talk about it. Webber shares why this view is essential if the Church is to be the Church, and if it hopes to be a significant impact on our society. In my opinion, these chapters alone make the book worth reading.

Ancient-Future Faith was selling at Amazon.com
for around $13.40 as of 10/23/2001.

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Zizioulas, John, Being As Communion : Studies in Personhood and the Church (Contemporary Greek Theologians Series, No 4). This book gives an absolutely brilliant Trinitarian vision for the Church as community. Although the book is a wonderful contribution to the greater Church, it was written by a noted Orthodox Patristic Scholar, and it reads like it was written by one; i.e., it can be challenge for the non-specialist to plough through. This warning, however, should in no way steer away the serious seeker; the book presents a vantage point that few have ever had the privilege to consider, one which all who miss such an opportunity would be deeply deprived for the lack.

Being As Communioncan be obtained via special order
at Amazon.com for $17.95 (as of 10/23/2001)


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Amazon.com also recommends the following titles: These recommendations are based on a keyword search of "christian community" and change everytime the page is refreshed. Every title given may not necessarily reflect the opinions and perspectives of Rebuild Journal.




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