by Mark R. Gornik
Why this book matters
Rev. Gornik takes the Jeremiah 29:7 message into application in the inner-city. Finding hope for our urban centers in the gospel and in discipleship, he roots the discussion in serious theological and sociological observation and reflection. Far from an ivory tower discussion, Gornik gives us very specific examples of practical impact from his own life and experience in inner-city Baltimore.
In his introduction Gornik brings to the table the key issues to be dealt with in the book: The city, the gospel and discipleship. The author then moves on to summarize the present reality of the country’s most excluded neighborhoods and how they became what they are now. He looks at them for their socio-economic status as well as through a spiritual lens. In the next section the presence, impact and beauty of the church “of the streets” is explored, as well as the things that lead to peace (and what that means in the deepest sense of shalom). The application of these things through community development is explored the lens and theological praxis of Nehemiah. The final section of the book retraces the work of New Song Community Church in Baltimore as well as a vision for the future of God at work in the urban centers of America.
Chapter worth the price of the book
A Church of the Streets. This chapter will redfine for the average reader the blessing and essence of the local body and make relevant the idea that the nature of the church is key to bring life and hope to the city. It will challenge you notion of things like eating together, hospitality, and the “now” elements of the Kingdom of God.
Quote: “A[n innercity] community church, therefore, will not “have a ministry” so much as it will be a community of people who read scripture together, who share in the hope of the gospel, and who share every joy, tragedy and resource in Christ (Acts 2:42)” p 87.
If you liked this book you may want to consider
Until Justice and Peace Embrace by Nicholas Wolterstorff.
Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf
The Beloved Community by Charles Marsh