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Free to Be Bound: Church Beyond the Color Line [Paperback]

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Item description for Free to Be Bound: Church Beyond the Color Line by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove...

Color-blind and culturally sensitive, Wilson-Hartgrove's vision of Christianity was transformed when he reached out to his mostly black neighborhood---including a dynamic fellowship. Follow his experience of crossing the color lines that still fragment the body of Christ. His honest and passionate call for true unity within the church will inspire every believer. 208 pages, softcover from NavPress.

Publishers Description
Despite Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove's progressive worldview, he was unaware of the invisible borders separating neighborhood churches in the New South. Then, as a political candidate, he began to reach out to the black community, including a dynamic church. What he discovered forever transformed his view of the body of Christ.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: NavPress
Pages   208
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.1" Width: 5.6" Height: 0.5"
Weight:   0.57 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2008
Publisher   NAV PRESS #111
ISBN  1600061907  
ISBN13  9781600061905  

Availability  0 units.

More About Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is a leader of the new monastic movement and co-founded the Rutba House community in Durham, North Carolina. An associate minister at St. John s Baptist Church in Durham, he also directs the School for Conversion, a partnership among new monastic communities for alternative theological education. His other books include "Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers," "New Monasticism," and "God s Economy.""

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove was born in 1980.

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Classics in Spiritual Formation
  2. Paraclete Essential Deluxe
  3. Paraclete Essentials

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > Race Relations > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about FREE TO BE BOUND?

A critical wakeup call  May 3, 2008
Need to whisper to ourselves this system
stinks and public life was not meant to be
this way. . . . If we continue saying it, the
ideas behind the words will come alive and
grow wings. -- Father Joe's daily journal.

Wilson-Hartgrove's narrative is another important voice in the wakeup calls that are going out to the world, and esp. organized religion, as people begin to open their eyes to the reality around us. Part of the revolution of change it's required reading for the new curriculum of social justice.

The Gospel of Father Joe: Revolutions and Revelations in the Slums of Bangkok
theological reflection framed in personal narrative  Mar 1, 2008
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! In fact, I read it in one sitting. Wilson-Hartgrove's message resonates with me powerfully. I must admit that midway through I became a little worried that he was preparing to say the Church's new identity in Messiah is "black", but he more than adequately addresses this idea as the story progresses. Which is another thing I like about the book. It addresses significant theological issues as part of a narrative - the narrative of our story as recorded in Scripture and of his particular life. I was cheering over statements like, "forsaking one's people to become part of God's people is an experience so radical that it tests the limits of human language."

I took the primary message of the book to be that in Messiah, we are to be a new people, a people with an identity beyond that of race or culture. To go a step further than Wilson-Hartgrove does (at least in this book) we are to have a new culture - that of the people of God.

I pastor a mixed congregation so I've seen firsthand that the "Black church" has also suffered from the ways in which it has failed to take on the character and culture of God's people.

A good follow-on to this book would be an extended reflection on the Torah as God's cultural guide-book for His people? I'm convinced that if we would simply implement the instruction given there that many of the societal ills we battle would be addressed. It's a society of sowers rather than laborers, yet provision is made for those who are unable to be competent managers of their inheritance, etc. Our congregation is struggling to figure out how to implement the instruction of Torah as our model for the culture that God's new people are to take on. We often run into theological conflict from those who want to challenge whether or not they are obligated to forsake pork, or observe the Sabbath, etc. Personally, I think anyone determined to defend their right to live as their neighbor is still asking the wrong questions. I'm happy to discuss the opportunity of living out God's culture-guide, but have essentially no interest in debating whether it's an obligation or not.

The model of the Exodus is clear: God called His people out and fashioned them into a new society, one that challenged by its very existence the cultural norms of surrounding nations. Unfortunately, Israel was less than successful in implementing God's culture, but I believe we have a new opportunity since Pentecost to do this more successfully, now that the Spirit Himself is writing God's laws on our hearts. I suspect it is in this way that we will make Israel after the flesh jealous.

My black friends often talk to me about how the consumption of pork is physically killing the black people. Imagine if they embraced as part of their new identity in Messiah the necessity of abandoning pork. Imagine if whites embraced as part of their new identity the necessity of abandoning the "American dream", and the practice of relieving debt every 7 years. Indeed, if we became convicted of the need to stop charging interest to our brothers in the first place, as the Israelites were forbidden from doing. Imagine if black men became convinced of the need to bless their wives and children- to be a patriarch to their family (without the misogynistic baggage that has been unjustly added to this term).

One of the other evils we have inherited as the American church is a theological reading of the NT that is based on racial prejudice against the Jewish people. I've benefited greatly from the writings of post-Shoah theologians like Clark M. Williamson and pioneers like Walter Kaiser, Jr. But reading the NT again through the eyes of the Jewish Jesus won't be of any value if we aren't willing to then implement a new society in the midst of a culture that calls itself Christian but is indistinguishable from the economic practices, the music, the food, etc. of the world.

I highly recommend this book both as an interesting read and as an excellent contribution to a continuing conversation about the Gospel as a way of life rather than a set of beliefs.

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