conversation is an engine

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Juxtapose: How To Build a Church that Counters Culture

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07112013-tumblr_mpqvswZg4K1qbcporo3_500Theological Roots and Practical Hope for Extreme Listening and Honest Talk

A couple nights ago Mrs. Kirkistan and I had dinner with old friends we’d not seen in some time. It was refreshing to catch up and there was lots of that free laughter that happens when old jokes and forgotten quirks reappear. At one point someone asked whether we were hopeful about the state of the evangelical church. We each offered an opinion.

Mine: “No.”

It’s actually a qualified “No”: my sense is that the evangelicalism has largely lost its way following industrial-strength, church-growth formulas and it has also sold its soul to political machinery. Following these tangents we’ve lost the essence of what it means to counter culture by speaking the words that stand outside of time.

I’m actually quite hopeful about what God is doing—especially in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. We’ve seen a number of groups trying very new things while employing deeply-rooted devotion to sacred texts and veering from partisan nonsense. So my sense is that evangelicalism is morphing and, frankly (I hope) growing up.

For a couple years now I’ve been laying down about a thousand words a day toward this book dealing with the theological and philosophical roots of communication. It’s been a one-step-forward-seven-steps-back process. But I’ve just finished Chapter 8 and by the end of July I’ll deliver the manuscript to my editor friend. I’ll likely self-publish it later this year—I’ll probably have to pay people to read it (Know this: I cannot afford more than $5 a reader. So both of you readers give a call when you are ready. I’ll put a fresh Lincoln in the Preface.)

The book offers new ways to think about the ordinary interactions we have every day. It draws on a few philosophically-minded thinkers and reconsiders some old Bible stories to reframe the opportunity of conversation. It also provides a kick in the butt to move out of our familiar four walls to engage deeply with culture—but not from a standpoint of judgment, rather from a deep curiosity and love. I’ll be sharpening the marketing messages over the next few months, but here are the chapter titles so far:

Would you stop browsing at Barnes and Noble long enough to pick up a book that looked like this?

Would you stop browsing at Barnes and Noble long enough to pick up a book that looked like this?

  1. The Preacher, Farmer and Everybody Else
  2. Intent Changes How We Act Together
  3. How to be with the God Intent on Reunion
  4. Your Church as a Conversation Factory
  5. Extreme Listening
  6. A Guide to Honest Talk
  7. Prayer Informs Listening and Talking
  8. Go Juxtapose

Let me know if anything of what I’ve said sounds like you might actually be interested in reading. However: I can only afford to buy a limited number of readers.

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Image credit: Daniele Buetti via 2headedsnake

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5 Responses

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  1. I appreciated your thoughts on the church, and have been thinking along the same lines of our communication and attitudes in our daily interactions. Have you read “Repenting of Religion” by Greg Boyd? He gives some good insights on how our habitual “judgments” prevent ascribing value and worth to individuals.

    carol lutz

    July 11, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    • Carol–thanks for your comment and for reading. I’ve not read Mr. Boyd’s book but I’ll put it on my list.

      kirkistan

      July 11, 2013 at 1:02 pm

  2. […] This is one concept as I work out the marketing messages for Juxtapose: How to Build a Church That Counters Culture. […]

  3. […] This spot from Canal+ captures what happens to any of us with a good story. It’s helping me rethink how I present the story of Juxtapose. […]

  4. […] have a goal of publishing ListenTalk: Conversation is an Engine early this year (that’s right, Juxtapose: How to Build a Church that Counters Culture is back to the original title, for those who follow such things), and I have a few milestones with […]


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