Next Book Announced…

Tolerance: Paul Little says the following about the word; “We live in an age in which tolerance is a key word.  Tolerance, however, must be clearly understood.”  Truth is truth and if someone believes something that is false, truth is an enemy of that person’s beliefs.  Little continues “One is not regarded as intolerant because he disagrees….One must be tolerant of other points of view and respect their right to be held and heard.  He cannot, however, be forced in the name of tolerance to agree that all points of view, including those that are mutually contradictory, are equally valid.”

I include these comments to give us a transition point to our next book which will be very challenging.

I am going to devote today’s post to announcing our next book.

My intent is not to change the world by blogging on this book. There is a very small readership for St. John Studies.  My intent is certainly not to lose the few folks who come to the blog either.

However, given the nature of the times, I feel it is necessary to address the issues of the day directly, from a Christian point of view.

Too often in the world today, we see increasing numbers of people who have thrown tolerance “out the window.” I have concerns that this is happening.  I believe in discussion, dialogue and exchange of ideas.  That is my life’s work, communication between humans.

With this in mind, I am announcing our next book on a day that I usually take a day off from the blog, a Monday. Maybe this is the best day to announce that our next book will be Adam Hamilton’s book Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White.

You might ask who is this Adam Hamilton?

He is the senior pastor of the 20,000 member United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. It is the largest United Methodist congregation in the United States, measured by both weekend attendance and membership. Average weekly attendance for all campuses was 10,274 people for 2012. The congregation has expanded to several sites in the Kansas City area, including an online congregation. Rev. Hamilton has received numerous awards, including two honorary doctorates, the B’nai B’rith award in Social Ethics, the Denman Award in Evangelism, and the Circuit Rider Award for excellence in church leadership. He was named one of the “Ten People to Watch in America’s Spiritual Landscape” by Religion & Ethics Newsweekly and Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church by the Foundation for Evangelism. He is a Trustee at Saint Paul School of Theology and a member of the Kansas East Board of Professional Ministry. He lectures on leadership and evangelism, and preaches across the country.

In a recent district meeting of the Madisonville District of the UMC, I was amazed at the number of pastors who mentioned they were studying a book written by Adam Hamilton.

That seemed to put the idea firmly in my heart. The problem is that the book I have picked is Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White, a book dealing with Hamilton’s thoughts on religion, morality and politics.

In writing about the book, here’s what a reviewer says about the book: “Everyone agrees that America is polarized, with ever-hardening positions held by people less and less willing to listen to one another. No one agrees on what to do about it.  One solution that hasn’t yet been tried is for thinking persons of faith to model for the rest of the country a richer, more thoughtful conversation on the political, moral, and religious issues that divide us. Hamilton rejects the easy assumptions and sloppy analysis of black and white thinking, seeking instead the truth that resides on all sides of the issues, and offering a faithful and compassionate way forward. He writes, ‘I don’t expect you to agree with everything I’ve written. I expect that in the future even I won’t agree with everything I’ve written here. The point is not to get you to agree with me, but to encourage you to think about what you believe. In the end I will be inviting those of you who find this book resonates with what you feel is true, to join the movement to pursue a middle way between the left and the right – to make your voices heard – and to model for our nation and for the church, how we can listen, learn, see truth as multi-sided, and love those with whom we disagree.’”

I have waffled on picking this book but with recent events in this political season, I feel it may be the best pick for the times. It is my prayer that I will be able to write some healing comments on St. John Studies as we continue this run up to the time of the year when we elect America’s President.


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