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No one likes to eat alone; to approach a table filled with people, only to be told that despite the open chairs there isn't room for you. The rejection stings. It leaves a mark. Yet this is exactly what the church has been saying to far too many people for far too long: "You're not welcome here. Find someplace else to sit." How can we extend unconditional welcome and acceptance in a world increasingly marked by bigotry, fear, and exclusion? Pastor John Pavlovitz invites readers to join him on the journey to find--or build--a church that is big enough for everyone. He speaks clearly into the heart of the issues the Christian community has been earnestly wrestling with: LGBT inclusion, gender equality, racial tensions, and global concerns. A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, Hopeful Spiritual Community asks if organized Christianity can find a new way of faithfully continuing the work Jesus began two thousand years ago, where everyone gets a seat. Pavlovitz shares moving personal stories and his careful observations as a pastor to set the table for a new, more loving conversation on these and other important matters of faith. He invites us to build the bigger table Jesus imagined, practicing radical hospitality, total authenticity, messy diversity, and agenda-free community.
In this provocative tell-all, David Gushee gives an insider's look at the frictions and schisms of evangelical Christianity, based on his experiences that began with becoming a born-again Southern Baptist in 1978 to being kicked out of evangelicalism in 2014 for his stance on LGBT inclusion in the church. But Gushee's religious pilgrimage proves even broader than that, as he leads his reader through his childhood experiences in Roman Catholicism, his difficult days at the liberal Union Seminary in New York, his encounters with the Christian Right, and more. In telling his story, Gushee speaks to the cultural divisions of a generation, as well as of today, and to those who have themselves been disillusioned by many battles within American Christianity. As he describes his own struggles to find the right path at different stages of his journey, he highlights the turning points and decisions that we all face. When do we compromise, and when we do we stand our ground? Is holding to moral conviction worth sacrificing friendship, jobs, and security? As he takes us through his sometimes-amusing, sometimes-heartbreaking, and always-stirring journey, Gushee shows us that we can retain our faith in Christ even when Christians disappoint us.
The renowned Christian preacher and New York Times bestselling author of An Altar in the World recounts her moving discoveries of finding the sacred in unexpected places while teaching world religions to undergraduates in Baptist-saturated rural Georgia, revealing how God delights in confounding our expectations. Christians are taught that God is everywhere--a tenet that is central to Barbara Brown Taylor's life and faith. In Holy Envy, she continues her spiritual journey, contemplating the myriad ways she encountered God while exploring other faiths with her students in the classroom, and on field trips to diverse places of worship. Both she and her students ponder how the knowledge and insights they have gained raise important questions about belief, and explore how different practices relate to their own faith. Inspired by this intellectual and spiritual quest, Barbara turns once again to the Bible for guidance, to see what secrets lay buried there. Throughout Holy Envy, Barbara weaves together stories from her classroom with reflections on how her own spiritual journey has been challenged and renewed by connecting with people of other traditions--and by meeting God in them. At the heart of her odyssey is her trust that it is God who pushes her beyond her comfortable boundaries and calls us to "disown" our privatised versions of the divine--a change that ultimately deepens her relationship with both the world and with God, and ours.

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