A friend’s mistake and recommendation prompted me to read Rumors of God by Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson. Richard Burkey attended a Christian conference and received three complimentary books. He had the choice of which three and picked up the two he had planned to read and a third one by mistake. The mistake was Rumors of God, which for him (and me) turned out to be no mistake.
Darren and Jon make this assertion in their Authors’ Note before chapter one.
“Many have the sense that the greatest days of the church are in the past. We humbly disagree. This book is our small rebellion against that notion. We believe that if you listen to the rumors of God, you will hear that God is doing something new in the church. We long to confirm those rumors with our lives.”
The two men are long-time friends who grew up in Australia then moved to America over a dozen years ago. Darren Whitehead is a teaching pastor at Chicago’s Willow Creek Community Church (www.willowcreek.org). Jon Tyson is pastor of Trinity Grace Church in New York City (www.trinitygracechurch.com).
Through Scripture and ministry experiences, Whitehead and Tyson cover ten topics concerning God and His work today. They examine abundant life, another dream, generosity, love, grace, freedom, commitment, community, justice, and hope.
In chapter one, “The Sculptor’s Shop: Rumors of Abundant Life,” the opening scene is a church service filled with an unusual assortment of characters. Friends of a former stripper have come in droves to see her baptized. Rebecca experienced new life in Jesus Christ because a faithful young woman entered into the dark underworld of the sex trade and brought the light and love of the Lord. By following the “Click to Look Inside” link, you can read the Foreword, the Authors’ Note, and the opening chapter.
The book teeter-totters between challenge and comfort. On the one hand, the authors will not allow the status quo to creep into the life of the church. Christians are meant to live different lives beyond the typical American dream. Challenging stuff.
On the other hand, they offer evidence that God is active and changing lives for the better. His activity isn’t restricted to a bygone era but continues all around us today. The examples cited in the book provide reason to believe and hope in transformation both as individuals and within our faith communities. Comforting thoughts.
I read the book in small bites, a chapter or two at a time. Although I didn’t plow right through it, I found the book thought provoking, challenging, and helpful, depending on the rumor covered in that morning’s readings. When I came to the final page, I wanted more, always a good sign.
I read the book on my Kindle and used the “bookmark, note, and highlight” feature often. As a public speaker, I appreciated the stories that illustrated each topic. I’ve already had several opportunities to pass on the wisdom, challenge, and comfort found in Rumors of God.
For me, this book made me think about my faith commitment and Christian community in deeper ways. If I’m wise, I’ll take its insights and apply them to a lifestyle that conforms to the image of Christ.
I’d recommend Rumors of God if you…
…want to read modern-day examples of His presence and activity.
…feel disheartened in your faith.
…are disillusioned with church life.
…desire glimpses of authentic Christian community.
…need to dream God dreams.
…want to resuscitate hope.
…desire to rekindle faith’s fire.
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