Popular notions of Christian spirituality today tend to focus on getting us out of the world or getting the world out of us. Many are looking to spirituality as a means of disengaging from this life—to experience the transcendent or discover personal wholeness. On the other hand, much of popular Christian thought seems to be about avoiding the corruption of the world by being pious and following the rules.
But Jesus offers a radical model for living. As the Incarnate One who dwelt among us to accomplish the mission of God, he teaches us how to dwell in the world for the sake of the world. If we are to become like him, we must learn what it means to live out this missional spirituality in the places we dwell.
What does a Christian life deeply rooted in the logic of the Incarnation look like? Missional teacher and pastor Barry Jones shares his vision for authentic Christian spirituality focused on becoming more like Jesus. We dwell in a specific place and time in history, with unique bodies and in a world for which God has great purposes of redemption. This presence in the world should lead us to pattern our lives after the life of Jesus who was a boundary breaker, a shalom-maker, a people-keeper, and a wounded-healer.
"Jesus' life shows us what it looks like to be fully human, to be whole and holy . . . to be in the world and not of the world, to live passionately for the world and not protectively withdrawn from it, " says Jones. "Allowing the logic of the Incarnation to inform our vision of the spiritual life corrects the tendency toward a self-oriented pursuit of transcendence or a negative spirituality of behavior modification and disengagement from the world."
Including practical suggestions for real-life application and questions for discussion, Jones describes living a missional life from a place of deep connection with and dependence on God. Not only must we have a clear and compelling vision of the life we want to live, but we must also cultivate the spiritual disciplines necessary to live out our vision in the specific contexts of day-to-day life. We need a renewed vision of Christian spirituality that leads us to be conformed into the image of Christ who dwelt with us for us.
"In this exploration of missional spirituality, Barry Jones offers an assessment of our broken world and the common errors and bent practices that subvert a rich engagement. Then he shows us the horizon: a vision of the coming shalom of God's kingdom. But more than a mere vision, he shows us the path to pursue in living with God for the world, a grammar for the disciplines in five words: attentiveness, receptivity, embodiment, community, and rhythm. In a lovely integration of head and heart, he closes with a chapter on 'placemaking.' The covenantal triangle has not changed: God, people and place—that's the way to shalom and God's new world!"
"To hear Barry tell it, living with-God-for-the-world is the key to all human flourishing. . . . In this nexus lies the hope of real, abundant, rich, beautiful human existence. It?s the place that Jesus modeled for us and about which he spoke when he urged us to love God with all our hearts and souls and minds, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. . . . Dwell makes a profound and timely contribution to both missional and pastoral studies."
"Dwell is an excellent book on a very important topic that we are only just beginning to grapple with—the meaning of incarnational ministry in the church that follows the incarnated One. Oh, and it is well-written to boot. Enjoy!"
"This book is highly recommended. The presentation is accessible to a wide audience; yet scholars will find it helpful. It is written at a level that educated laypeople will find encouraging and challenging; yet pastors and Christian leaders will find it stimulating. It is practical in its application and well illustrated. It is biblically grounded, theologically informed, and culturally focused. It would make an excellent choice for a small group discussion as well as an introductory textbook for spiritual formation courses. It should be on the reading list of everyone interested in following Jesus into the world with the good news of hope and redemption."
"This fused missional spirituality/spiritual missionality is creation-affirming, people-affirming, body-affirming; it is intimately connected to God's presence and just reign and majors in sharing God's dream of shalom, allowing that dream to pervade our lives."
Introduction: The Incarnation and Christian Spirituality
1. The Stories We Live and the Stories We Live Into: Biblical Narrative and the Vision of God
2. Bent and Broken: The Vision of God and the Vandalism of Shalom
3. The Dwelling Place of God: The Vision of God and the Presence of the Spirit
4. Glimpses of the World to Come: The Vision of God and the Way of Jesus
5. A Grammar of the Disciplines: Practicing the Vision in Everyday Life
6. Let It Be: Practicing the Vision in Prayer
7. The Work of the People: Practicing the Vision in Corporate Worship
8. Table Manners: Practicing the Vision through Feasting and Fasting
9. Shabbat Shalom: Practicing the Vision in Sabbath Rest
10. Blessed Are the Placemakers: Living the Vision in the Contexts of our Lives