Weekend Reads: “A Bigger Table”

If you aren’t following John Pavlovitz’ excellent blog, Stuff That Needs To Be Said, I highly recommend that you do so. Then, pick up his book and, as John says, be encouraged.

A Bigger TableA Bigger Table by John Pavlovitz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Have you ever read a book and thought “This author is speaking to me at a time when I really need to hear this message”?

Well, that was me with this book. I heard Pastor Pavlovitz speak on August 19, and bought his book. I have been following his blog for a while, but it was a special treat to hear him in a town near me.

This book talks about things that spoke to my heart: Pavlovitz, as a pastor, struggles with the label “Christian” because of the baggage that now comes with it. I feel the same struggle, despite my belief in Jesus’ radical teachings of love and inclusion.

And that’s the whole thing: Pavlovitz lays out where the modern church has lost track of what Jesus taught, focusing more on media experiences than community, and on being more homogeneous than expansive. He lays out some of his own experiences as a minister, even talking about where he didn’t get it right and his own growing pains.

Here’s the thing: focusing on inclusion, love, welcome, and kindness goes a long ways. Focusing on exclusion, fear, and “we need to fix you” has the opposite effect.

I highly recommend this book, and offer you the same words with which Pavlovitz autographed my copy: be greatly encouraged.

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