Beyond “Us” and “Them”

We’re all still a little shocked, a little numb, from the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday morning, where 50 people (including the gunman) were killed, and approximately as many injured.

I hope we are. Because we should be shocked when demonization of anyone unlike ourselves has such frankly evil effect.

A few years ago, when I was still trying to make church a viable option for myself, I came across Ken Howard’s book Paradoxy: Christian Community Beyond Us and Them. I started an online discussion in one of my LinkedIn groups, which quickly became acrimonious because Ken’s proposals require dramatic changes in the way churches do what they’re supposed to do. And as we know, no matter how badly it is needed, the churches need to change or they will cease to exist–sooner rather than later.

As a result of the acrimony, Ken and I developed a correspondence, collaborated on a couple of blog posts, and become good friends–despite never having (to our knowledge) ever been in the same room at the same time.

Because the events in Orlando are such a dramatic instance of “us” vs “them” in our national life, Ken has taken a bold step. He has bought back the rights to Paradoxy, and is offering it for free (a small shipping charge is required).

In the wake of this tragedy, and others like it, I urge you to accept this generous offer, and read this excellent book.

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