We all live in community at differing levels. Of course we are part of the community of humanity. But we are also part of the community which is our country; the community of our city, town, neighborhood, church and family.
We interact with other people every day. As Christians, as followers of Jesus, how are we to ‘be’ in the communities we exist in?
How we are in the everyday of life should be something we think about. Do we leave our ‘faith’ at home when we go to work, or school, or college? Do we have our quiet times in the morning but then are indistinguishable during the day from anyone else we interact with? Or maybe the opposite is true. Maybe we are generous and kind and giving and service-hearted but our faith is not the driving force. James Bryan Smith suggests that how we act in community should be inseparably connected with what is going on inside us spiritually. In The Good and Beautiful Community Smith challenges us to balance contemplation and action; piety and mercy; personal devotion and social service, all in the context of our every day life.
This is an immensely practical book. It is not just to be read, it is to be ‘done’. The ‘Soul Training’ sections at the end of each chapter help the reader to think and put into practice what has been said with suggestions for action for the days following. At the end of the book, Smith has provided a very helpful section on “Writing A Soul-Training Plan”. This helps you to look at how you are with God, with yourself and with others, and then helping you to create a plan of action to develop and grow in these areas.
This is a great book for small groups to work through together.