We have always believed that one of the most important aspects of the parish ministry is "equipping the saints." The dictionary meaning for the term equipping is "to supply with intellectual, emotional or spiritual essentials." Equipping is derived from an old French term which means "to put to sea, to embark."
"Equipping the saints" in the 21st century requires that we combine reading books with sacred activism. C. Christopher Smith is a member of the Englewood Christian Church community on the urban Near Eastside of Indianapolis, Indiana, and is the editor of their magazine The Englewood Review of Books. He advocates that Christian congregations slow down in order to savor the wonders, mysteries, and glories of God's unfolding in their homes and neighborhoods.
In the Englewood Christian Church, reading books has been a transformative experience for members who discuss them and seek to then put their insights and meanings into practice. Smith calls this process "reading for the common good."
In chapters on shaping the social imagination, discerning our call, reading with our neighbors, hope for our interconnected creation, and toward faithful engagement in economics and politics, the author puts to sea and with the wind the Holy Spirit shows how adventurous it can be to grow in community by tapping into the glorious bounties and beauties of books.
There are two reading Lists at the end of this helpful paperback:
- Recommended Reading for Going Deeper (keyed to the chapters in the book)
- Englewood Christian Church Reading List (books on theology, Christian community, social criticism, urban issues, food/agriculture, poetry, and fiction)