a long way down, by nick hornby.
bob carlton, one of the more generous people i know, sent me this in the mail (presumably after he read it, presumably assuming i would like it). what a fantastic novel. four extremely different people happen to meet on the roof of a building in london on their way to jumping off. the awkwardness of shared space prevents them from jumping and they depart on a rather silly mission together. somehow their little club finds a bit of connectedness and sticks together for months, while each of their stories evolve. told in first person, alternatively, by all four voices.
emerging churches: creating christian community in postmodern cultures, by eddie gibbs and ryan k. bolger.
i’ve been wanting to read this book ever since i heard of it. gibbs and bolger conducted a five-year study of emerging churches in the UK and the US. the biggest strength of the book is that they are the very first, in my opinion, to effectively describe the unifying factors in otherwise divergent emerging churches. lots of first-person quoting from actual emerging church leaders. they book maintains a reasonable ‘distance’ — trying be a semi-neutral observer, which is fine if not good. my only hesitation on the book is that it seems, between the lines, that the authors have such a strong pre-disposition to see the emerging church as the best thing on the horizon that, occaisionally, the neutral observer approach doesn’t ring true. i’m hoping this won’t hurt the book’s credibility with critics — because it really is a great book.