Tuesday, March 07, 2006

On the same page

One of the great things that Cincinnati has is our Public Library -- easily the best library system I've seen yet. Among the reasons I like the Library is the annual community reading project: On the Same Page. The idea is this -- once a year, a team picks a book that they will encourage the whole city to read. Then they will provide discussion resources and interesting venues through which the community can come together and talk. It's a great exercise in community building that has been done quite successfully in other cities.

By now, you know my bias toward having Christians engage in the community in winsome and positive ways -- and this is one of those great opportunities. We are being invited to read and respond and engage in the community -- it doesn't get any easier than this. What a great chance to read, reflect through a theological lens, and then engage with the watching world.

This requires preparation -- reading the material, interacting with the discussion questions, and thinking theologically (not just what does the book say about faith - but what does the story show about the great themes of sin, redemption, dignity and depravity, hope, and the eternal -- all these themes point striaght to the gospel).

Of course engaging also requires listening -- not just waiting to make your case, but truly listening and getting inside the worldview of the others who are speaking. If their approach is different from yours, you don't have to refute their perspective, simply say "well, I come from a different perspective...." No one can argue with that.

Over the next few posts, I'll try to take you through my experience with this year's On the Same Page book: The Curious Incident of the Dog at Nighttime. I'd be very interested in comments from those of you who have read the book or participated in On the Same Page in the past.

Soli Deo Gloria