How do we make sense of God’s love among the urban poor, and among the rest of us who are hungry for good news in the hard and sometimes forgotten places of our own lives? Kris Rocke and Joel Van Dyke invite us to discover for ourselves the unexpected nature of grace among those who have been labeled the least, last and lost—and their inextricable link to forgotten and disturbing Bible stories.
When it comes to grace, geography matters. This book is a conversation about what it means to teach and preach good news in hard places. Graphic but never gratuitous, Rocke and Van Dyke are lyrical, poetic, irreverent, and playful. They are as rigorous in their study of applied theology as they are accessible in telling their stories of adventures in urban ministry. The authors share their own discovery of that which has been “hidden since the foundations of the earth,” and they do it by standing with those who have stood alone, finding joy in being counted among the transgressors. They offer a new kind of orthodoxy that is as old as the gospel itself. Far from a dogmatic theology, the burden of this book is uncommonly light, but it is not without its demands. If you are up for a life-changing adventure, then get ready to “assume the risks” of exploring Christian theology in the most challenging settings of urban ministry.
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“In this challenging book, graceful writing meets grace-full theology. The wounds of the world cry out in poetry and poignancy; the call to care crushes complacency; places below rise to expose suffering and healing in the depths; darkness shines upon light, transforming Word and world in reading, hearing and doing.”
Baldwin Professor Emerita of Sacred Literature
Union Theological Seminary
New York City
Author of Texts of Terror and God and Rhetoric of Sexuality – Overtures to Biblical Theology.
“In Geography of Grace you will be exposed to some of the first fruits of a really novel insight into Christian faith and living. What a rich understanding of how Jesus steps into our shame and holds it in tenderness so that we can really learn to love! And how much clearer, now, that this, which we have so easily missed, goes to the core of the Gospel.”
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Author of On Being Liked, The Joy of Being Wrong and Broken Hearts, and New Creations – Intimations of a Great Reversal.
“One good thing about being a freelance monotheist is that you get to be proud of your more sectarian pals’ theological insights, spiritual growth, and compassionate ministries, whether they are Christians, Muslims, Jews. As thousands of street-level people-lovers all over the world already know, my brothers Kris and Joel are the best kind of Jesus people – kind, wise, and soulful. As you are about to find out, they are also first class thinkers. This isn’t a joint memoir, or a how-to ministry book, or a polemic against selfish materialism…. This is a seriously biblical, thoroughly Christian, ‘from the gutter’ reflection on the nature of God’s relationship with humankind.”
Communicator, pastor, and activist
“This is a beautiful book and a true book, proving again that they are the same thing! You will get to the essentials quickly here, and in a way that will change you both painlessly and painfully. I am currently in my “hermitage” on the California shore, writing a book on The Resurrection and the True Self. There is plenty of True Self and Resurrection in this book.”
[Fr.] Richard Rohr,O.F.M.
Center for Action and Contemplation
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Author of Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer and The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See