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Practicing the Way of Jesus: Life Together in the Kingdom of Love Paperback – June 27, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Practicing the Way moves beyond theory to action, describing how to begin our own experiments, and so it is probably best read in community." (Relevant Magazine, July/August 2011)

"In Practicing the Way of Jesus Mark Scandrette has brought together a remarkable array of stories, ideas and practical exercises that will enable us all to engage our faith more holistically. I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a more kingdom-focused, justice-oriented approach to spiritual formation." (Christine Sine, author, activist and executive director of Mustard Seed Associates)

"This book provides something we urgently need today: a practice-based approach to spiritual formation. It is an honest account of someone, and several someones, who actually tried to do the things Jesus taught us to do. This book is inspiring because it shows a willingness to take risks, and is honest at the same time. Focusing on practice can tend toward legalism, but Mark avoids any hint of legalism by stressing the inner character over the outer action and, as he puts it so beautifully, not merely engaging in pious practices, but 'learning to dance to God's song.' In an age when we talk more about spirituality than we practice it, this book will provide us a healthy balance. It is a much-needed approach to Christian formation for the current generation and beyond." (James Bryan Smith, author of The Apprentice Series)

"We often think that spiritual formation is following the way of Jesus and abiding 'in' him. However, the author helps us to see that spiritual formation is to live 'out' the way of Jesus who abides in us. Our ultimate goal of spiritual formation is to be more like Jesus through our spiritual exercises and practices. This practical manual of spiritual formation will help you to be a little Jesus." (Rev. Joshua Choonmin Kang, author, Scripture by Heart and Deep-Rooted in Christ, and senior pastor, New Life Vision Church, Los Angeles, California)

"I am convinced that God's good news spreads best, not through force, but through fascination. Mark Scandrette is fascinating. He lives with imagination and beauty. He is a poet and artist. But he is not just about creative thinking; he is about creative living. His book is an invitation to love creatively and recklessly, so that we might do something to interrupt the status quo, surprise the world with God's goodness and fascinate the world with grace." (Shane Claiborne, author, preacher, activist and recovering sinner, www.thesimpleway.org)

"It has been a long time since I was this stirred and humbled by a book. Mark Scandrette is a voice for all who are 'sensing a pull towards a spirituality that is more holistic, integrative and socially engaged.' This inspiring leader of an intentional community gives me deep hope for the future. Reading this book I felt personally moved to be more intentional about living my life the way Jesus would live my life if he were me." (Gary W. Moon, Ph.D., Vice President and Chair of Integration, Richmont Graduate University, and author of Apprenticeship with Jesus)

"Wow. A beatnik Tolstoy who makes 'overcoming temptation' seem like a potentially playful enterprise. This book is full of examples of how a community might embody faith. It's immensely practical and inspiring." (Debbie Blue, author of Sensual Orthodoxy and From Stone to Living Word)

"Mark Scandrette has been a great inspiration to me for years now. In his latest book he gave me goose bumps just thinking about the possibilities that could arise if a group of people really did find a space where they could work out the vision and teachings of Jesus together in real life. Practical, wise, thoughtful and grace-filled, this book is a gift." (Michael Frost, author, Exiles, ReJesus and The Faith of Leap (with Alan Hirsch))

"Mark Scandrette is better than most in helping us move our faith from a thought to a lifestyle. In a magnetic and compelling way, he offers us an irresistible invitation to open our lives to the many ways in which we can follow Jesus. Reading about his 'experiments' in faith makes you close the book and think, 'I can do this! I want to do this!'" (Nancy Ortberg, author of Looking for God: An Unexpected Journey Through Tattoos, Tofu and Pronouns)

Review

"In Practicing the Way of Jesus Mark Scandrette has brought together a remarkable array of stories, ideas and practical exercises that will enable us all to engage our faith more holistically. I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a more kingdom-focused, justice-oriented approach to spiritual formation." (Christine Sine, author, activist and executive director of Mustard Seed Associates )

'I am convinced that God's good news spreads best, not through force, but through fascination. Mark Scandrette is fascinating. He lives with imagination and beauty. He is a poet and artist. But he is not just about creative thinking, he is about creative living. His book is an invitation to love creatively and recklessly, so that we might do something to interrupt the status quo, surprise the world with God's goodness and fascinate the world with grace.'

—Shane Claiborne, author, preacher, activist and recovering sinner, www.thesimpleway.org

'It has been a long time since I was this stirred and humbled by a book. Mark Scandrette is a voice for all who are 'sensing a pull towards a spirituality that is more holistic, integrative and socially engaged.' This inspiring leader of an intentional community gives me deep hope for the future. Reading this book I felt personally moved to be more intentional about living my life the way Jesus would live my life if he were me.'

—Gary W. Moon, Ph.D., Vice President and Chair of Integration, Richmont Graduate University, and author of Apprenticeship with Jesus

'Mark Scandrette is better than most in helping us move our faith from a thought to a lifestyle. In a magnetic and compelling way, he offers us an irresistible invitation to open our lives to the many ways in which we can follow Jesus. Reading about his 'experiments' in faith makes you close the book and think, 'I can do this! I want to do this!''

—Nancy Ortberg, author of Looking for God: An Unexpected Journey Through Tattoos, Tofu and Pronouns

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (June 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830836349
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830836345
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,612 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Scandrette, is the Founding Director of ReIMAGINE, a Center for Integral Christian Practice, based in San Francisco. He frequently speaks at universities, churches and conferences, inspiring listeners to take new steps of risk, discovery and healing. Phyllis Tickle called his first book, Soul Graffiti, "a deadly serious encounter with a Christianity that is urban, American, un-institutionalized, and now." Practicing the Way of Jesus, his second book, has shaped faith communities around the world and become a doctoral course at Fuller Theological seminary. And his third book FREE: Spending Your Time and Money on What Matters Most, has helped thousands of people discover deeper alignment between time, money, meaning and global sustainability. Mark, and his wife Lisa and their three children, live in an old Victorian in San Francisco's Mission District.

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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Mike Stavlund on June 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
I have a friend-- now an earnest Christian-- who occasionally tells the story of his spiritual journey. Though he was born into Christianity, he wasn't very involved in church while he was growing up. In college, he engaged an exhaustive investigation of world religions, after which he joined a group of Tibetan Buddhists in his town. After several years, he came to a point of personal crisis in his life where he was not involved in Buddhism and did no meditation at all for over one year. At which point he declared that he was no longer Buddhist, because he wasn't practicing. And, as he says, a Buddhist who is not a practicing Buddhist is not a Buddhist at all.

I remind myself of this story frequently, because it reminds me of something obvious that I nevertheless missed for most of my life: Christianity is a set of practices. Like the other Eastern religions of the time, Jesus intended to lead people into a life that put into practice his teachings. He called people to `follow' him, even more in his deeds than in his words. He promised salvation not to those who gave ascent to his teachings, but to those who did what he said. In my years of pondering this, I've come to wish we possessed a term like `practicing Christian' to underscore the importance of this oft-ignored truth.

Mark Scandrette's new book Practicing the Way of Jesus put this issue front-and-center for me. In both his words and in the actions that he describes, Mark is a person who puts Jesus` teachings into practice. And in so doing, he sidesteps many of the trappings of the folk-religion that passes as Christianity, and many of the theological debates that inoculate us against the power for life transformation that Jesus offers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lori D Wilson on July 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
'"...the One in whom we live warns us that it is foolish to live cautiously (Matt 25:14-30) and calls us away from the safety and conventions of our kingdoms into the mystery and adventure of the kingdom of love. Those who inherit this kingdom do so with reckless abandon, not looking back, and betting it all on the pearl of greater price, to risk being fully alive."
With a masterful blend of high-level inspiration and on-the-ground how-tos, Mark Scandrette invites the reader to live fully into the Kingdom of Love. Unlike many books that focus either on big-picture theory or on specific practices, "Practicing..." effectively portrays the end goal (following the ways of the Rabbi Jesus) and then also takes us through very specific steps along the way. Especially helpful are the continual reminders that transformation happens best within community, and the concrete suggestions for communities working together to develop formative practices.
Don't expect to read this book and then shelve it with your other favorites. It's a book that begs to be shared around, referred back to, and worn to tatters. It's a companion guide to an active pursuit of God's ways, and it will challenge you to do a lot more than simply read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Joel on September 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
PRACTICING THE WAY OF JESUS: Life Together in the Kingdom of Love.
This is a "first person account" book. And just as the "EVANGELISM EXPLOSION" program taught us many years ago that "evangelism is more caught than taught", so today this book reminds us that the way of Jesus must be practiced to be understood. And here also we are reminded that in our holistically-oriented culture today, skeptical people are curious to see whether Christian belief and practice actually make a difference in the character of a person's life.

It is a practical approach to spiritual formation that is serious about Scripture, action-focused, communal, experiential, and connected to real world challenges and opportunities. I have served the Lord for over 50 years of ministry with the Baptist General Conference and for about the last 20 years I have had the privilege of knowing personally Mark Scandrette and his family and of witnessing this ministry first hand. In that light I can assure you that this book is a "first person account", it is indeed a true and accurate description of the daily life and ministry of Mark and his family. Mark has not only written the words he shares with you here, he lives them.

Rev. Robert M. Boyd - Director of Church and Pastoral Vitality
Minnesota Iowa Baptist Conference, St. Paul, MN 55112
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nate Millheim on June 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is about real life, not theory or abstract theology. What would it look like for followers of Jesus to band together and seek to follow the way of life that Jesus taught his followers? This books helps the reader gain a new imagination for what that could be like as we try new practices, experiments and rhythms of life. How can we work together to learn to become secure in who we are and the fact that we are loved, to love our enemies, to become content with our material possessions, to achieve peace, to handle our stress, to become more whole people? How can we help one another take the steps we need to take to truly move forward and let the Spirit of God transform us?

One thing that sets this book apart is the beauty and imagination of Mark's stories and observations paired with incredibly practical suggestions and tips for leading groups of people in what the book calls a "Jesus Dojo", a group of people coming together to take action in response to the teachings of Jesus. Many groups of people interested in the teachings of Jesus have flirted with the idea of gathering as small communities of people, but many of these groups quickly fade for a variety of reasons. The author has gathered people to follow Jesus for many years and can help other leaders avoid pitfalls and obstacles to real spiritual formation in community. The book covers a variety of ways that groups can function as they take on communal"experiments" in following Jesus, with ideas for leadership, planning and execution.

Someone wrote recently that Mark Scandrette is Dallas Willard and Shane Claiborne put together in a blender. It's a witty and fair comparison, but Mark has his own unique voice that should be heard. May we listen to this poetic voice mixed with the street cred of someone who is constantly taking his own risks to follow the way of love, the way of Jesus.
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