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Asphalt Jesus: Finding a New Christian Faith Along the Highways of America Hardcover – August 3, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Arizona pastor Elnes (United Church of Christ) had an idea that wouldn't go away: develop principles of a more generous and affirmative faith to counter the dominance of conservative Christianity in the media, and to witness for this faith by walking with other Christians 2,500 miles from Phoenix to Washington, D.C. Using as a guide these biblically based principles, emphasizing love of God, neighbor and self (described in his previous book The Phoenix Affirmations), Elnes recounts the cross-country journey as the walkers tried to spread the news that a vital alternative is flourishing in America's churches. The CrossWalk America travelers discovered extraordinary hospitality—and sometimes hostility—across surprising denominational lines as they searched for common ground with other Christians. The book shines when Elnes focuses on the walkers' encounters with people and churches in small towns across the U.S., but lags as he interprets biblical stories and discusses the Phoenix Affirmations. Less a narrative than a series of extended anecdotes, the book raises questions it doesn't answer about the walk and its impact on participants' faith. (Aug. 3)
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“Elnes has hit one out of the ballpark with this remarkably energetic and accessible narrative presentation of what twenty-first century Christianity looks like in the lives of those who are becoming it right now. This book is an exhilarating gift to all of us.”--Phyllis Tickle, complier, The Night Offices
“Eric Elnes’ book Asphalt Jesus is as exciting as the adventure it describes. He and his fellow walkers went from Phoenix to Washington, D.C., on foot to dramatize the crisis of American Christianity that is lost in the negativity of fundamentalism. Dramatically they hold out another vision that captivates millions. This is a ‘must read’ if you are concerned with what is happening to Christianity in the United States.”--John Shelby Spong, author, Jesus for the Non-Religious
“No one will ever be able to accuse Eric Elnes of ‘Talkin’ the Talk, but not Walkin’ the Walk!’ This beautifully told story is more than just the diary of a remarkable journey undertaken by an intrepid band of religious progressives. It is an odyssey into the heart and soul of the American religious scene. Readers will think they have made the journey themselves, met a whole new group of friends, and discovered a forgotten landscape and an abiding truth: we are all on the same journey, and we need to listen to, and respect, one another.”--Dr. Robin Meyers, UCC minister and professor; author, Why the Christian Right is Wrong: A Minister’s Manifesto for Taking Back Your Faith, Your Flag, Your Future
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Author Eric Elnes and a host of others walked across the United States, from Phoenix, Arizona to Washington, D.C. in an incredible journey to bring an inclusive, progressive Christianity to the heart of America. This book documents that journey, and what they found surprised them, and may surprise you as well!
I won't spoil too much, but let's just say that "Asphalt Jesus" reminds us that despite all the divisiveness political partisanship and the Christian right has fostered over the last few decades, Christians of all stripes- conservative and liberal, moderate and fundamentalist- are looking for something that transcends these traditional ways of thinking about our faith.
God is indeed working through us today, and "Asphalt Jesus" is a spirit-filled testimony to the power of God and God's never-ceasing presence. I can only hope Crosswalk America and other organizations devoted to inclusive Christianity will continue spreading the gospel so that all of us- conservative, liberal, moderate- can unite at least!