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The Dangerous Act of Worship: Living God's Call to Justice Paperback – November 28, 2012
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"The Dangerous Act of Worship is a significant work because of the relative lack of writing in the area of worship and justice. . . . It is written at a popular level, targeting pastors and congregants as evidenced by the copious personal examples throughout the book. Given Labberton's posture, the foundation work and conclusions are excellent." (Robert Pendergraft, Artistic Theologian, 2 (2013))
"[A] timely and much appreciated attempt to recall for privileged North American Christians the intimate connection between worship and issues of justice." (The Presbyterian Outlook, October 6, 2008)
"Labberton's book is bracing reading that deserves thoughtful meditation and discussion among pastors, lay leaders, and those who occupy the pews--especially in places where those pews have become all too comfortable." (The Clergy Journal, November/December 2007)
"The Dangerous Act of Worship is a timely reminder of the need for Christians to wake up to the needs of those who are suffering in our world." (K. R. M. for Liturgy, Hymnody, & Pulpit Quarterly Review, Christmastide 2007)
"I see the book as a wake-up call to get out of our comfortable pews and do something for the downtrodden. The book is enhanced with intriguing personal anecdotes, illustrations, and lots of scriptural references encouraging justice for all." (Church Libraries Journal, Summer 2007)
The Dangerous Act of Worship is for any church leader or minister who wants to make a difference in the world; chapters outline differences between false and real dangers, consider the church's role in social issues, and come from a working pastor's experience." (James A. Cox, California Bookwatch, April 2007)
"The Dangerous Act of Worship is a candid look at our priorities. . . . Labberton questions what an encounter with God truly looks like. . . . [I]t's not safe or controlled or dependent on having the best tech booth . . . or the most people in the pews. It is about waking up as God's people and engaging our world with love and revealing God's redemption." (Worship Leader, May 2007)
"May the Lord use The Dangerous Act of Worship to help call a Western, often self-indulgent church beyond its commitments to just the 'arts' (contemporary, emergent, etc.) and awaken it to its true calling--being a prophetic voice and compassionate model of life transformed by and lived 'into' the gospel of a resurrected Lord." (Dr. Pete Sanchez Jr., director of worship studies, Integrity Worship Institute, and assistant professor of church music and worship renewal, University of Mobile)
"Few topics arouse such emotion and passion in the church as the place of justice and worship. Mark dares to bring them together, and does it masterfully. Neither a critic of the church--standing aloof and pointing a finger--nor a comforter--standing alongside and holding in an embrace--rather Mark is a prophetic pastor. He compassionately discloses the will and the way of God and invites us to walk together in the way of God's kingdom. This book is discomforting. And well it should be. Mark restores our vision of God's ancient call to the church to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly. The book opens the windows so God's Spirit can blow fresh joy and power into our lives. Rather than worship being a weekly separation from the world, Mark leads us into worship as a daily, transforming engagement with it." (Tim Dearborn, Associate Director, Christian Commitments/Faith and Development, World Vision International)
"The Dangerous Act of Worship is extraordinary because it is so concretely helpful. It offers American church leaders a way out from the disappointments of dead-end worship, and does so with tangible stories and examples that are inspiring, convicting, clear and practical. Every so often, a book comes along that, for the brave of heart, actually has the potential to transform a leader's whole mindset about what they are doing and leading. This is such a book." (Gary A. Haugen, President, International Justice Mission, and author of Good News About Injustice)
About the Author
Mark Labberton is president of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He previously served as Lloyd John Ogilvie chair for preaching and director of the Lloyd John Ogilvie Institute for Preaching. Labberton came to Fuller after sixteen years as senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, California. He has served as chair of John Stott Ministries (now Langham Partnership) and co-chair of the John Stott Ministries Global Initiative Fund. Today he continues to contribute to the mission of the global church as a senior fellow of International Justice Mission. He is the author of The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor and The Dangerous Act of Worship.
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There are few comforts of "going to church on Sundays" that he does not explode as being inadequate if we, as Christians, are to live as agents of God's desire for justice and mercy in our world. (Micah 6:8)
If you are looking for a radical jolt to your comfort zone, or your love of Christ has grown cold, or you think the church is irrelevant today, or, or...it may be that Labberton's perspective will wake you up and lend a new direction to your life. If you are a believer, you know if there is an issue keeping you from living as you should, it is not a defect of your faith ...it is human error or insufficiency. It may be this book will restore your spiritual energy by connecting your faith to the world/community around you.
The entire text, from Chapter One, paragraph one challenges our very concept of the church, so be prepared to reflect.
The book is not a series of generalities or condemnations; it consistently references Scripture in defence of Labberton's views, and is chocked full of real life stories and demonstrations of the power of acting in the ways of justice and mercy in the community where you live. Very inspirational, full of spiritual energy.
Let this book reorder your worship...the way Jesus says to do it! It's well worth the read. A favorite excerpt: "For all our apparent passion about God, in the end much of our worship seems to be mostly about us. We presume we can worship in a way that will find God but lose track of our neighbor."
This book feels like a cold splash of water on your face in the morning...let us wake up to God's call to justice!