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Neighbors and Wise Men: Sacred Encounters in a Portland Pub and Other Unexpected Places Paperback – September 17, 2012
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About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
A unique thing I loved is Tony's ability to make others, rather than himself, the hero in his stories. If the classic saying is, "The victors write the history books," meaning those who write history tend to depict themselves as enlightened noble heroes and the "outsiders" as unvirtuous folks fumbling through the dark, then Tony inverts this truism: he lets us into his times of weakness, areas where he has stumbled in the dark, and lifts up the "outsiders" as those God has used to minister and speak to him in that place.
One of the biggest takeaways of this book is it can inspire you to be more attentive to God's voice speaking in the unexpected places in your own life, to listen more closely to the neighbors and wise men God has surrounded you with.
The story of Kriz's disillusionment, quest for answers and meaning, and unconventional reconciliation with his God isn't a particularly new one, and whole chapters of this book seem wildly familiar to the reader - not because they aren't original, but because so many of us have been in those spaces. This book is comforting in its honesty - Kriz's doubts are real, his questions are difficult, and the answers aren't always the cookie cutter ones we expect - much like, you know, actual life walking with God.
The gift Neighbors and Wise Men has to offer is a change in perspective - read this book only if you're willing to let it change the way you look at people. There are windows into the heart of God in all kinds of unexpected places - the stories in this book will open you up to them. Expect to be mightily blessed.
That said, I found myself in tears and cheers throughout this read, because it is a deeply human story. And the glory of God in all things and all people shines through Tony's story, which is really a glimpse into all of our stories. If you dare to read with an eye towards understanding your own heart (what Jesus, Paul, and the mystics are concerned with), and leave the judgments of what is good and right and proper (what the Pharisees are concerned with) behind, you can't help but be caught up into an experience of finding God in all the places you never expected to - inside your own story.
This isn't a book which touts a narrow evangelicalism. The people who speak life back into Kriz's faith are often people on the margins or religious outsiders-a friend from the bar named Pope, a Jewish woman, a bartender, Reed students, a crazy(?) homeless man, activists and organic farmers, and other neighbors. The conviction underlying this book is that the Spirit of God is at work in the world and speaks to us in surprising and unexpected ways through surprising and unexpected people. Kriz has the humility to learn from these `Samaritan' strangers.
Fans of Donald Miller, will be familiar with Kriz as `Tony the Beat Poet' in the pages of Blue Like Jazz. He was the guy whom Donald Miller worked with on the campus of Reed College. I think Kriz brings a similar sort of introspection to his writing, but is more reflective on the nature of spiritual formation (Blue Like Jazz, focuses more on a slice of the journey; the stories in this book span about 20 years).Read more ›
He lost his faith while in the middle of a type of Christianity that dictates how God should work and the type of person whom He can work through. It is the kind of Christian belief system that believes that faith works in a very non-faith driven realm: the physical and tangible world, lest anyone accuse Christians of having lost their logic and thus their right to exist in the Post Modern world. Most can understand this thought pattern. Even as Christians, we want validation from each other and the world in which we live. Because we live in the physical world, we forget that God is not bound by our restrictions and inability to see beyond the physical/cultural differences and similarites of those with whom we interact daily.
Tony's honest recount of his journey back reminded me of two things that I have been struggling with recently:
1. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)
2. God will use whom He choses to use whether or not we approve of their looks, their past, their theology, or their inconsistencies because he takes pleasure in using "the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty; And the base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen...That no flesh should glory in his presence" (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).
Tony's description is the clearest and most helpful book I have read on the topic of "losing faith." Many people that I have known over the years have gone through a similar journey.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I very much liked Mr. Kriz's Neighbors and Wise Men. His down to earth writing style and descriptive details made me feel that I was witnessing his spiritual journey as it... Read morePublished 18 days ago by Wayne
I read Aloof first. I'm glad I did it in that order. What I love most is Tony's style of writing. It's so up-close and personal. Both books left me with a lot to think about. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Cathy Thompson
It seems the author's point is that spiritual formation occurs through a variety of places, most of which conservative Christians don't expect or to which we are not open. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Swale
Great book. Especially for those who are thinking that "church" isn't for themPublished 7 months ago by O. Reyna
Tony does a tremendous job of vocalizing the same questions many of us have regarding our faith, God, church, the earth and how we fit in that picture. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Micah Todd
Wonderful to hear Tony Kriz's stories in his own voice! Must read / listen! Can't wait for the new book "Aloof" coming next week!!!!!Published 19 months ago by Susan Brecko