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No Home Like Place: A Christian Theology of Place Paperback – May 22, 2014
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About the Author
Len Hjalmarson lives with his wife Betty on the shores of lake Superior in Thunder Bay, Ontario where they help to lead a faith community on a journey in mission. Len is co-author of Missional Spirituality (IVP, 2011), the author of The Missional Church Fieldbook (Urban Loft, 2012) and editor of Text & Context (Urban Loft, 2014). Len is a member of the Parish Collective, and an adjunct professor at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Chicago, at Tyndale Seminary, Toronto and George Fox Evangelical Seminary in Portland. He loves good music, good books, and good cooking.
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I definitely agree that we have abstracted place to "space" where we struggle to find belonging, mutual community and a home in the world around us. The idea of recovering a sense of parish that opens up our lives to place, rootedness and our local context is an essential conclusion that Leonard Hjalmarson comes to in the book. I couldn't agree more and am so encouraged that such a gifted writer has written about it in No Home Like Place.
Leonard has written a beautiful book that touches on mission, community and formation all in the context of a theology of place. Without this there is no home for us in the world and we become fragmented in a highly mobile culture. Recently, some other books have come out that have complimented Leonard's work around a theology of place - The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches are Transforming Mission, Discipleship and Community by Paul Sparks, Tim Soerens and Dwight J. Friesen; Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus by C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison; Incarnate: The Body of Christ in an Age of Disengagement by Michael Frost; How to be a Christian Without Going to Church: The Unofficial Guide to Alternative Forms of Christian Community by Kelly Bean and my own book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together. These books have all come out in 2014 and there seems to be a new movement happening around the idea of place.
* Connection to place is part of our creational identity
"A rich connection to place is part of our creational identity: we are embodied beings and we yearn for roots. In our hectic and mobile and fragmented culture, and in a time when our cultural ideals of freedom disavow our need for roots and encourage rootlessness, our hunger and sense of dis-placement is only more acute..."
* Increasing fragmentation and loss of meaning
"Abstracting place to `space' was one means of escaping the bonds of the world. The results of that apparent `freedom' have now become evident in increasing fragmentation and loss of meaning, so that our experience is one of rootlessness and anxiety. We no longer feel at home in the world..."
* A recovery of parish
"A recovery of place will be strengthened by a recovery of parish..."