From Publishers Weekly
Inspired by, and supported with, a foreword by David Kinnaman, author of the bestselling unChristian, this tandem book/DVD puts faces on Kinnaman's findings of Christianity's image problem. In four cities, the authors interviewed Christians, but also agnostics, atheists, Muslims, gays, and other groups Christians are believed to reject. At the heart of the problem, they've discovered, is a Christian "swagger" that repels would-be Christians. They advocate the persuasive power of listening and truly liking people, choosing to use the word "like" rather than the over-used "love." In their words: "Jesus is the God who likes people." Each chapter includes tie-ins to the DVD interviews and a reader's guide for discussion. The book's narrative that recreates the road trip the authors took to do their interviews seems indulgent and boring. But the combined impact of the book and DVD is stunning: the authors have heard and noted important ways Christians can improve their outreach by being more like Jesus, who meets people where they are.¯
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From the Inside Flap
EXCERPT FROM CATALOGThe three of us hit the road in the fall of 2008. We wanted to interview some Outsiders and Insiders in four different cities in America. Truth be told, we were just as interested in hearing from Insiders, particularly about where they find points of agreement with Outsiders. We also wanted to know what enabled them to call themselves Christians while still disagreeing with some of the main cultural ideas their spiritual elders fought so hard to establish over the past thirty-five years.Even though we talked with both groups, we decided to call this The Outsider Interviews as a way of erring on the side of the people Jesus misses most. Dietrich Bonheoffer said, "The church is only the church when it exists for others." When it comes to connecting with Outsiders we think the church has much to learn. We have not sought them out for their opinions or asked them to help us become a better church. Instead we often have marginalized them and, worse, objectified them. We only need to look to our own lexicon for evidence of this trait. Here's a few of the names we've come up with to keep them in their place: Lost, Unbelievers, Unsaved, Unrepentant, Unregenerate, Heathens, and Reprobate. We wanted to change this bad habit. We wanted to let Outsiders know we really did value their opinions and insights. We also wanted to model to the church the ancient practice of honoring the Outsider. The Old Testament is filled with the stories of one famous Outsider after another becoming central to the story of God. Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Namaan, the entire city of Nineveh, and Gentiles (like me) just to name a few.As you will experience, this ancient approach continues to make an impression in the twenty-first century. More than one Outsider told us they were shocked Christians were actually listening to them. Klarisa, an Outsider in Kansas City, tore our hearts out when she said, "If Christians would listen and show some interest in me, I would be very open to their story." What if evangelism in our time is more about listening than speaking?