I have not made it a practice of summarizing books on my blog in the past but I am going to write up a few thoughts here. My goal is to capture some of the key thoughts that impacted me.
Stott shares that "the purpose of this book is to consider eight characteristics of Christian discipleship that are often neglected and yet deserve to be taken seriously."
Let's take a look at the first characteristic...
Characteristic #1 - Nonconformity
Followers of Christ are called to be different. They are called to engage the world through love and service but not at the expense of losing their identity as followers of Jesus. Stott shares that Christians are called to engagement without compromise where "escapism and conformism are thus both forbidden" (p. 17)
He lists 4 trends that need to be addressed (pluralism, materialism, relativism, narcissism) and he summarizes the responses as, "Over against the challenge of pluralism, we are to be a community of truth, standing up for the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. Over against the challenge of materialism, we are to be a community of simplicity and pilgrimage. Over against the challenge of relativism, we are to be a community of obedience. Over against the challenge of narcissism, we are to be a community of love." (pp. 26-27)
I was challenged by all 4 but I was mostly struck by the challenge of materialism.
- Do I truly aim for simplicity in my life?
- At the same time, do I view my life as a journey (pilgrimage)?
- If I did, then what would change about my daily moment-by-moment decisions?
How can I follow Jesus more closely in this area of my life?
For me, reading this book led me to that last question over and over...
I will write more on the other chapters over time.