Uncommon Ground: Living Faithfully in a World of Difference

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.

Title:

Uncommon Ground: Living Faithfully in a World of Difference

Authors:

edited by Timothy Keller and John Inazu

Publisher:

Thomas Nelson

Publication Date:

April 4, 2020

Format:

Hardcover (also available in paperback, ebook and other formats)

Length:

240 pages

OVERVIEW

It’s been said many times that America has become a post-Christian nation. This reality forces Christians to ask some hard questions: how do we handle our loss of status? How do we function as God’s servants and agents in a world where people aren’t obligated to take us seriously?

As Christians whose work puts them at the cross-section of religious and secular culture, Timothy Keller and John Inazu have spent lots of time considering this problem. They contribute their thoughts on the subject, along with essays by other Christians, from songwriters to entrepreneurs, each tackling the subject from their areas of expertise. The essays are organized into three sections:

  • Framing Our Engagement
  • Communicating Our Engagement
  • Embodying Our Engagement

Books about how Christians should relate to secular American culture come out on a semi-regular basis (see for example Cultural Engagement edited by Joshua Chatraw and Karen Swallow Prior). Like many “Christianity and culture” books, Uncommon Ground collects pieces covering big cultural topics like art, government and social justice. What sets this book apart is its willingness to face the fact that Christianity is not always popular, and that American Christianity hasn’t always gotten things right. Tina Harrison Warren talks about the writer’s need to love people, even though “sadly, there will be times when we seek to love our readers and they don’t love us back.” Sara Groves describes the need to admit both the times when secularism attacks faith and when Christians’ tribalism damages their witness. Warren Kinghorn talks about how his grandfather provided legal defense to a racially segregated college in 1961, and realizing he had to recognize the good and bad sides of this legacy. This honesty means that the book gets past assumptions of privilege and power that often keep American Christians from getting back to the work outlined in the New Testament. Uncommon Ground gets right to the questions that it needs to ask, and provides humble and Bible-based answers.

The book also functions more like a single unit than many similar books. Each chapter considers a slightly different topic, and the writers don’t necessarily all use the same language to describe their ideas. However, multiple writers reference each other’s chapters and ideas, indicating they read the material before publication. As a result, Uncommon Ground becomes more than just an anthology of ideas, it functions as a group of connected ideas. If other “Christianity and culture” books read like short story collections, this one reads like a novel.

Intelligent and unusually readable, this book is highly recommended for any Christian learning to navigate a post-Christian America.

ASSESSMENT

Rating (1 to 5 stars)

5 stars

Suggested audience

Christians interested in how to engage with American culture in a post-Christian world.

Christian Impact

Each of the writers uses their experience as well as what they’ve learned from the Bible to describe the challenges of navigating the Christian life in a secular world, and the unexpected joys as well as the challenges that result from that situation.

Uncommon Ground: Living Faithfully in a World of Difference


No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: