"I'm rich and I don't need a thing," bragged the early Christians in the big city of Laodicea. The Apostle John, however, saw their affluence and arrogance through a theological lens. He declared them to be bankrupt, "lukewarm Christians" whom God would gladly gargle and spit out. Today, the mainline church in the West finds itself in a dominant culture of Laodicean affluence, where even faith is a commodity to be consumed. While the gospel spreads and thrives in the global South and East, the Western mainline church looks longingly back at Christendom and forward in fear. As Christians living in a North American culture that highly prizes the unholy Trinity of individualism, consumerism, and secularism, we require a new kind of missional leadership to "pray" attention to what God is doing in the world around us. This book names the challenges and promises inherent in partnering with the Holy Spirit in order to offer missional leadership in a culture of affluence. It is about both living in Laodicea and leaving it behind. We are no longer in a Babylonian captivity but a Laodicean one. This work helps chart a course for Christians who long to let go of "country club religion" and instead belong to a community that helps equip missionary disciples, resistant to the dominant culture and resplendent in the love of our triune God.
"Ross Lockhart has given us a hard-hitting, fast-paced, biblically grounded analysis of our cultural captivity in North American affluence. He has also written a very helpful, hopeful book that will give encouragement and embolden pastors and congregations to more faithful engagement in Christ's mission to Laodicea and beyond."
--Will Willimon, United Methodist Bishop, retired; Professor of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC; Author of the recently published novel, I'm Not from Here: A Parable (Cascade Books)
"With the Bible in one hand and an iPad in the other, Ross Lockhart reads affluence and apathy as the sites of the 'Laodicean' captivity of the church. To break free from that captivity, someone needs to say something; the someone is the missional church, the something is Jesus Christ, crucified and risen."
--Richard R. Topping, Principal; Professor of Studies in the Reformed Tradition,
Vancouver School of Theology
"It is rare that our wisest commentators on matters churchly and cultural are also our funniest. Ross Lockhart has wisdom and humor to spare. These essays are somehow both impatiently prophetic and graciously pastoral. They're also delightful. You won't put the book down more cynical. You'll put it down more ready to serve."
--Jason Byassee, Butler Chair in Homiletics and Biblical Hermeneutics, Vancouver School of Theology
"Practical and provocative, witty and wise, Lockhart delivers once again with a book that pushes Christians and their faith communities beyond self-interested maintenance into significant, life-changing, and authentic mission. This book is for all of us who are convinced that church can no longer be 'business as usual.'"
--Robert C. Fennell, Atlantic School of Theology
"Ross Lockhart finds in the letter to Laodicea a serious missional crisis in this first-century community, which merits close attention on the part of contemporary communities emerging from Christendom, especially in North America."
--Darrell L. Guder, Henry Winters Luce Professor of Missional and Ecumenical Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary
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