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Saturday, June 24, 2006

cover of Grace Matters

This is a different man than the one whose music fills 5 of my cd's, in case you were wondering. A good story. Which is high praise! I like stories and have a hard time slogging through boring or repetitive stories. But this one is real life in a microscope. Typically, we don't get opportunities to hear others' experiences as honestly as this -- even if we are friends, so this book is a gift from Rice to anyone who reads it. To be so honest is dangerous in any context, let alone when so many people might judge.

As a young man, Rice moves down to Jackson, Mississippi, to be part of Voice of Calvary Church, in a largely African American community. Rice is white, and stepped out of his comfort zone in many ways to join this community. (Although he was brought up in Korea, so he was a third culture kid, meaning he had to live in more than one culture and know how to adjust between them, so connects with others who have had to adjust in similar ways. Perhaps this gave him better ability to learn, enjoy, and flex with the African American culture he joined). One thing that he learned throughout his many years in Mississippi is that for reconciliation to take place, everyone has to leave their comfort zone and reach toward the other to find some sort of similar ground, similiar pain, similar joys, similar humanity.

Partway through his time there, Chris gets to become friends with Spencer Perkins (oldest son of John Perkins, who is well known in this field of reconciliation and community development). They both have expectations that aren't met, but they decide to stick together and work through all the problems and issues which arise. Of which there are many. They become yokefellows -- not just friends or coworkers, but two who together can pull a heavier burden than one, to further God's Kingdom. Along with some others, they move into a communal house and get to enjoy and be frustrated by what it means to live in intense community, especially with others who are from another culture and race. Spencer and Chris get to speak in many venues, where their biggest witness is that they get up to speak together (both standing the whole time) as friends who are connected and strong together. Which is what 1 John says -- that as Christians we will be known by our love for one another. A big challenge to live up to, but so sweet when it happens in the power of the Spirit and by the grace of God.

Title:Grace Matters : A Memoir of Faith, Friendship, and Hope in the Heart of the South
Author: Chris P. Rice
Date published:2002
Number of pages: 300
Notes: Borrowed from Jude


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