Pastor Marty Troyer's new book The Gospel Next Door: Following Jesus Right Where You Are is released this week. It encourages us to connect deeply with the communities around us and see the opportunities we have to serve Jesus right where we are. Troyer uses his own experiences as a Mennonite pastor in Houston, TX to offer his readers a compelling look at everything that our lived faith can be.
Troyer notes that "if we limit the gospel to the personal, nonpolitical, and future worlds, nothing theological remains to guide our vision for human community. Without the cultural vision of Christ, it’s easy to fill the void with the American dream and assume it to be God’s dream.” (103)
|Marty "The Peace Pastor" Troyer|
But Troyer asks "what if God were like Jesus? What if God were deeply engaged, extravagantly loving, passionately communal, infinitely absorbing of hate, and radically local?” (41) And what if we behaved that way as well?
Troyer also encourages us to be proactive, rather than reactionary as Christians. He wonders if "we’ve resigned ourselves to the role of post-chaos chaplain?” (80) Too often when in the critical moments of our community, wring bring too little, too late. What if instead, we reclaimed our role of prophetic witness to our communities? What if we proclaimed biblical justice and advocacy, leading the way instead of limping along in the rear?
I invite you purchase your own copy of The Gospel Next Door. When you do take a long look at the credo you'll find on page 51. Troyer eloquently outlines what the Good New means for his Houston community. I challenge you to do the same for yours.
Want to hear more? Check out this MennoNerds conversation with Pastor Marty Troyer!