Fellowship of Differents
Friends, this is a book to be read and re-read, a book that should be wrestled with and courageously applied to our local church life. Scot McKnight’s Fellowship of Differents calls us to think of the church as God’s world-changing social experiment, a place of difference and differents. As we, more and more, look for sameness, similarities, and security (at least we think it’s security) in our churches, McKnight sees the church as offering the world an opportunity to see God’s vision for human community, the place of God’s “Yes.” Love and grace are God’s “Yes” to you, his first word to you. If God’s “Yes” is for you, then by extension, God’s “Yes” is also for others, and those others are different than you. The call of Christianity is not sameness; it’s a transformation to be like Jesus not like each other. How can we welcome differences in our churches? How can we celebrate the differents?
Using six themes of the Christian life, McKnight works to answer two questions: “What is the church supposed to be?” and “If the church is what it is supposed to be, what does the Christian life look like?” Sections on Grace, Love, and Newness are highlights of the book. His chapter on “Love as a series of prepositions” has foundationally changed my approach to love in relationships.
McKnight is a professor by vocation, so the text is thorough and well-grounded in Scripture. He is a pastor in heart, so he communicates with gentle wooing compassion that calls us back to a better way of living together. Fair warning, there is nothing easy or simple about the vision of community McKnight describes. This vision will take hard, intentional, focused work.