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During the week of Thanksgiving, I had some much welcomed vacation time. Amidst food, family, and other holiday festivities, I took advantage of the rest and curled up on the couch with a cup of coffee and The Cost of Discipleship: Jesus, St. Francis, and Life in the Kingdom by Jamie Aprin-Ricci a.k.a. @missional. Below are 3 reasons you should read this book.
IMHO, this just might be the greatest strength of The Cost of Community. Throughout, Aprin-Ricci digs deeply into the wellspring of the Sermon on the Mount. However, his reflections are offered in such simple, personal, and reflective ways that seasoned Christians, apprehensive searchers, and defiant skeptics would all do well by perusing the pages of this book. Furthermore, passionate and practical calls to live the text always follow Aprin-Ricci’s thoughtful and convicting analysis of the text. Therefore, the collision of these two narrative qualities make the book meaningfully accessible for those who have spent significant time in the Word and those who have not. I feel that The Cost of Community has much to give everyone regardless of their current faith journey status.
2) Jamie’s honest portrayal of St. Francis
The book has a helpful flow from biblical text to St. Francis’ embodiment of the text to Jamie’s and Little Flowers‘ attempts at living the text. More specifically, when telling stories about and discussing St. Francis, Jamie provides honest and inviting commentary. Sometimes, those tremendous, sacrificial influencers who have come before us in the faith, contributed so much to our own spiritual formation that it becomes difficult to see and/or accept their humanity, flaws, and the “Jesus discrepancies” of their life. However, Jamie’s authentic characterization of St. Francis helped me understand him more and challenged me to imitate him in many ways. He does not place Francis on a pedestal to be worshipped; however, he does a wonderful job highlighting the Christ-likeness Francis lived that we would do well to imitate. On the other hand, Jamie does not skip over or “beat around the bush” when Francis may have been a little “over the top” or “to-the-extreme” in unhealthy ways. I appreciate Jamie for this, and his St. Francis perspectives contribute to the honest tone of the book.
3) Jamie’s stories
The biblical text must be lived, and after Jamie provides a lens for us to peer into St. Francis’ life of living the text, he also invites us into the journey of Little Flowers‘ experiences with living the text. Through relationships, life in a tough neighborhood, and sacrificial choices, Jamie has embraced the Sermon on the Mount by living it; and therefore, the stories found among the pages of The Cost of Community speak with authority.
Three reasons you should read The Cost of Community: Jesus, St. Francis, and Life in the Kingdom: meaningful treatment of the biblical text, honest portrayal of St. Francis, and real-life stories from the ministerial trenches.