Drawing on sources as diverse as J.R.R.

Tolkien, sociology, anthropology, mythology and Disney films, authors Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch take a close look at ideas of adventure, heroism, and risk-taking as a means of both missional outreach and fostering deep community within the church. They outline elements of hero myth to illuminate the desire and need for adventure, for breaking out that lies deep within each person and describe how these yearnings find their source in the life of Jesus Christ who exemplified this idea of adventure and risk-taking. In contemporary society, risk is an enemy and we work sedulously to remove it; we have become a risk-averse people, insulating ourselves from many experiences that might otherwise have proven beneficial. The authors predict the end of the Western Church as we know it if it continues to embrace the false idols of comfort and security and is unwilling to get out of its insular building and into the lives of the community in which it is placed. A bold and sobering claim to be sure, but one eminently worth considering. Using as an example Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and the deep community forged among the members of the fellowship through shared trial and hardship, the authors offer a solution that explores how the church can and must embrace risk and adventure by consciously placing itself in risk situations that foster liminality. Liminality is a place of disorientation due to loss of familiar context, where members of a community must rely on each other in order to survive, thus creating bonds that run much deeper than is the case with ordinary acquaintances or passing friends; in fact, creating the type of community that people long for. Much church community these days looks more like a mixture of sharing, Bible study, and support group. These have their necessary place, but far deeper and more meaningful community can be accessed through shared adventures and risk-taking. What does such risk look like? The authors suggest that it is the missional risk of being neighborly, of meeting people where they are in their lives; of being rooted in a community and becoming part of it; learning who its leaders, advocates and outcasts are; working there and living there; saying yes to all invitations; listening. In short, willingly casting aside comfort, being okay with unknown outcomes and casting aside the need to control of such outcomes. If you care about the future of the church or creating deep community, I would highly recommend this book.

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