I recently had the privilege to join Moody Publishers’ Blogging Review Program. I was so thrilled when I saw that Not From Around Here: What Unites Us, What Divides Us, and How We Can Move Forward by Brandon O’Brien was available for a review. I first heard of O’Brien on the Holy Post Podcast https://www.holypost.com/holy-post-podcast/episode/277e34e9/episode-378-is-the-real-america-urban-or-rural-with-brandon-obrien The topic caught my attention, along with the title of the book because since graduating from college I have been living the “not from around here” life.
About 16 years ago, my husband entered full time ministry, our family along with him began doing life in mostly rural churches. Each area was a different kind of rural which has been fascinating with different personalities and priorities. I am constantly trying to understand the culture I find myself immersed in. I appreciated Brandon O’Brien’s sharing of his various experiences from rural Arkansas to New York City. His astute observations on how we view others was enlightening. The attitude that our way is right and the other person’s way is wrong instead of just different was convicting. He mentions that there is not just one storyline going through. There is not just one narrative.
Since the last election I have been trying extra hard to listen closely to why we are so divided as a country and as a people. The most disturbing has been watching the great divide happen in the church at large. O’Brien calls us out and says our identity in Christ should supersede our politics. God’s kingdom should help us unite no matter where we live or what our politics. I appreciated the challenge to rise up and be the body. O’Brien is able to do all this in a disarming way through his storytelling and vulnerability of sharing from his own life and own prejudices as he has wrestled with these issues.
I highly recommend this book to those who are trying to hear and love better in the church and in the community. There is much food for thought presented in an enjoyable fashion, although in the end he brings it back to challenge the reader to truly find and live out their allegiance to God’s kingdom overall so that they may shine the light of unity and love in this fractured culture.
“If Christ’s church in America wants to bear witness to the kingdom of God on earth, we have to figure out how to rally around our identity as His children and render all other identities secondary.”
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for an honest review of the it. All opinions are mine.