Friday, March 04, 2011

Book Review: "Trolls and Truth"

I had heard the name Jimmy Dorrell for years. The founder and leader of Mission Waco and Church Under the Bridge pastor was well-known as a friend of the marginalized in Central Texas. But recently I got the chance to spend some time with him, and now we're working together on a project. When we met the first time, he gave me a copy of his book "Trolls and Truth: 14 Realities About Today's Church That We Don't Want to See." The book was written in 2006, but remains as timely now as it was then.

Jimmy tells the story of several of the people he's met in ministry over the years, people that "regular" society might see as trolls. And in telling the story of these men and women, Jimmy prophetically exposes the truths that most of us in the US Church don't like to think about: our churches are not made for down-and-outers. They don't try to attract the marginalized. And in so doing, we're missing out on the kingdom, or at least a big part of it.

The chapters deal with practical topics, like looks, giving, blessing, worship and more, and cut to the quick of our idealized churches made up of people who only want the proverbial "$2 worth of God," not the whole enchilada. But Jimmy's friends are people who desperately need God, and nothing else will do.

My favorite chapter--the one that convicts me the most too--is on friendship. Society's "trolls" ultimately don't need just our help, they need our friendship. All too often, even for someone like me who tries to identify with (whatever that means) and work among under-resourced people and communities, our "service" to those in poverty is "in and out." We serve turkey and dressing at Thanksgiving. We deliver some gifts at Christmas. We go on a 5 day mission trip to south Dallas, or to Mexico. All of these can be effective, if a part of a greater strategy. And that strategy is to be genuine, authentic friends with people, regardless of their race, their socio-economic status, their mental capacity, whatever. This whole idea that Jesus ate with sinners is amazing, and life changing. He ate with them. He didn't just serve them food (although he did that) and he didn't just preach them a sermon (although he did that too), he ate with them. He walked with them. He lived life with them.

He was one of them.

May I be one of them too.

Great book for a devotional read, shortish chapters that you could read one a day in 15 or 20 minutes. I'm giving it 4 out of 5 bellybuttons.

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