Expanded edition of popular book is perfect for small-group study use
by Westminster John Knox Press | Special to Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE — Originally published in 2017, “A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic and Hopeful Spiritual Community” helped launch John Pavlovitz as one of the leading voices of the progressive Christian movement in the United States. He spoke out forcefully on the church’s stance on issues of LGBTQ inclusion, gender equality, racial justice, global concerns, and theological shifts.
Over the last three years, as the country has become more and more divided, it has become even more dire to embrace the values of the bigger table that Pavlovitz imagined: radical hospitality, total authenticity, messy diversity, and agenda-free community. And now, Westminster John Knox Press is proud to announce the publication of “A Bigger Table, Expanded Edition with Study Guide” for easy study and application in your community.
No one likes to eat alone; to approach a table filled with people, only to be told that despite the open chairs there isn’t room for you. The rejection stings. It leaves a mark. Yet this is exactly what the church has been saying to far too many people for far too long: “You’re not welcome here. Find someplace else to sit.”
This is antithetical to what we see in the life and ministry of Jesus, where diversity is a given and where the inherent value of all people is placed front and center. How can we who claim faith in Christ expand the table and embody the community Jesus envisioned? How can we extend unconditional welcome and acceptance in a world increasingly marked by bigotry, fear, and exclusion?
Pavlovitz invites readers to join him on the journey to find — or build — a church that is big enough for everyone. But he isn’t unaware of the changes of the last few years. In his new afterword, he reflects, “You don’t always ask the table to be made bigger, sometimes you demand it. Equality will not be welcome news for everyone, especially for those already comfortable at the table.”
Disruptive, inspiring, and provocative, the expanded edition of this popular book includes a small-group study guide complete with ideas for exploring “A Bigger Table” in a congregation-wide sermon series and program along with a new foreword by Jacqui Lewis and new afterword by the author to explore the challenges of living out the bigger table when voices of hate and exclusion seem stronger and louder than ever.
John Pavlovitz is a pastor and blogger from Wake Forest, North Carolina. His blog Stuff That Needs to Be Said is read and shared by a diverse audience of more than 10 million people throughout the world. He serves on staff at North Raleigh Community Church, a growing, nontraditional Christian community dedicated to radical hospitality, mutual respect, and diversity of doctrine. He is the author of “A Bigger Table” and “Hope and Other Superpowers.”
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