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Book Corner  March 2007

Living Lutheran: Renewing Your Congregation
by David Daubert. 
Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress 2007.  Lutheran Voices Series, 96 pages. $10.99

Reviewed by Michael L. Cooper-White

That David Daubert’s is a “Lutheran Voice” is indisputable; that he resonates with the un-churched likewise so.  Having grown up on the fringe of the Church, the author feels in his bones what it’s like to be a spiritual seeker.  He exudes a yearning to help others heed God’s great missionary mandate.  Having found faith in full measure, this impassioned renewer of the church writes “in an engaging conversational style,” as noted by cover endorser William Avery.  If there’s a minor flaw, the subtitle’s implication that we can renew congregations belies Daubert’s cruciform clarity that transformation comes only by Spirit-agency. 

The book rehearses the oft-assessed demise of Christendom, noting that the church has moved from center to periphery in our postmodern context.  Faithful disciples will inevitably find themselves counter-cultural creatures.  What will sustain us on the journey, recognizes Daubert, is a clear sense of direction or purpose and a guiding set of principles that remind a faith community of both mooring and horizon.  Going beyond theory, Daubert describes in lively and personal vignettes how to practice midwifery for both purpose statement and principles. 

Among the more lively passages in this parish renewal primer is the story of when Orpah, considered a hillbilly by some of the more prim and proper at Hilltop Church, accepted Pastor Daubert’s invitation to come to worship.  “Not everyone will cuss out the greeter to get through the frontlines of the church’s defense, but Orpah wasn’t going to take no for an answer.” (p. 60) May the Orpahs abound!

In a book both personal and poignant, Daubert does not hesitate to share his own faith journey and that of his family.  Traveling simultaneously as both churchwide staffer and parish pastor, David’s is a journey worth following.  Daubert’s first book, Living Lutheran, should not be his last. 




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