For those of you who migrated from my old blog by the same title (hosted elsewhere), to those who followed me even further back, you’ll know I’m a huge believer in hospitality and care, in transparency and connection. I’m also a firm believer in acts of kindness – actions speaking louder than words – and that “lifestyle evangelism” should be the base of every professed Christ-follower’s testimony. Life should be about building relationships and putting people first and love in action is a HUGE thing.
When I read the synopsis provided for blogger-turned-author Shannan Martin’s The Ministry of Ordinary Places, I was hopeful that it would “click” in a very real way and I was not disappointed. Overall, Ms. Martin presented a thought-provoking meandering memoir that felt like sitting down to chat and get real with an old friend.
It was a poignant reminder that there is a whole great big world of people craving connection right in our own backyards. Foreign mission fields and big campaigns aren’t for everyone, but in today’s society with it’s sprawl and heated differences, it can be difficult to “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Mark 12:31) Sometimes, we get so much out of being the answer, the solution, the giver, or the one who knows best that we forget that there is experience in blessing in serving others and allowing oneself to be served. There are blessings and opportunities in all the ins and outs of our boring, everyday lives.
There is so much beautiful reflection in this book of encouragement and inspiration encouraging us to be neighbours and friends. It is not new information, just a real-life reflection on how the author was uprooted from a comfortable situation and had to find opportunities and connection in a new environment. It was non-fiction that I couldn’t put down – she spoke to my heart in an authentic lyrical way.
My only slight disappoint was that some of the stories reflected upon weren’t very “deep” or “gritty” but I pushed that aside as perhaps they weren’t the author’s stories to tell and she kept them superficial for anonymity purposes. Overall, I’d encourage you to pick up a copy of this one if you want to expand your fences, listen carefully, and learn to see opportunities in the ordinary and mundane.
Published by Thomas Nelson. Publication Date: October 9, 2018
I was provided with a complimentary copy of this title via NetGalley with thanks to the publisher and/or author. All opinions are my own.