Neigborliness Book Review - A Bountiful Love

Neigborliness Book Review

  Neighbors...what comes to mind when you read the word, neighbors? I think about community, friendship, playmates (I have kids!), support, and fellowship. Now those are all positive connotations, I will be lying if I don't share the bad things that come into mind. Neighbors can be tough as well. Miscommunication, judging, and unkindness can also happen in a neighborhood. Gossip can also wreak havoc on a community. Different dispositions in life, as well as race, play a huge part in the division among neighbors.  Why did I think of that? It is because, in life, we all have a preconceived notion or reputation when it comes to a race different than ours. Let's face it socio-economic status can affect one's point of view too. 

 Those negative narratives in a neighborhood can create a division...a line..a neighbor line. As Christians, we all know that Jesus died for our sins. That is the ultimate sacrifice that you can do for someone, the ultimate paradigm of love. In the book of Mark 12:28-34, a teacher of the law asked Jesus, which of all the commandments is the most important? Jesus answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" (verse 30). Then Jesus added,:.The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment greater than these (verse 31). How do you really love your neighbors? And who is really your neighbors?

 I was given a great opportunity to read and review Neighborliness by David Docusen, It is truly an interesting and hard topic for me. To love your love people the way God wants us to love them is challenging some days. Especially in this day and age, people in the social media world are so opinionated and unkind. We all have our own strong opinions on hard topics such as politics, religion,  diversity, and racism. This book will give you an understanding of how to love just like Jesus. Though social injustices are discussed in the book, it is more about seeing the division and understanding what causes the divide because when we comprehend, and love like how Jesus wants us to only then that we can transform our community.

 It is easy to love and get to know people who are just like us. We don't have to be vulnerable or exert any effort in building a relationship. I love how the author, David Docusen said, "Learning to build relationships across dividing lines includes asking intentional questions about people and their experiences". He also added, "Relationships are built through sharing the journey of life together".  This reminds me of Jesus, His 12 disciples, how they were chosen, and the journey they shared together. 

 There are several points that Docusen shared in this book that stood out to me. One was the question he posed, "Are you conducting your life in a way that your vocation reflects the spirit of neighborliness? ". This book started with Docusen sharing his eye-opening moment in front of his congregation. When he realized that his church lacked diversity and is predominantly attended by one socio-economic class. You might ask why does that even matter? It matters because as mentioned above..we are called to love God above everything else and to love our neighbor. He shares his journey as he crossed the lines dividing his community. Building relationships along the way in order to understand the issue of racism and disparities. I love how we also tackled the upside of developing a business (in this case, land development) but also did not shy away from encouraging us to truly tie our genuine faith with building our relationships with other people.

This book offers guidance on how we can build awareness and close the gap between seclusion and inclusion while teaching us what genuine love for neighbors looks like. Neighborliness is thought-provoking for me. I did think about the system of beliefs or narratives that has been ingrained into my brain whether it is intentional or not or had been passed down to me from generation to generation.  I am not born here in the United States so I know how it feels to be different. I am originally from the Philippines and while I did not experience any severe racism that may affect me, I still get the looks or false perceptions. 

At the core of this book is knowing and learning how to practice our faith by loving our neighbors. Neighbors may not necessarily mean the house next to you. It can be the community a few blocks away or a public school community. It can be a town a few miles from you or can also just the store mom and pop store. I love how at the end of each of the chapters, Docusen offers question prompts and a next step section that will move you from reflection to action. The book also offers a guide on how as a church we can practice the concept of neighborliness as well as books and references that you can use for further reading or research on topics of racism or social injustices. If our aim is to love like Jesus then we should do all the best we can to know how to build a broken system and approach the problem with a Christian/Biblical worldview.


Author: David Docusen
Format: Paperback, 240 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
For more information: Neighborliness

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