I found this book very disquieting – and I think that’s more to do with me than the book itself.
In the foreword to the book, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, writes that “If you love your parish, read this book.” And you should – without a doubt – read this book if you are passionate about the place where you worship and serve God. Rebuilt tells the story of the renewal of the pastoral life of one parish and is written by the pastor, Michael White, and the parish pastoral associate, Tom Corcoran. The story that is told is an inspirational one, and there is much food for thought as White and Corcoran relate their successes and failures over many years as they attempted to serve their parish.
So back to my sense of disquiet…
The source of this disquiet is hard to pinpoint, and yet I can’t shake it. Perhaps it is because I can recognise in the story told by White and Corcoran a need for me, as a pastor, to do something in response to the issues they identify and which I can recognise as being real issues for the Church in Australia. Perhaps it is the fundamental challenge to my own ecclesiology that is contained in the vision that they outline. Perhaps it a concern over the means by which they have achieved their ‘success’.
Perhaps it is a combination of any or all of those – and more.
What I do know, however, is that I will need to let my first read of this book mill around inside my head and be a focus of prayer for a while…and then I might need to read it again.