Thursday, June 27, 2019

Book Review: Loving My Actual Neighbor, By Alexandra Kuykendall

When I read this title on the list of books for possible review, I knew I had to grab it:

Loving My Actual Neighbor 
By Alexandra Kuykendall

In a world where most of our "friends" are represented heavily curated profile pictures, could there be any more timely book for us to read?

Don't get me wrong. I love social media. I'm sort of active on Twitter, and completely active on Facebook. I'm thankful that I can keep in touch with friends from across the country with a simple login.

But when we moved to St. Catharines, things started to change. We bought a house. We had no plans to move in the next year. Suddenly, my neighbourhood became a much more important place. Who lived near me? What does my community value? How can I be part of the larger picture of caring for my neighbours?

Alexandra Kuykendall presents a thoughtful, practical, and generous approach to changing your relationship with those around you. This isn't about your friends and family. As the Sesame Street song taught us all: "these are the people in your neighbourhood." The people who live near you, the colleagues at work, the staff at your local store, and the members of your community group.  Inspired by the first chapter of 2 Peter, Alexandra creates a 7-step system for getting to know and love your neighbours.

Each chapter combines relatable stories with easy practical advice. What are the simple things we can do? After these become second nature, what are the bigger things we can do to get into deeper relationship with those around us?

Steps are reinforced with "Questions for Reflection," 
"Practicing the Practice" list of tips, and "Scripture to Digest." 

Alexandra also has a beautiful and inspiring concept called "Saturday Living." It's that tension we feel when we strive to live an earthly life with a spiritual focus. The name references the first Holy Saturday, that day when the cross was reality, but Sunday was coming. Grief on one side, freedom on the other. Finding ways to love those who are different than us, to communicate with those who speak a different language or have an opposing worldview, or remaining humble when making bold steps. Saturday Living is how we take the theory of love and live it out in a practical way.

As people of faith, we are particularly called to love our neighbour. When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, he very boldly stated "Love your neighbour" right after "Love God." Not only are we called to do it, but we're designed to do it. We love because we are loved.

Wouldn't it be awesome if Christians and the Church were known 
by our generous, creative, limitless love for all humanity? 

This is our call to live out that love.

Buy this book! Read it. Share it with your neighbours. 

Let's change our communities, one step at a time...

I received this book to review from the Nuts About Books Blogger Program and Graf-Martin Communications Inc.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.