Thursday, March 02, 2023

Book Review: Why Gather? by Martha Tatarnic

Full Disclosure: This is a book review with lots of bias!
Not only is the author a great friend and colleague, but I also handled the online promo for last year's book launch (including the fun video below!) That said, this is an awesome book and I can't wait to tell you about it!

After not being able to gather in person for almost three years, many of us have started asking the question, 
"Why gather now?" 

We're thankful for Zoom, Skype, and live streaming. These technologies saved many families and ministries over the last few years (our ministry included!). But if we're being honest, we know we're supposed to be with each other. We're meant to live face to face.

Martha asks and responds to the question of Why Gather? with stories of flawed, faithful people living out their doubts and beliefs in the midst of both good times and bad. Some of these stories will hit close to home, rubbing close to your own personal experience. Some will open windows into lives and communities rarely witnessed by others. Each will expand your own sense of empathy and humanity.

As we wrestle with the issue of gathering in a post-pandemic world, Martha isn't afraid to challenge us, both as individuals and as the Church:

So often, we're looking for the next great "thing" that will save our declining churches.
But what if, instead of "saving" the Church, we seek out where God is already at work
in our lives and in our communities? 

Across Canada, many Indigenous communities suffer from a severe lack of a most basic need:
clean drinking water. How do we make our gatherings more inclusive to the needs of
our Indigenous brothers and sisters, and those pushed to the fringes of our society. 

We want the world to change before we're willing to change.
But what if we look to the world of sports and discover the mind shift of "Ultrarealism"? 

Why Gather? encourages all of us to look deeper into our hearts, our churches, and our world, and see that the Kingdom of God is already at hand. And then asks: what is our response to that?

Why Gather? is a book of living out your faith, appropriate for laypeople and church leadership alike. Each chapter ends with discussion questions, perfect for your own reflection or group discussion.

This Lent, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Why Gather?
Read it and then, I encourage you to get yourself to church.
We need each other more than ever ...

Why Gather? has been chosen by Bishop Susan Bell, Anglican Diocese of Niagara, 
for the Lenten Book Series 2023.
You can find the FREE STUDY GUIDE HERE

Martha wrote a blogpost about the concept of Ultrarealism for this blog HERE.

You can find out more about Martha and her writing at:

Why I Wrote "Why Gather?"
By Martha Tataric

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