In Lean on Me, Anne Marie Miller writes of her divorce, relocation away and back to her home, the creation of a network of friends, her journey to community, and everything in between. But it’s not just a memoir. It’s a way to reconsider your own connections and how they could better portray the community God wants us to experience as His church.
I enjoyed hearing the author’s story and seeing just how God can use friends and people in our lives to connect the dots to living. I appreciated her insights into different pieces of community and how they can function.
We switched churches last year, so this book was a good springboard for thoughts about how I could be in and find better community there. I am blessed to have family and a few friends who seem community-ish, but I’m slightly resistant to the idea of being so intentional, so vulnerable, and working so hard for it. And this book helped me to see the need/benefit a bit.
Be in community even when we might disagree:
“I’ve found in my own life that the older I get, the more stubborn I am in my beliefs and opinions. Without keeping my ego in check, it would be easy for me to bail on relationships when I didn’t agree with someone. The antidote to this problem is humility, plain and simple. The more we claim an unassuming nature, the more we believe the best about people and situations, and the more we try and see others through the lens of love. We are then given the opportunity for our relationships to grow.”
– Anne Marie Miller
Even when it’s tough:
“When written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two chracters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” – John F. Kennedy
Even when we still disagree:
“When you remove yourself from the ground level and look at what’s happening on a broader scale, it becomes quite easy to see that this disunity is not what God calls us to in Scripture. Period. No matter where you fall in the scales of theology, we – the Church – are called to unity. None of us will ever agree on everything, but this isn’t about what we believe. It’s about how we love. And it’s about how we surrender to the greater work of unity.”
-Anne Marie Miller
Or want to be on our own:
“Surrender goes against our very nature to be independent. Surrender indicates we willingly choose to rely on others. We must rewire our thinking to recognize that needing another person (and being the person someone else needs) is not a weakness; it only strengthens us.”
– Anne Marie Miller
Because it’s all about Jesus anyway:
“Christianity means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ. No Christian community is more or less than this. Whether it be brief, single encounter or a daily fellowship of years, Christian community is only this. We belong to one another only through and in Jesus Christ.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I especially appreciated her ideas about the importance of diversity (of opinion, age, gender, ethnicity, etc) in our communities.
All in all this was a pretty good, though not especially memorable, book..but if you’re feeling alone and looking for inspiration, it might be for you!
(Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from booklook bloggers in exchange for my honest review. Contains Affiliate links)