Bob Roberts, Jr., is the founding pastor of NorthWood Church in Keller, TX, where he pastors, teaches and reaches out to his neighbors. His newest book, BOLD AS LOVE, is a primer on how to learn to see those closest to us and those furthest away as neighbors with whom we should become involved and count as dear friends.
In an ever-shrinking world, Roberts very tellingly challenges Christians to literally reach out and touch their neighbors with love, service and respect. Despite the differences they will encounter, which indeed will challenge Christ followers in varied ways, Roberts lays the foundation for beginning a neighborhood-by-neighborhood, city-by-city, state-by-state, country-by-country movement to start reaching out beyond the divisions of faiths to better understand one another and move forward more peaceably.
"Roberts provides much inspiration and even more practical ways and means to creating an environment of trust, respect and learning for Christians to consider implementing in their own lives and churches."
Roberts shares his various stints in foreign countries and how frightened he was to start conversations with people of faiths different from his own. However, his positive experiences generated more and more conversations and friendships with the most unlikely folks for this conservative Texan American pastor than he ever could have envisioned. Roberts was, so to speak, bitten by this bug of reaching beyond the walls of the evangelical church to invite and draw into deep, philosophical and religious conversations those in the Muslim and Jewish communities. He quickly realized that he need not travel across the globe to meet, greet and befriend others of different faiths because his own city was a veritable melting pot of people groups of many religions.
BOLD AS LOVE details first Roberts’ own growing vision for developing friendships and mutually respectful interchanges between Muslims, Jews and others. Then he describes his church’s experiences in making this vision a reality. Not sparing the ups and downs as well as the opposition he incurred along the way, Roberts’ story is a compelling one. He was soon to discover that not everyone shared the same opinion as his regarding sponsoring multi-faith meetings and meals with those families outside of the Christian faith. Not surprisingly, a few congregants believed that Roberts was selling out his faith and compromising. Others feared that some fellow Christians would leave the faith and go elsewhere if given the opportunity to explore different faith traditions. Noting these concerns, Roberts prayed and ventured boldly forward, and what has followed has been nothing short of miraculous and utterly healing for everyone who took part.
Throughout this meaty eight-chapter text, readers will find themselves learning how to properly engage those with whom they formerly might have been afraid of communicating. Roberts provides much inspiration and even more practical ways and means to creating an environment of trust, respect and learning for Christians to consider implementing in their own lives and churches. His work will upset those who cling to religious man-made laws, but for those who seek change from the inside out, it will light a fire in their hearts and move them to act boldly in love.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on December 12, 2012