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“There are voices today that seem either to rub our noses in the church’s failures or to revel in the culture’s fragmentation. While In Search of the Common Good does confront us with the considerable ills of our time, it does so without giving up on either the church or the culture. Instead, it calls us back toward a vision of the ‘good life’—a vision both abandoned by those who have given up on Christian faith and obscured by the harrowed activism of others striving to do influential things in prominent ways in order to demonstrate Christianity’s continued cultural viability. Indebted to his own deep Nebraskan roots (and to thoughtful others far beyond his local community), Meador has written a clear, compelling, and distinctly Christian volume focused on restoring communal flourishing. Born of the belief that Christianity is good news for a world beset by evil and for a church struggling with compromise, so we are encouraged to make our difference by taking up a humbler set of Christian disciplines and practicing ordinary piety. Should Wendell Berry, Charles Taylor, and Francis Schaeffer ever have met to discuss the need for the church to lead by loving Jesus in daily neighbor-benefitting fashion, and should that conversation ever have been recorded, then I can imagine it looking and sounding rather like Jake Meador’s In Search of the Common Good. A bracing, prayer-inducing yet hope-filled read, I am only glad to have read this volume and pray that it finds a wider audience that will take it to heart.”
-Mark P. Ryan, director of the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute, adjunct professor of religion and culture, Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis
“Christian cultural commentators find themselves caught between the Scylla of despair and the Charybdis of triumphalism. It takes a wise, experienced navigator to sail between the two temptations. Meador’s book somehow manages to pair a trenchant diagnosis of our polarized communities with a hopeful prognosis built on a deep theological conception of the good life. It challenges but does not provoke. It offers hope without presumption. Few will agree with Meador on every practical or theological point, but this is exactly why this book deserves to find a wide readership.”
-David Henreckson, assistant professor of theology, Dordt College
“Jake Meador’s call to reflect on our pursuit of the common good is a thought-provoking, worthwhile read. It’s also a timely one, if only because it seems so easy to spot our common ills. A distorted notion of freedom in America has given birth to the slavery of self and all its attendant pathologies: loneliness, existential anomie, and pointless work, which form the inner reality of economic instability and sociopolitical isolation. Unfortunately, a malformed, superficial, and ill-catechized church reflects the world at just this point. What, then, may we hope for our common life? Drawing on the wisdom of Scripture, natural law, and the practices of the Christian tradition, Jake points us to a vision of work, community, and politics attuned to the rhythms of creation, reflective of the eternal city and ultimately rooted in the goodness of God himself. I was challenged by this book and I know I’ll be wrestling with and reflecting on its argument for some time. I suspect I won’t be the only one.””
-Derek Rishmawy, PhD student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, columnist at Christianity Today, cohost of Mere Fidelity podcast
About the Author
Jake Meador is vice president of the Davenant Institute and the editor-in-chief of Mere Orthodoxy, an online magazine covering the Christian faith in the public sphere. His writing has been featured in First Things, National Review, Books & Culture, Front Porch Republic, The Gospel Coalition, and Christianity Today. He lives with his wife and children in his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska.