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Wide Open Spaces: Beyond Paint-by-Number Christianity    by Jim Palmer order for
Wide Open Spaces
by Jim Palmer
Order:  USA  Can
Thomas Nelson, 2007 (2007)

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* *   Reviewed by Jessica Weaver

Jim Palmer's first book, Divine Nobodies, allowed readers to see Jesus in a series of encounters Palmer had with neighbors, acquaintances, and strangers. The next step in his theological viewpoint is Wide Open Spaces, a second collection of essays by the emerging-church leader. As someone Palmer might call a mainstream Christian (meaning: I go to church regularly, go on mission trips, etc), I thoroughly enjoyed Divine Nobodies, but some of the the exploration in Wide Open Spaces rubbed me the wrong way.

The essays delve into topics such as foregoing church and just letting neighbors gather sporadically; ceasing reading the Bible in order to hear from God more clearly; and searching for purpose in life. I could understand where the author was coming from, but I felt it could send the message to some that it's OK never to crack open your Bible; it's OK to not meet with other believers. Many Christians are not as mature as Palmer in their faith and might not be able to question as he does, without falling away from the faith completely.

That said, I am always open to books that provoke you to think, and this is definitely one of those. Palmer reveals his controversial viewpoints in a casual and fun manner, and in excellent writing. I would encourage mature believers to read Wide Open Spaces to see what is happening in Christian postmodern culture and begin to think on how they might adapt to a young generation of thinkers. I salute my fellow Nashvillian for not being afraid of putting everything on the table and sharing his heart.

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