The Sacred Overlap by J.R. Briggs

Yet another book that my husband and I listened to on a road trip. This one also had a lot of pauses in the audio followed by lots of conversation. Briggs definitely struck a cord with us because of some challenges our church (and I would expect many churches) is currently facing. Challenges brought on by disagreements, differences, and division. As we listened to Sacred Overlap, we realized how relevant and needed the book is for our churches and ministries today.

In a country where many believers hop from one church to another or churches split because of dispute over doctrine, worship style, teaching, or any number of other reasons, Sacred Overlap provides a much needed reminder that often it’s in the space between our differences where sacred community is found.

In our culture, we frequently think of things in the either/or mindset. Something is either this or it’s that. It’s one thing or it’s another. It couldn’t possibly be both.

But Briggs introduces another way of thinking. The intersection between two things. The overlap. He submits the idea that there’s the possibility of both/and.

He opens with the reminder that when Jesus came, he tore down either/or thinking and lived out both/and. Jesus is both God and man and when he entered into our world, he brought the sacred overlap of both heaven and earth. He hung out with both saints and sinners. And he preached/embraced both justice and faith. Briggs talks about the many and/also activities Jesus engaged in, crossing cultural, social, political, and religious boundaries. He spent time in Judea and also in the hostile territory of Samaria. He dined with filthy lepers and also the filthy rich. He comforted the disturbed and also disturbed the comfortable. Just to name a few of his examples.

Briggs doesn’t leave us there. He then walks us through the many ways we can be both/and, the opportunities we have to engage in the and also. Places where we can join God in the sacred overlaps. If we truly want the Kingdom of God to invade the empires of the earth, if we want to be effective in ministering to and bringing hope to a hurting world, then we need to be willing to step into the space in between.


About Jill English Johnston

God writes His story on every heart, if we only pause to read it. My heart has lived in a fantasy world since early childhood and am delighted that God has finally brought me to the place where I can bring the fantasies to life through story. I am currently working on a fantasy trilogy (of course) but I also post thoughts, reflections and (hopefully) inspiration to my website: I am a follower of the Rabbi Jesus, married to my best friend and inspiration, and the mother of three incredible children, one daughter and two sons, a son-in-love, a daughter-in-love and two adorable granddaughters. When not writing, I passionately pursue prayer, reading (never enough time to read them all!), and the outdoors. My husband and I both served in the US Navy and have lived/travelled through many states and all over Asia. We both still enjoy travelling, but we really love our home in New Braunfels, located at the Texas Hill Country.
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