In The Great Chasm: How To Stop Our Wealth from Separating Us from the Poor and God, Derek W. Engdahl invites us to explore the rift that too often separates the rich and middle class from the poor. Taking the Gospel of Luke as his central text, Engdahl reveals the critical importance of crossing that divide to live in communion with the poor and with God.
From The Great Chasm
"Most of us do not have deep relationships with people outside our social class. And sadly, the church has almost nothing to say about this. On any given Sunday, thousands of sermons are preached, but how many Christians are hearing about God’s concern for the poor, his demands for justice, the dangers of wealth, or the need to lay down one’s life in service to our poor brothers and sisters in Christ? I am not convinced that the whole gospel is being proclaimed weekly."
"Crossing a chasm is never easy. It is costly, awkward, and scary, and we will likely make many missteps. But while the great, eternal chasm cannot be crossed, the chasms in this life — the ones that separate us from each other, the rich from the poor — can be. The question is: will we get on the bridge while there still is one?"
Praise for The Great Chasm
The Great Chasm has dressed up Lazarus and the rich man in 21st century clothing. In doing so, this book has uncovered something of our own poverty. After years of sojourning with those on the margins, Derek Engdahl has earned the right to do some exegesis from the edges. He tells stories from his experiences in a way that bring Luke’s manuscript into focus. Walking with Derek alongside the prodigal son and his family, or the rich man and Lazarus, we are given lucid prose to see afresh how these critical stories relate to our world today. The Great Chasm is a work which will help close today’s chasm between rich and poor.
Scott Bessenecker, Associate Director of Missions for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and author of The New
Friars: The Emerging Movement Serving the World’s Poor
Derek Engdahl challenges our lives of comfort by drawing on the scriptures that likewise challenge our comfortable lifestyles. Integrating many compelling stories, he calls us to take wealth and poverty seriously, just as the Bible does. If you desire to see the gospel lived out and the chasm between rich and poor bridged, read this book.
Christopher L. Heurtz, co-founder of Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism and author of Unexpected Gifts: Discovering the Way of Community
Great books aren’t merely written by authors but written into the hearts and souls of the people authoring them. Derek Engdahl is a great author and The Great Chasm is a great book — not only because of what Derek illuminates about the Gospel of Luke, but how these truths are embodied and reflected in the way Derek lives, loves, and services the world. You can trust that as you flip through these pages, a holy imagination emerges from the credibility of a life well-lived.
Jude Tiersma Watson, Associate Professor of Urban Mission in Fuller Seminary's School of Intercultural Studes. She lives in a struggling immigrant neighborhood in Los Angeles as a member of InnerChange/CRM.
"Several years before I started working for Servant Partners, I had the opportunity to help out at a homeless shelter for recovering addicts. I was apprehensive about relating to people who, I perceived, were so different from me. But as I started to talk and relate with them, I heard their stories of struggle, success, joy, and failure. Instead of only knowing them as a concept (homeless people), I came to know them as unique individuals with experiences not unlike my own. Instead of strangers, they became friends and fellow children of God.
For the past thirteen years, I have taught out of the Gospel of Luke for Servant Partners' new staff orientation. The chapter I continually found most intriguing and convicting was Luke 16, with the parables of the Shrewd Manager and the Rich Man and Lazarus. I began to see this chapter as a lens to view the many teachings on wealth and poverty in the Bible. I started to write, and, a brief seven years later, my reflections on this passage and on my experiences over the past seventeen years have come to fruition in The Great Chasm.
I do hope this book adds another voice to the important conversation on how to use our money faithfully, and how we can come to relate with the poor as our true brothers and sisters."
Derek W. Engdahl is a General Director of Servant Partners. He currently supervises several domestic and international sites. Alongside his international commitments, Derek also ministers in the urban poor community of Pomona, California, where he has lived with his wife and daughter since 1998. He was a contributing author for the book Living Mission: The Vision and Voices of New Friars.